Vellore Gopalaratnam receives Fulbright Scholar award

Vellore Gopalaratnam headshot

Vellore Gopalaratnam

Jan. 11, 2022

A Fulbright Scholar award has paved the way for a University of Missouri engineer to collaborate with the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras, the country’s top civil engineering university, on a project to improve transportation infrastructure and housing.

Civil engineering professor Vellore Gopalaratnam will use the award to focus his studies on facilitating implementation of precast, prestressed concrete overseas. Unlike the U.S., where this type of technology is common, India relies heavily on cast-in-place construction, which means concrete structures are constructed on site.

“India is planning to build metro lines in several dozen major cities, and these lines require a lot of bridges and tunnels,” Gopalaratnam said. “If a project is in the heart of a city, cast-in-place construction can go on for two or three years, and an entire commercial district can be impacted by loss of business. With precast concrete, you can get the job finished in a few months.”

Gopalaratnam will spend this month reviewing India’s current policies and practices, working with academic, government and industry officials. Then in 2023, he will spend three months sharing recommendations on ways to facilitate more widespread use of the precast, prestressed technology in infrastructure projects in India.

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