Rakesh K. Kapania

Rakesh K. Kapania

Mitchell Professor of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering
Affiliate Professor, Engineering Science and Mechanics
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State
PhD 1985




"While a large number of people and institutions have shaped me and have contributed to my success, it is the education that I got at Purdue that has had the most influence on my career. Purdue taught me the value of hard work, fairness and integrity. I recall it was a Saturday when I arrived for the first time at the third-floor of Grissom Hall. I could not believe how many members of the faculty were working as if it were a regular week-day. And I will never forget Prof. Yang's advice, "Everything can be taken away from you except your scholarship and high-quality publications.""

Dr. Rakesh K. Kapania graduated from Purdue University with a Ph.D. in Aeronautics and Astronautics in 1985. As an expert on aerospace structures, Dr. Kapania has made very significant contributions to aerospace engineering, in general, and aerospace structures, in particular. For the last three decades, he has served as a teacher, scholar, and researcher. Many of his undergraduate students are working in U.S. industry, and his trained researchers are working in academia, industry, and government labs. He has guided 40 M.S., 37 Ph.D., and 13 post-doctoral fellows.

Dr. Kapania has authored over 150 archival journal articles published primarily by AIAA, 250 conference papers and presentations largely at the SDM conference, and two book chapters. He reviews nearly a dozen papers annually, twice served as associate editor of the AIAA Journal, served as a member of the AIAA Education Book Series advisory board, is a member of the Structures Technical Committee, NRC Review Panel for NASA's Roadmap for future research, and member of the Daniel Guggenheim Medal Award Board.

Dr. Kapania has managed over 85 research projects funded by many agencies. He led two large programs contributing to the design of both civilian and military future aerospace vehicles including a three-year $3.3 Million, NASA-Virginia Tech-Lockheed Martin program on Unitized Structures fabricated by modern manufacturing processes such as the Electronic Beam Free Form Fabrication, laser sintering, and other methods; and AFRL-Virginia Tech-Wright State University Collaborative Center on Multidisciplinary Sciences over 6.5 years at a level of $6.5M. Leading a team of two post-doc fellows and 12 graduate students, he is contributing significantly to basic and applied research in aerospace structures in unitized structures, multidisciplinary design of truss-braced aircraft, highly-flexible wings and composite structures. He is part of a team selected by NASA to a $6.2 million, five-year research project on mission adaptive aeroelastic wings.

Dr. Kapania has been widely recognized for his contributions to aerospace education and research. He was honored by being awarded the $1 Million Mitchell professorship. For his research contributions, Dr. Kapania was awarded the Dean's Award for Excellence in Research in 2000 and 2010. In 1996, he received the Boeing's Welliver Fellowship for his commitment to undergraduate education. Dr. Kapania was awarded the Boeing Research and Technology Performance and Innovation Award in 2014 for his research on nonlinear aeroelasticity of Truss-Braced Wings. In recognition of his commitment to bringing new knowledge to the industry, he was elected Director of Multidisciplinary Analysis and Design Center for Advanced Vehicles at Virginia Tech.