Mr Thomas Imhoff (2019)
As a Midshipman at the United States Naval Academy working towards a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, I quickly realized my passion for structures. Gridshell structures in particular piqued my interest because of their engineering attributes and aesthetics. Gridshells are a type of shell structure formed from linear members assembled into a flat lattice and then bent on-site into a curved surface. This construction method allows for a relatively large span structure to be built from easily transportable linear members without the use of heavy machinery. The United States Navy is invested in worldwide disaster relief efforts, and in these situations there is a distinct need for shelters capable of accommodating large populations. I believe that gridshell structures can meet that need. At Cambridge I will pursue a Master of Philosophy in Engineering with the Advanced Structures Group under Dr. Keith Seffen. I plan on researching the impact on structural performance of non-ideal support conditions due to ground settlement and scour, as well as the structure’s resistance to dynamic loads such as winds and earthquakes. This research will help establish practical design methods to bring gridshell structures closer to implementation in regions of need. I am honored to be selected as a Gates Scholar and I am grateful for the opportunity to pursue engineering solutions to help populations in the wake of disasters.