Tech students triumph at No-Dig 2024

May 13, 2024 | Engineering and Science, Faculty/Staff, Students

Louisiana Tech students know that when it comes to engineering, science, and technology, the best lessons are learned through perseverance, innovative trials, and—most importantly—applying a little elbow grease. They brilliantly showcased these qualities at the 2024 No-Dig Show in Providence, Rhode Island, where doctoral engineering students Tulie Chakma and Stephen Gordon clinched first and third in the research poster competition. Construction engineering technology senior Gabriel Lipe and doctoral engineering student Anna “Katya” Opel earned prestigious Michael E. Argent Memorial Scholarships.

Chakma dominated the competition, earning first place with her research on cured-in-place pipe, a trenchless rehabilitation method for damaged pipelines that uses a novel frontal polymerization technique. This innovative method dramatically speeds up resin activation in the pipe liner through a chemical reaction that significantly slashes curing times and energy use.

“Attending the No-Dig Show has been a great experience,” Chakma said. “Exploring fellow researchers’ work in the trenchless field and connecting with industry professionals has been truly amazing.”

Gordon secured his third No-Dig award in as many years, taking third place with his work on vitrified fly ash pipe, which transforms recycled industrial waste into a durable, eco-friendly material akin to traditional ceramic pipes.

“The No-Dig Show is a fantastic conference for students and offers an indispensable opportunity to network with industry leaders and experts,” he added.

Dr. Shaurav Alam, associate professor of civil engineering and associate director of research for the Trenchless Technology Center, guided Chakma and Gordon’s research efforts.

“I am immensely proud of their innovative work,” Alam noted. “It will revolutionize the field of trenchless technology.”

Lipe and Opel received the Michael E. Argent Memorial Scholarships for their exceptional contributions and potential in trenchless technology. Lipe is president of the student chapter of the North American Society for Trenchless Technology/Associated General Contractors and member of Louisiana Tech’s estimating team, which notched its own win at regionals. Opel, specializing in the vulnerability and resilience of civil infrastructures, recently enhanced her expertise during a study abroad research project in Australia.

Each year, the university’s Trenchless Technology Center encourages students to participate in the No-Dig Show, offering them valuable networking opportunities.

Along with the awardees, many of Louisiana Tech’s TTC staff and students also engaged with trenchless technology professionals volunteering at the conference. Dr. John Matthews, Dr. John Kraft, Dr. Shaik Hussain, Quade Wells, Sylvia Shultz, and students Skylar Belt, Zaria Jones, Cameron LeBlanc, Reed Edwards, and Connor Sigler all helped promote the University while there.

“Their engagement underscores our dedication to advancing this vital field,” said Matthews, director of the Trenchless Technology Center and professor of civil engineering, construction engineering technology, and engineering and technology management.

Learn more about the Trenchless Technology Center and Louisiana Tech’s PhD in engineering and construction engineering technology at the University’s website.