UVA vs. Texas Tech: The Glass Connection

By Jordan Scott and Emmariah Holcomb

Tonight, millions throughout the U.S. will watch as the University of Virginia (UVA) Cavaliers take on the Texas Tech University Red Raiders in the NCAA Tournament championship. While Charlottesville, Va., and Lubbock, Texas, may soon be known for basketball glory, what many may not know is the towns’ connections to the glass industry.

Texas Tech has been home to many researchers whose work, especially concerning natural disasters, has impacted the glass industry.

Dr. Joseph Minor, who is now retired, was a professor of civil engineering and director of the Institute for Disaster Research at Texas Tech from 1969 to 1988. He is known for his work with wind engineering, window glass design practice and natural hazards research. He played a major part in advancing window glass and disaster research and was named a distinguished engineer at the school in 1989.

Dr. Ernst Kiesling is the executive director of the National Storm Shelter Association. He also leads the storm shelter research effort within the Wind Science and Engineering Research Center at Texas Tech, where its lab conducts tests on a variety of building materials. Texas Tech’s National Wind Institute has been involved in analyzing storm damage and how material choices impacted the level of destruction.

At the 2018 Building Envelope Contractors (BEC) Conference, Kishor Mehta, wind engineering expert and professor at Texas Tech, spoke about managing risk and growth in response to natural events. He analyzed how glass and glazing products hold up during high wind events such as hurricanes.

Currently, Jerzy Blawzdziewicz, professor of mechanical engineering at Texas Tech, is researching the dynamics of glass-forming matter.

Lubbock is also home to several glass companies whose employees are excited to see Texas Tech reach the championship. According to Belinda McMennamy, manager at Action Glass & Mirror, the shop and town are completely ecstatic about the game.

“We’re great supporters of Tech,” she said.

Not surprisingly, Raider Red’s Auto Glass is also excited for the game. Gabriel Pineda, owner of the shop, says that his mobile glass shop gives discounts to Texas Tech students.

Commonwealth Glass owner, Kris Hancock is trying to keep things in his shop running smoothly in light of tonight’s big game. He mentioned that although his Charlottesville business isn’t doing anything special or out of the ordinary to prepare for the finals, he and his team will surely be watching.

“Oh yes, we’re definitely excited for tonight’s game and of course to see who will win. We’ve been a little busy, but nothing we haven’t seen before,” said Hancock.

Charlottesville has architectural glass connections dating back to 1772. Monticello, the home of President Thomas Jefferson, features window glass from Europe. According to the official Monticello website, the first sashes (14 pairs) were most likely sent from England with the windows already glazed. The second sashes came from Philadelphia with Bohemian glass. The windows in the dining and tea rooms have a double thickness of glass, a modern-day insulating technique. Sliding French pocket doors are another glassy feature of the historic home.

Monticello also feature thirteen skylights in its dome. It was the first home in the U.S. with such a feature. Approximately one-tenth of the original window glass remains.

Jefferson modeled Monticello after the Hotel de Salm in Paris so that the three-story building appeared as if it was only one story tall. He achieved this by having the second-story windows appear to be an extension of the first-floor windows.

Jefferson founded UVA in 1819. Today, UVA’s engineering school has been highlighting and doing research on the autonomous side of the industry for years. One of its associate professors, B. Brian Park, is the director of the university’s traffic operations laboratory. Park, along with other professors in the department, are working on obtaining grant funding for the Development of Safety Evaluation Technologies and Test-beds for Automated Vehicles. According to UVA, it will aid in determining specific factors that affect the safety of automated vehicles within a virtual testbed, by utilizing a PreScan software.

Autonomous research is also the main focus for Nicola Bezzo, an assistant professor who is also a member of UVA’s engineering department.

“My research focuses on increasing autonomy, resiliency and security of mobile robotic systems and cyber-physical systems,” says Bezzo.

The two schools face off tonight at 9:20 p.m. ET at the U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. The game will be available to watch on CBS.

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