UC engineer makes an impact with nanomaterials

Vamsi Krishna Reddy Kondapalli works in the Nanoworld Laboratory at UC

University of Cincinnati doctoral student Vamsi Krishna Reddy Kondapalli has studied nanomaterials, specifically graphene, since he was an undergraduate student at a university in India. He chose UC for his graduate degrees due to the state-of-the-art facilities and the support for innovation. Kondapalli was named Graduate Student Engineer of the Month by UC's College of Engineering and Applied Science. 

How did you end up choosing UC?

Vamsi Krishna Reddy Kondapalli

Vamsi Krishna Reddy Kondapalli. Photo/Provided

The major reason I chose the University of Cincinnati over other schools was the exciting research on 3D graphene materials in chemical engineering professor Vesselin Shanov's group at the Nanoworld Laboratory. A few other motivations for attending UC were the Advanced Material Characterization Center (AMCC), the University Graduate Scholarship/Graduate Incentive Scholarship, the strong mechanical and materials engineering program at UC's College of Engineering and Applied Science and the huge support for innovation at UC via the president's Next Lives Here initiative. I enjoyed working with Dr. Shanov to bring various new ideas and hypotheses to life and this continued in Nanoworld for my Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering at UC. 

Why did you choose your field of study?

The multidisciplinary aspect of mechanical engineering interested me a lot and led me to pursue both my bachelor's and master's degrees in mechanical engineering. This taught me to develop new ideas combining materials science, thermal engineering, design, and manufacturing technologies. However, my research made me realize a deeper understanding of materials science is needed to exploit the material properties, so I narrowed my field of study to materials science and engineering for my Ph.D.

What problems do you hope to solve?

I have been involved in research on graphene since my undergraduate studies. My research topic at UC is developing new techniques to enhance and modify the properties of 3D graphene for various advanced applications. Since graphene's discovery in 2004, many of the challenges that come with industrializing this unique carbon material for advanced applications have not been solved. This is a major motivation for my work. Using the advancements in science and technology, I'm trying to overcome a few of these challenges for several graphene applications such as electrochemical energy storage, hydrogen storage, thermoelectric use, carbon dioxide conversion and others. 

What are some of the most impactful experiences during your time at UC?

In the past three years, I have had opportunities to teach various courses in several departments including physics, engineering education and mechanical and materials engineering. I was also able to present my research work at various conferences. The feedback I received at every stage helped me polish my presenting, teaching and discussion skills, and develop my confidence. I am very fortunate to have had very supportive colleagues, collaborators and advisers. 

What are a few accomplishments you are most proud of?

During my time at UC, I was involved in prestigious research projects funded by NASA Glenn, Silfex Inc/LAM Research, the State of Ohio and UC Funded Collaborative Pilot Grants. I served as principal investigator on two UC research projects with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and I received two UC graduate student government research fellowships. I also participated in two invention disclosures, and one patent application along with my adviser as a co-inventor, co-authored eight publications and was a summer intern at Micron Technology Inc. All these accomplishments and experiences make me proud. 

I consider highlights of my work to be developing a new procedure to 3D print graphene, finding the deformation mechanism of 3D graphene under stress and the compression welding of 3D graphene. 

What are your plans after earning your degree?

I am planning to graduate in the fall of 2023 and I hope to join a company where I can use my skills and knowledge to advance science and technology further. 

Featured image at top: graphene material. Photo/Pixabay

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