Student wins INCOSE Best Paper award for construction failure analysis framework

A doctoral student in AAE received the award for his work that suggested a framework for Earth-based construction failure analysis. This framework could eventually lead to more reliable structures in space.

Takaharu Igarashi

Takaharu Igarashi, a doctoral student in Purdue AAE, received the Brian Mar Best Student Paper award during the International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE) 32nd Annual International Symposium.

Igarashi’s paper covers the need for a framework in identifying causes in construction failures. He hopes that better research on the ground will result in better-built structures in space.

“We cannot afford to learn by making mistakes in space, so I thought we can learn from the failures we have made (lots of them!) throughout the long history of construction on the ground,” Igarashi says. “Construction in space would undoubtedly be more challenging … It’s an environment where you can’t just go and fix things in case you found a problem. I believe it is crucial to find a way to remove any defects before they get up in space.”

Igarashi, who has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Architectural Design and Engineering from the University of Tokyo, and a master’s in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Purdue, hopes that combining his experiences will lead to more successful construction of projects in space.

The system proposed in this paper would help to better describe failures specific to construction, and the wide spectrum of those failures. Improving data collection would produce better research results, and reduce future catastrophic failures in the built environment.

"It's very pleasing to have Takaharu's work recognized in this way,” says Purdue AAE Professor Karen Marais, who is Igarashi's faculty advisor. “Takaharu is blending his background in Architectural Engineering with his passion for space exploration to help future designers create safe space habitats, from construction through eventual decommissioning. His work is a great example of how the different engineering disciplines can learn from and build on each other."

Igarashi presented his work in person at the symposium, which INCOSE calls “the largest worldwide annual gathering of people who do systems engineering.” The 2022 symposium was held in Detroit, Michigan from June 25 to June 30.

“I was honored to have my work recognized in such a prestigious stage and felt grateful to my advisor, Professor Marais, for guiding me along the way,” Igarashi says. “I also had a sense of reassurance, as the award felt like it was a sign that I’m on the right track.”