Maintaining the infrastructure
Engineering professor Victor Giurgiutiu works to make SC's roads, bridges safer
By Page Ivey, email@example.com, 803-777-3085
Victor Giurgiutiu has spent the past 20 years creating processes to better monitor the health of roads, bridges and tunnels, as well as planes, trains and automobiles.
“In a nutshell, it’s about the safety and reliability of all engineering things around us that our life and security hang on,” the mechanical engineering professor says. “We monitor our health through medical tests and even in some cases continuous monitoring. We should think the same way about our infrastructure, specifically our transportation infrastructure: the ones we ride on and the ones we ride in.”
His Laboratory for Active Materials and Smart Structures develops nondestructive evaluation techniques, including innovative sensors, to monitor a structure’s health. The lab works with government agencies and industries to put these processes to use.
Giurgiutiu created a new mechanical engineering course, Adaptive Materials and Smart Structures, that he uses to promote the subject area to graduate and undergraduate students. During his 20 years at Carolina, he has mentored more than 20 Ph.D. students — 12 of whom have graduated and gone on to academia and research.
“My Ph.D. mentor, who is now 80-plus in age, was a good role model for me, and he inspired me to achieve and to mentor others along the path of scientific discovery,” Giurgiutiu says. “Being a mentor is important, it’s a two-way street. Both the mentor and the person he mentors win from this process. I recommend to midcareer colleagues to look into mentoring younger aspiring faculty.”
We monitor our health through medical tests. We should think the same way about our infrastructure, specifically our transportation infrastructure: the ones we ride on and the ones we ride in.
Giurgiutiu’s mentoring extends to undergraduate students as well. He says he has discovered many students who have a natural talent for mathematics that might not have been fully developed in high school.
“Mathematics requires continuous training to achieve higher grounds and this is not instilled properly in people who come here as freshmen,” Giurgiutiu says. “I have found talents in my freshmen classes or sophomore classes that could be developed with the proper tools.”
Giurgiutiu also has involved local high school students, including those at South Carolina’s Governor’s School of Science and Mathematics, in his lab’s research.
“Victor has been very active in promoting research to K-12 students and has worked diligently with the Governor’s School and Columbia area high schools,” says Jamil A. Khan, chair of the mechanical engineering department at Carolina. “He has also been very active in promoting research to underrepresented minorities.”
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