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CCEE faculty, students, alumni travel to Germany to attend SMiRT 26

Dr. Abhinav Gupta joins a panel of experts in the field of nuclear power research to discuss the appropriate future efforts and direction of The International Conference on Structural Mechanics in Reactor Technology (SMiRT).

Several CCEE faculty — Drs. Abhinav Gupta, Kevin Han and Giorgio Proestos — and students and alumni traveled overseas to attend the 26th International Conference on Structural Mechanics in Reactor Technology (SMiRT 26) in Berlin/Potsdam, Germany on July 10-15. The motto of the conference was “Building the future on 50 years of experience – It’s SMiRT to embrace change,” celebrating 50 years of international collaboration and innovation in the field of structural safety for nuclear reactors. 

Gupta, who is a CCEE professor, director of NC State’s Center for Nuclear Energy Facilities and Structures (CNEFS) and who has served as the president of the International Association of SMiRT (IASMiRT) for the past three years, gave the welcome address at the conference. He delivered a keynote on the role of artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality in the development of digital twins for construction and safe operation of advanced reactors. 

Nicholas Crowder, a Ph.D. student studying under Dr. Abhinav Gupta and Dr. Kevin Han was named a finalist for the Shibata Early Career Award at the conference.

Ph.D. student Nicholas Crowder, who is studying under Gupta and Han, was announced as a finalist for the Shibata Early Career Award and presented his work on making design and construction processes more efficient.

“The recognition and appreciation received for my work validated the importance of my research,” Crowder said. 

CCEE students and faculty were recognized for their diverse contributions that consisted of characterizing aging and degradation in concrete structures, AI-driven condition assessment, digital engineering and robotics for construction, and safety of nuclear structures against external hazards such as earthquakes and tornadoes. Parth Patel, a Ph.D. student, presented his research on modeling tornado missile damage in concrete structures in a special session organized by International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to honor the contributions of late Dr. Neb Orbovic, a global leader in this field of research. 

CCEE’s Dr. Giorgio Proestos also presented research at the conference.

“The conference provided an excellent opportunity for students and post doctoral fellows to discuss their research findings with leading experts in nuclear structural safety from around the globe including those from Japan, South Korea, France, Canada, the UK, and the U.S., among other,” said CCEE Ph.D. student Gunay Gina Aliyeva and Ph.D. candidate Dhanushka K. Palipana. “It is difficult to do the same from within the confines of a campus.”

“Encouragement from such widely known and highly recognized experts has been quite motivating,” said Dr. Harleen Sandhu, a postdoctoral fellow. 

CCEE alumni Drs. Bu-Seog Ju, Sangwoo Lee and Sugandha Singh, also presented their research at the conference.