February 27, 2009

Society honors SIUC’s Chugh with two awards

by Tim Crosby

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A faculty member in the College of Engineering at Southern Illinois University Carbondale received two awards this week from an organization dedicated to mining technology.

The Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration honored Yoginder “Paul” Chugh with the Howard N. Eavenson Award and the Rock Mechanics Award during its annual meeting in Denver. Chugh is a professor in the Department of Mining and Mineral Resources Engineering at SIUC.

The awards are part of the organization’s coal and energy division. They honor Chugh’s work in the fields of coal mining and rock mechanics.

The Rock Mechanics Award cites Chugh’s work in the area of coal pillar design in weak floor conditions. It also recognizes his work in subsidence in room-and-pillar mining and development and demonstration of alternate mining geometry concepts for improved ground control. The organization also honored Chugh for his work in the development of fly ash-based posts and cribs and his success and commercialization of a new, engineered wooden crib support system.

The award citation says Chugh has achieved “sustained and outstanding contributions to coal industry through applied rock mechanics and ground control research.”

SME also gave Chugh the Howard N. Eavenson Award for distinguished contributions to the advancement of coal mining. The award recognizes a researcher who, within the last two years, has contributed the most to the advancement of the coal industry, including the areas of research, invention, publication or advances in mining and development methods.

The award, which includes a $3,000 cash prize, cites Chugh for “sustained and outstanding contributions to the coal industry through education and applied research in ground control, dust control and coal combustion byproducts management areas.”

Specifically, the award honors Chugh for his work in mining and for elevating the international visibility of the SIUC Department of Mining and Mineral Resources Engineering.

A professional with 47 years of experience, Chugh earned his bachelor’s degree in engineering in 1961 at the Banaras Hindu University in India. He earned his Master of Science degree in 1968 and doctorate in mining engineering in 1971 at Pennsylvania State University.

Chugh joined the SIUC faculty in 1977.

A former chair of the mining and mineral resources engineering department, Chugh three times received its Outstanding Department Teaching Award.

Last year, Chugh introduced “Atlas Cribs,” a lighter, stronger system for bracing mine ceilings with manufactured hardwood braces. The system uses wood grain orientation to increase strength with less surface area, improving its ventilation characteristics by up to 50 percent.