CULLEN COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING

University of Houston Cullen College of Engineering

News

Grad Student Wins Fellowship to Study Soil’s Resistance to Bending

By: 

Toby Weber
Mullapudi
Mullapudi

A UH Cullen College of Engineering graduate student has won a fellowship to research an underused method of distributing the load of a structure in soil.

Taraka Ravi Shankar Mullapudi, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, won the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Trent R. Dames and William W. Moore Fellowship. The award is available to graduate students, professors and practicing engineers, with winners selected based on the technical and social value of their research and its potential to advance the science and profession of engineering. While past awards have been in the $2,000 to $6,000 range, Mullapudi’s fellowship award totals $10,000.

Mullapudi, who is studying under the guidance of Prof. Ashraf Ayoub, will use this funding to examine the interaction of inelastic soil structure behavior.

“Soil can resist loads proportional to its normal displacement at a particular point, which is what most structures rely on,” Mullapudi said. “But it can also resist bending because of the cohesive nature of the soil, and usually this bending resistance is neglected. We are investigating and numerically simulating that interaction.”

Better understanding the interplay between tensionless soil and a load that is applied on structural components will allow architects and engineers to design structures (such as buildings and bridges) that more efficiently and effectively distribute their weight, Mullapudi said. When his research is complete, ideally his findings will be incorporated into structural design computer software.

This is not the first recognition Mullapudi has received from the ASCE. He also won the organization’s 2009 O.H. Ammann Research Fellowship in Structural Engineering and the 2010 Best Paper Award from the group’s Texas Section. Mullapudi is also very active in the life of the college and university, serving as president for the University of Houston chapter of Chi Epsilon, the civil engineering honors society, and vice president for the Golden Key International Honour Society at UH.

Department: 

Related News Stories

Chemicals Giant INEOS To Visit With UH Engineering Students

At the University of Houston, the Tau Beta Pi -Texas Epsilon Chapter (TX-E) was established in 1962.

The UH chapter of Tau Beta Pi – Texas Epsilon (TBP) is hosting an information session with representatives of INEOS, Europe’s largest petrochemical company, on Wednesday, February 27, in the Science and Research Building 1 on campus. The presenters will be Bob Sokol, chief financial officer of INEOS Oligomers and Oxide, and Fred Rulander, chief operating officer of INEOS Oxide North America.

Cullen College Alumna Scores Prestigious Chinese Government Award

Chong Dai (Ph.D. '18) won a 2019 Chinese Government Award for Self-financed Students Abroad.

Chong Dai, who earned a Ph.D. in environmental engineering from the UH Cullen College of Engineering, was awarded a 2019 Chinese Government Award for Self-financed Students Abroad.

Given by the China Scholarship Council, this competitive award is presented to only 500 students worldwide each year. She will receive a $6,000 cash prize and a certificate.