Baylor Doctoral Candidates in Mechanical Engineering Win Scholarships from Society of Plastics Engineers & Automotive Composites Conference and Exhibition

October 15, 2018

Media Contact: Eric M. Eckert, 254-710-1964
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by Gabrielle White, student newswriter

WACO, Texas (Oct. 15, 2018) – Two doctoral candidates in Baylor University’s School of Engineering and Computer Science have been recognized for their composites research by the annual Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) and Automotive Composites Conference & Exhibition (ACCE).

Zhaogui (Evan) Wang and Daniel Pulipati were presented with ACCE scholarships, sponsored by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, during the annual SPE ACCE conference in September. The MEDC awards a total of $8,000 in scholarships to four students pursuing advanced studies in a composites-related field. Wang and Pulipati are pursuing their doctoral degrees in mechanical engineering at Baylor, which offers a robust research program in natural and advanced materials engineering.

“The competition was fierce, but Baylor students always do well,” said Eve Vitale, chief executive at SPE Foundation.

As ACCE scholarship recipients, Wang and Pulipati will present their research at next year’s conference, which brings in more than 900 attendees from five continents and 15 countries.

“I am so happy to receive this award, but more importantly, it is a big acknowledgement of my research,” Wang said. “I must say thank you to my advisor, Dr. Douglas E. Smith, and to professor Dr. David A. Jack. They both provide great support and guidance through all my research and for this award application.”

Advanced studies in the composites field include research on promising alternatives to conventional engineering materials, such as aluminums, contributing to society by providing more choices in manufacturing industries. The research of both Baylor doctoral students focuses on composites but is concentrated in different areas.

“The significance of my research project is a deeper interpretation of how fibers and the molten polymer matrix affect each other,” Wang said. “This enables the fabrication of composite parts with better mechanical performances. It unlocks great potential in creating highly customized yet lightweight parts and tooling, which ultimately cuts off costs in manufacturing automotive and aerospace industries.”

Pulipati’s research highlights glass fiber recycled polymer composites.

“Composites basically are made of various constituent materials,” Pulipati said. “In my case, it is understanding the behavior of various material properties made of recycled polymer and glass fiber structures. Modeling these structures and predicting their behavior helps understand manufacturing, quality and application.”

Going forward, Wang will research numerical approaches to predict fiber orientation while Pulipati will focus on foamed composite structures. Both students will spend their time at the Baylor Research and Innovation Collaborative (BRIC) and preparing for next year’s exhibition.

Pulipati, who is the president of the Baylor Society of Plastics Engineers chapter, said attending and presenting at various conferences representing Baylor has helped him network with talented and experienced professionals and prepared him for this scholarship opportunity.

“Baylor has a great engineering materials program,” Pulipati said. “The group Scientific Innovations in Complex Engineering Materials (SICEM) has many high caliber professors and students. The advanced research conducted in the group gets recognized at various conferences and events and is very well known among the national SPE chapter.”


With more than 10 percent of Baylor University’s freshman class pursuing major courses of study in the School of Engineering and Computer Science (ECS), the focus remains on preparing graduates for professional practice and responsible leadership with a Christian world view. ECS majors include bioinformatics, computer science, electrical and computer engineering, general engineering and mechanical engineering. Among ECS graduate programs are Master of Science and Ph.D. degrees in all disciplines, and several dual-degree programs. The Teal Residential College for Engineering and Computer Science, in which students and faculty live, fosters the pursuit of wisdom, academic excellence, and meaningful relationships for the development of diverse, innovative leaders.

Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 17,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.