John Gillespie Jr.

John Gillespie Jr.


Director, Center for Composite Materials
Donald C. Phillips Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Phone : (302) 831-8702
Corner of Delaware & Academy Streets
Newark, DE 19716


Dr. Gillespie is an internationally recognized authority in composites. Dr. Gillespie has served the University of Delaware in several roles since 1981, joining Material Science and Engineering in 1994, achieving the position of Director of the Center for Composite Materials in 1996 and being named the Donald C. Phillips Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering in 2005.He received his degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Delaware, and holds joint appointments in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Department of Mechanical Engineering.” He leads four Centers of Excellence in Composites on processing, mechanics and performance of multifunctional composite materials and an industrial consortium with more than 60 companies conducting research at the forefront of the science of composites that address real-world engineering problems. He has served as a member of the influential National Research Council Board on Manufacturing and Engineering Design, and Chair of the National Materials Advisory Board Committee on High-Performance Structural Fibers for Advanced Polymer-Matrix Composites. He has been Editor of the Journal of Thermoplastic Composite Materials since 1993, and he serves on numerous international editorial boards. Dr. Gillespie was awarded the U.S. Army`s Paul A. Siple Memorial Award in 1998 for his research on processing of multifunctional armor materials. The prestigious Jud Hall Composites Manufacturing Award was bestowed in 2000 by the Composites Manufacturing Association of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers. He was also one of only six individuals elected to the 2013 Society of Manufacturing Engineers College of Fellows. In 2015, he was one of four elected as a Fellow of SAMPE. Dr. Gillespie has co-authored more than 800 publications and 17 patents. He has graduated 56 Master`s and 38 Ph.D. students, of which 9 are currently faculty members at other universities. His research interests include processing-structure- property relationships, interphase and adhesion science, mechanical properties and durability and multi-scale modeling of composites.


Named a Fellow of Society of Plastic Engineering (SPE), 2018

Stinchomb Memorial Award, American Society for Testing and Materials, 2016

SAMPE Fellow Award in recognition of your extensive history of research support, technology advancement, individual mentoring and support of the society, June 2015

Elected in 2013 to the SME College of Fellows

Selected as co-recipient of the American Society for Civil Engineers 2013 Charles Pankow Award for Innovation

Elected in 2012 as Fellow of the American Society for Composites

2009 ASC Outstanding Research Award; Quoting the Society guidelines: A nominee for the ASC Outstanding Research Award shall have made contributions to the science and technology of composite materials by way of analytical modeling, numerical modeling, design methodologies, and/or experimental work that have led to a greater understanding of the behavior of composite materials

Distinguished Career Alumni Award, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Delaware, May 1, 2009

American Composites Manufacturing Association Best of Show Award recognizing projects that are superior to all others in manufacturing, design, process innovation, and use of composite materials, November, 2004

Space Act Award, “Ceramic Composite Advanced Tow Placement (CCATP) Process: A Rapid Prototyping Technique for Continuous Fiber Reinforced Ceramic Matrix Composites,” NASA Tech Briefs Magazine, September 2002

Faculty Advisors Award, Society for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering, 2001

J. H. “Jud” Hall Composites Manufacturing Award of the Composites Manufacturing Association, Society of Manufacturing Engineers, 2000 Award recognizing outstanding contributions to the advancement of composites manufacturing

ASCE Delaware Section Project of the Year Award: “Use of Glass-Fiber-Reinforced Composite Panels to Replace the Superstructure for Bridge 351 on N387A Over Muddy Run,” February 1999

Paul A. Siple Memorial Award: “Co-Injection Resin Transfer Molding for Optimization of Integral Armor,” (with B. K. Fink and S. H. McKnight), 21st Army Science Conference, Science and Technology for Army After Next, Norfolk, VA, June 15–17, 1998 recognizes best basic research contributions in U.S. Army.“Defense Basic Research-Rapid Transitions from the Laboratory to the Field” recognized notable achievements by world class scientists and engineers. Dr. Gillespie’s research on Diffusion Enhanced Adhesion was selected as one of only 17 examples throughout the entire Department of Defense, May 1997

Outstanding Paper Award 2nd Place SAMPE 2015, Baltimore, MD, May 18-21, 2015 Zhang, D., D. Heider, and J. W. Gillespie, Jr., “Role of Prepreg Interlayer Permeability on Void Reduction During Oven Vacuum Bag Processing of Thick Section Thermoplastic Composites”
Best Paper Award, ASME Mechanisms & Robotics Committee Best Paper Award at the 39th Mechanisms and Robotics Conference, Boston, MA, August 4, 2015, J-H Park, S. Yarlagadda, P. Stegall, J. Tierney, S. K. Agrawal, S. Sharma, and J. W. Gillespie, Jr., “Wearable Upper Body Suit for Assisting Human Load Carriage”

Best Paper Award, presented at the 25th Annual Technical Conference, hosted by the University of Dayton, Dayton, OH, September 21, 2010, for paper presented at the 24th Annual Technical Conference of the American Society for Composite and the Canadian Association for Composite Structures and Materials, University of Delaware, Sept. 15-17, 2009, with B. A. Gama, T. A. Bogetti, and J. W. Gillespie, Jr., “Impact, Damage and Penetration Modeling of Thick-Section Composites using LS-Dyna MAT 162”

Most Cited Author 2004 – 2008 Award, International Journal of Solids and Structures, 2008

Best Paper Award 1st Place SAMPE 2005 Symposium & Exhibition (50th ISSE), Long Beach, CA, May 1-5, 2005. with B. A. Gama, S. M. W. Islam, M. Rahman, T. A. Bogetti, B. A. Cheeseman, C-F. Yen, and C. P. R. Hoppel, “Punch Shear Behavior of Thick-Section Composites under Quasi-Static, Low Velocity, and Ballistic Impact Loading”

Best Paper Award, Joining of Plastics & Composites Special Interest Group, ANTEC 98: “A Predictive Neural Network Controller for Thermoplastic Tow Placement,” with D. Heider, and M. J. Piovoso, Society of Plastics Engineers, 1998

Best Paper in the Body/Fuselage session: “The Role of Surface Preparation on the Performance of Metal to Polymer Adhesive Joints,” (with S. H. McKnight and P. E. Bourban), 10th Annual ASM/ESD Advanced Composites Conference, November 7–10, 1994

Best Paper in Track: “A Study of Improved Bonding Techniques for High Performance Thermoplastic Composites,” (with R. C. Don and S. H. McKnight), Advanced Composites X: Proceedings of the 10th Annual ASM/ESD Advanced Composites Conference and Exposition, 1994

Best Presentation: “Design, Analysis, and Hydrotesting of a Composite Cylinder Joint for Pressure-Hull Applications,” (with S. M. Andersen, K. Newman, M. A. Lamontia and B. Olson), ASTM STP on Compression Response of Composite Structures, November 1992

Best Advanced Composites Paper: “Processing and Performance of Resistance Welded Thermoplastic Composites,” (with L. J. Bastien and R. C. Don), 45th Annual Conference of the Composites Institute (SPI), February 1990

Research Interests

Research Interests
  • Molecular dynamics modeling of polymers, fibers and interphases
  • High strain rate characterization of polymers, interphases, fibers and composites
  • Structure-property relationships of polymer fibers
  • Multi-scale modeling of composites
  • Processing science of composites

Representative Publications


Tamrakar, S., B. Haque, J. W. Gillespie, Jr., “High Rate Test Method for FiberMatrix Interface Characterization,” Polymer Testing, Submitted January 2016.

Haque, B. Z., M. A. Molla, and J. W. Gillespie, Jr., “Modeling Transverse Impact on UHMWPE Soft Ballistic Sub-Laminate,” Journal of Thermoplastic Composite Materials, Accepted February 2016. Published 2016
Sockalingam, S. R. Bremble, J. W. Gillespie, Jr., and M. Keefe, “Transverse Compression Behavior of Kevlar KM2 Single Fiber,” Composites Part A: Applied Science and Manufacturing, 81, pp. 271 – 281, February 2016.


Sockalingam, S., J. W. Gillespie, Jr., and M. Keefe, “Fiber Length Scale Modeling of Kevlar KM2 Yarn Subjected to Transverse Impact,” International Journal of Solids and Structures, Submitted June 2015.

Haque, B. Z., S. C. Chowdhury, and J. W. Gillespie, Jr., “Molecular Simulations of Stress Wave Propagation and Perforation of Graphene Sheets under Transverse Impact,” Carbon, Submitted November 2015.

Misumi, J., R. H. Ganesh, S. Sockalingam, and J. W. Gillespie, “Experimental Characterization of Tensile Properties of Epoxy Resin by Using Micro Fiber Specimens,” Journal of Reinforced Plastics and Composites, Submitted December 2015.
Sockalingam, S., J. W. Gillespie, Jr., S. Chowdhury, M. Keefe, “Recent Advances in Modeling and Experiments of Ballistic Fibrils, Fibers,

Yarns and Flexible Textile Fabrics – A Review,” Textile Research Journal, Submitted 2015.

Zhang, D., D. Heider, and J. W. Gillespie, Jr., “Determination of Void Statistics and Statistical Representative Volume Elements (SRVE) in Carbon Fiber Reinforced Thermoplastic Prepregs,” Journal of Thermoplastic Composite Materials, DOI: 10.1177/0892705715618002.

Tamrakar, S., Q. An, E. T. Thostenson, A. Rider, B. Z. Haque, and J. W. Gillespie, Jr., “Tailoring Interfacial Properties by Controlling Carbon Nanotube Coating Thickness on Glass Fibers using Electrophoretic Deposition,” American Chemical Society Applied Materials & Interfaces, DOI: 10.1021/acsami.5b10903; 8 (2) pp. 1501-1510, December 2015.

McDaniel, P. B., J. M. Deitzel, and J. W. Gillespie, Jr., “Structural Hierarchy and Surface Morphology of Highly Drawn Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene Fibers Studied by Atomic Force Microscopy and Wide Angle X-Ray Diffraction,” Journal of Polymer Research, Accepted May 2015.

Abu Obaid, A., D. Heider, J. W. Gillespie, Jr., “Investigation of Electro-Mechanical Behavior of Carbon Nanotube Yarns during Tensile Loading,” Carbon, Accepted May 2015.;

Sockalingam, S., J. W. Gillespie, Jr., and M. Keefe, “Dynamic Modeling of Kevlar KM2 Single Fiber Subjected to Transverse Impact,” International Journal of Solids and Structures, Accepted May 2015,

Chowdhury, S. C., S. R. Swenson, B. Z. Haque, and J. W. Gillespie, Jr., “Molecular Dynamics Simulations of Singe-walled Carbon Nanotube Bundle under Mechanical Loading,” FEATURE ARTICLE. SAMPE Journal, 51 (3), May/June 2015.

Gao, X., R. E. Jensen, W. Li, B. Z. (Gama) Haque, J. W. Gillespie, Jr., and S. H. McKnight, “Effect of Fiber Surface Texture on the

Mechanical Properties of Glass Fiber Reinforced Epoxy Composite,” Composites Part A, Pll: S1359-835X(15)00112-8 DOI:

Abu Obaid, A., S. Yarlagadda, and J. W. Gillespie, Jr., “Combined Effects of Kink Bands and Hygrothermal Conditioning on Tensile Strength of Polyarylate LCP and Aramid Fibers,” Journal of Composite Materials, DOI : 10.1177/0021998315574754, March 2015. 10.

Kelly, G. S., S. G. Advani, and J. W. Gillespie, Jr., “A Model to Describe Stick-slip Transition Time During Ultrasonic Consolidation,” International Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technology, DOI 10.1007.s00170-015-6939-z, March 2015.
Nilakantan, G., R. L. Merrill, M. Keefe, J. W. Gillespie., Jr., and E. D. Wetzel, “Experimental Investigation of the Role of Frictional Yarn Pull-Out and Windowing on the Probabilistic Impact Response of Kevlar Fabrics,” Composites Part B, 68, pp. 215-229, 2015


Sahin, O. S., Koellhoffer, S., J. W. Gillespie, Jr., Advani, S. G., and T. Bogetti. “Thermal Modeling During Continuous Ultrasonic Welding,” Turkish Journal of Engineering and Environmental Sciences, 38, pp. 79-96, November 21, 2014.

Sietins, J. M., J. W. Gillspie, Jr., and S. G. Advani, “Transmission Electron Microscopy of an Ultrasonically Consolidated Copper-Aluminum Interface,” Journal of Materials Research, 29, 17, doi: 10.1557/jmr.2014.176, 2014

Zangenberg, J., P. Brondsted, and J. W. Gillespie, Jr., “Fatigue Damage Propagation in Unidirectional Glass Fibre Reinforced Composites made of a Non-Crimp Fabric,” Journal of Composite Materials, doi 10.1177/0021998313502062, Sept. 13, 2013; 48 (22), pp. 2711-2727, August 2014.

McAllister, Q. P., J. W. Gillespie, Jr. and M. VanLandingham, “The Energy Dissipative Mechanisms of Particle-Fiber Interactions in a Textile Composite,” Journal of Composite Materials, DOI: 10.1177/0021998313511651, 2013.

Lopatnikov, S. L. and J. W. Gillespie, Jr., “Simple Analytical Model for Fiber Tensile Failure due to Droplet Impact,” J. Appl. Phys., DOI: 10.1063/1.4863207, 115 (6), Feb. 2014.

Dey, M., J. Deitzel, J. W. Gillespie, Jr., and S. Schweiger, “Influence of Sizing Formulations on Glass/Epoxy Interphase Properties,” Composites Part A,, 63, pp 59-67, 2014.

Sockalingam, S., J. W. Gillespie, Jr., and M. Keefe, “On the Transverse Compression Response of Kevlar KM2 using Fiber-level Finite Element Model,” International Journal of Solids and Structures, DOI: 10.1016/j.ijsolstr.2014.03.020; 51 (13) pp. 2504-2517, May 2014.

Kelly, G. S., M. S. Just, S. G. Advani, and J. W. Gillespie, Jr., “Energy and Bond Strength Development during Ultrasonic Consolidation,” Journal of Materials Processing Technology, Journal of Materials Processing Technology, 214, pp. 1665-1672, March 2014.

Chowdhury, S. C., B. Z. Haque, and J. W. Gillespie, Jr., “Molecular Simulations of the Carbon Nanotubes Intramolecular Junctions under Mechanical Loading,” Computational Materials Science, 82, pp. 503 – 509, Feb. 2014.

Sockalingam, S., M. Dey, J. W. Gillespie, Jr. and M. Keefe, “Finite Element Analysis of the Microdroplet Test Method using Cohesive Zone Model of the Fiber / Matrix Interface,” Composites Part A: Applied Science and Manufacturing, 56 (2) pp. 239 – 247, Jan. 2014.