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UT Students Finish in the Top Three at SAMPE Conference

From left to right: Cade Walker, Kaustubh Mungale, Brenin Bales, James Brackett, Roo Walker, Sanjita Wasti, Vinit Chaudhary, Benjamin Schwartz, William Henken, Jayshree Bagad, Pritesh Yeole, and Hannah Maeser.
From left to right: Brenin Bales, Cade Walker, Roo Walker, James Brackett, Kaustubh Mungale, Sanjita Wasti, Vinit Chaudhary, Benjamin Schwartz, William Henken, Jayshree Bagad, Pritesh Yeole, and Hannah Maeser.

UT’s Society for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering (SAMPE) student chapter represented the university well at the SAMPE 2022 Conference and Exhibition held in Charlotte, North Carolina, this May.

This year’s conference was the first to be held in person since 2019, which UT’s student chapter also attended. Eight representatives of the chapter attended the conference, including seven graduate students and one undergraduate student from three engineering departments: Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Biomedical Engineering (MABE); Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE); and Department of Materials Science and Engineering. Four graduate students presented research posters, one graduate student presented a research paper, and the chapter brought three teams to compete in student competitions at the conference. Three UT alumni and three additional UT students who are not members of the SAMPE student chapter also attended.

As part of the conference, UT’s SAMPE student chapter entered the student bridge competition, which challenges student chapters from different universities to design and manufacture 2-foot model beams for one of eight material categories, including carbon fiber, glass fiber, and other composite materials. Each category has different requirements for design, material type, and design load (lbf) that the bridge must meet in a three-point bend configuration. Bridges are weighed and tested in the exhibit hall at the conference. Bridges that meet the design load are then ranked by lightest to heaviest within their respective category to determine the winner. Each bridge submission also requires a poster detailing the design, analysis, and manufacturing of the beam. All posters regardless of category are then judged in a separate overall poster competition. Results of the bridge testing by category and overall poster competition are then used to determine which student chapters are the overall winners of the student bridge competition. UT’s SAMPE student chapter entered bridges in three of the material categories: glass box beam, natural fiber beam, and sandwich beam.

Some highlights from the conference include:

Overall Student Bridge Competition Results:

  • Glass Box Beam: first place with a design load of 5,600 lbf
  • Natural Fiber Beam: third place with a design load of 2,400 lbf
  • Sandwich Beam: finished in fifth place after an early failure with design load of 1,600 lbf
  • Glass Box Beam poster placed first overall in the bridge poster competition
  • UT’s SAMPE student chapter placed third overall in the bridge competition out of the 15+ schools entered

Notable Achievements:

  • UT alumni Philip Barnett (ESE/PhD ’20), Pritesh Yeole (ME/PhD ’20), and Vidya Kishore (ESE/PhD ’18) were awarded SAMPE Young Professionals Awards at the conference.
  • UT SAMPE chapter secretary Hannah Maeser presented a research paper. Graduate student members Vinit Chaudhary, Kaustubh Mungale, Benjamin Schwartz, and Sanjita Wasti presented research posters.
  • Graduate student Vinit Chaudhary won second place in the student research poster competition.

The conference was a resounding success for UT’s SAMPE student chapter and demonstrated the knowledge base and capabilities of the university in the composites field. Students were able to network with industry members for future research and professional opportunities, and the SAMPE student chapter was able to make new industry connections for future guest speakers and support for manufacturing workshops. UT chapter members were also able to meet with students from other chapters across the country, laying foundations for future student collaborations. The chapter is grateful for the opportunity to bring a large group of students back to Charlotte for the conference with the support of the Graduate Student Senate travel award and the Student Organization Travel Fund. The chapter is also grateful for the support of its chapter advisor and CEE Fred N. Peebles Professor Dayakar Penumadu; UT-ORNL Governor’s Chair Uday Vaidya; the Fibers and Composites Manufacturing Facility; Department of Forestry, Wildlife, and Fisheries Professor David Harper; and the Center for Renewable Carbon.

Get Involved

This marks the third year UT’s student chapter has attended the SAMPE conference and competed in the student competitions, and a return after two years without any in-person competitions. The chapter is celebrating the victories and achievements of the conference while also setting sights on next year’s student competitions. The organization will be recruiting to get even more students involved in composite design and manufacturing this summer and fall. Interested students can learn more about the national SAMPE organization at or connect with the UT SAMPE student chapter by emailing