Mechanical Engineering PhD student Robert Hart has won the First Prize at the Student Simulation Challenge at the American Society for Composites 30th Annual

Conference at Michigan State University.  He was awarded a $1,000 prize.

Hart is a Department of Defense SMART fellow working in collaboration with the U.S. Army Tank and Automotive Research and Development Engineering Center (TARDEC). His research interests include multifunctional composite materials, which have applications in aerospace and ground vehicles. Prior to the start of his graduate work, he worked for three years as an engineer in the plastics industry. During this time, he led a campaign to encourage interaction between fellow associates and local charitable organizations. Hart also holds BS and MS degrees in mechanical engineering from the University of Iowa.

This year's Challenge theme was the design of a composite structure that transfers load from one location to three other rigid supports in 3D space. Challenge requires the student teams to develop a low-weight and innovative design and a simulation-based design substantiation.

Besides the University of Iowa, teams from University of Alabama, Dalhousie University(Canada), University of Delaware, Michigan State University, University of Michigan and North Carolina State University competed this year.