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PhD students display research flair at the Christopher Burke PhD Poster Competition

CME PhD candidate Hevar Palani

Three PhD candidates in the civil, materials, and environmental engineering (CME) department at UIC were awarded for their research during the annual Christopher Burke and Susan S. Burke Civil Engineering Poster Competition.

Hevar Palani won first place for the poster titled “Advancing Sustainable Building Technologies for Climate Resilience and Adaptation.”

“Winning was an overwhelming blend of joy, pride, and a profound sense of accomplishment as my name was announced and I thought how proud my family would be of this recognition,” Palani said. “It was not just a personal victory but a testament to the incredible opportunities and encouragement within the academic community at UIC’s CME department.”

Pallani, who is working under the direction of Clinical Assistant Professor Aslihan Karatas in the Built Environment and Infrastructure Laboratory, is conducting a comprehensive investigation of building envelope elements like walls and windows to advance sustainable building technologies to enhance climate resilience. The aim is to recommend modifications to energy codes and simulation tools, advocating for their adjustment to contribute to more effective and efficient building designs in the future.

Sindhusuta was named the second-place winner for the poster titled “Numerical Study on Phase Transformation Induced Material Failure Under High Pressure.”

“Securing a spot in the top three is incredibly fulfilling. As a student, it’s a massive source of encouragement, propelling me to strive even harder toward my professional aspirations,” Sindhusuta said.

Sindhusuta, who is working under the direction of Professor Sheng-Wei Chi, in the Computational Mechanics Laboratory, is investigating the physical mechanisms triggering intermediate-depth earthquakes. The objective of their research is to develop a numerical model for the simulation of phase transformation-induced failure in geo-materials. The materials of interest include different groups of minerals found in the earth’s crust such as granulite, eclogite, and olivine.

Chenxi Xu was awarded third place for the poster titled “Assessing Advanced Reactor Piping Structural Integrity with Dual Structural Health Monitoring Methods, which is funded by the Department of Energy’s Nuclear Energy University Programs.”

“This is not only a recognition of my efforts, but also a great experience,” Xu said. “Professor Didem Ozevin’s support has enabled me to participate in various national and international conferences. These experiences have broadened my perspective, enhanced my presentation and communication skills, and boosted my confidence.”

Xu, who works under the direction of Ozevin in the Nondestructive Evaluation Lab, is researching a new type of piezoelectric microelectromechanical system sensor that can continuously operate at high temperatures.

“We study the use of a circumferential array of high-temperature piezoelectric MEMS sensors for deployment on a piping system of Argonne’s Mechanisms Engineering Test Loop liquid sodium thermal hydraulic facility,” Xu said.