Svetlana Baranova’s award highlights connection to China

Svetlana Baranova, a doctoral student advised by Sonia Mogilevskaya, was selected as a recipient of a Hsiao Shaw-Lundquist Fellowship to support her research in the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geo- Engineering.

Baranova plans to graduate in Fall of 2021. “The Hsiao Shaw-Lundquist Fellowship is very important to me as it helps secure funding for my research. Other sources, like being a teaching assistant, take a lot of time, and while I enjoy teaching, it takes time from my research. This fellowship will help me complete my research.”

The Hsiao Shaw-Lundquist Fellowship was established in 2005 by Jennie and Fred Hsiao who are recognized leaders in the Chinese American community in Minnesota. It is offered through the University of Minnesota China Center. The Hsiao Shaw-Lundquist Fellowship provides financial support to a full-time UMN graduate student studying civil engineering, hydro-mechanics, water resources, or architecture, and who has a strong connection to or interest in China. Baranova has been collaborating with a colleague in China, Dr. Zhilin Han. “I believe,” says Baranova, “that connections with other countries are very important. A diverse team with complementary points of view is usually a strong team and results in a very productive cooperation.”

Baranova’s research has strong theoretical component. She explains, “My research work is focused on developing a methodology for modeling problems involving thin and ultrathin layers in conductivity and linear elasticity phenomena. The goal of my research is to simulate, efficiently and accurately, the mechanical behavior of materials with thin layers (e.g., composite materials) and 2D reinforcements. The results of my research will help us to better understand the physical origins of enhancements of properties of materials with thin layers and 2D reinforcements in order to provide confidence in the accuracy and reliability of material properties predictions.” The results of her research are jump conditions across the imperfect interface that is used to simulate the presence of the thin layer.

Her collaborations with Han are related to this research. “Dr. Han uses the jump conditions obtained from our theoretical analysis and incorporates them into a numerical algorithm developed by him. Together we solved several problems with thin coating layers of non-regular shapes, for example, elliptic-like layers.”

Baranova and Han first met when Han was a visiting scholar in CEGE (supported by Ph.D. Joint Training Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences). Both were working with Research Professor Sonia Mogilevskaya and Han was also co-advised by Professor Dominik Schilliger (now at the University of Hannover, Germany). Han returned to China and took a lecturer position at the School of Science in Donghua University. He continued his research, developing expertise in boundary element methods.

The researchers continued to work together in an international collaboration. The research leverages Baranova’s theoretical results and Han’s computational techniques with help of Mogilevskaya and Schillinger to accurately model thin layers. Their joint research has resulted in a paper, which is currently under review for publication.

“This collaboration gave me an opportunity to expand and strengthen my network with the research community in China and to form long-lasting professional relationships,” says Baranova. “I truly enjoy and plan to continue my work with Dr. Zhilin Han and Donghua University. Our plan is to continue our collaboration and expand implementation of our theoretical-computational framework to a wider range of problems, including linear elasticity. Moreover, our collaboration is strengthening the relationship between CEGE and China, which could lead to an increased number of Chinese students co-advised by CEGE faculty members.”

Four CEGE graduate students received Hsiao Shaw-Lundquist Fellowships for 2021. The other students include Xiating Chen, who studies water resources, and Te Xu and Tianyi Li, who both study transportation.