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


Prof. Gillespie is an internationally recognized expert in composites. Prof. 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, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Department of Mechanical Engineering.
He has led five Centers of Excellence in Composites on processing, mechanics and performance of multifunctional composite materials and university-industry partnerships 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.
Prof. 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. In 2013, Prof. Gillespie was honored as co-recipient to receive the Charles Pankow Award for Innovation by the American Society for Civil Engineers (ASCE).  The American Society for Testing Materials awarded Prof. Gillespie the Wayne W. Stinchcomb Memorial Award.  He was awarded the CAMX Award for Composite Excellence (ACE): Infinite Possibility for Market Growth Category in September 2019 as a co-inventor of the Tailored universal Feedstock for Forming (TuFF) technology. Most recently receiving the 2020 SAMPE Delmonte Award for Innovation Excellence presented by North America Award Committee. Prof. Gillespie holds Fellow’s status with Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME), SAMPE, Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE), and American Society for Composites (ASC).  
Prof. Gillespie has co-authored more than 920 referred / conference publications and holds 24 patents. He has graduated over 100 graduate students, of which 19 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.


2020 SAMPE Delmonte Award for Innovation Excellence – SAMPE North America Awards Committee

CAMX Award for Composite Excellence (ACE): Infinite Possibility for Market Growth Category, September 2019

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


Yeon, Jejoon, Chowdhury, S. C., Gillespie, Jr., J.W., “Hydroxylation and Water-Surface Interaction for S-Glass and Silica Glass using ReaxFF based Milecular Dynamics Simulations”, Applied Surface Science,

Haque (Gama), B.Z., Kubota, M., Gillespie, Jr., J.W., “Depth of Penetration Experiments of S-2 Glass/Epoxy Composites: A New Experimental Methodology in Determining the Rate Dependent Dynamic Crush Strength of Composites”, Composites Part B, Volume 238, 109917, 2022

Chowdhury, S.C., Gillespie, Jr., J.W., “Strain-Rate Dependent Mode I Cohesive Traction laws for Glass Fiber-Epoxy Interphase using Molecular Dynamics Simulations”,,Composites Part B, 109877, 2022

Meyer, Christopher, O’Brien, D. J., Haque (Gama), B.Z., Gillespie, Jr., J.W., “Mesoscale Modeling of Ballistic Impact Experiments on a Single Layer of Plain Weave Composite”,, Composites Part B, 109753, 2022

Yeon, Jejoon, Chowdhury, S.C., Gillespie, Jr., J.W., “Mechanical Properties and Damage Analysis of S-Glass Fiber: A Reactive Molecular Dynamics Study”,, Composites Part B, Volume 234, 109706, 2022

Vanarelli, Alex, Gillespie, Jr., J.W., “Response of Thin Flexible Compression Columns with Self-Reacting Lateral Constraint”, , Journal of Composite Materials, Volume 0(0), 1-16, 2022


Meyer, Christopher, Haque, B.Z., Gillespie, Jr., J.W., “Bridging Length Scales from Micro to Mesoscale through Rate-Dependent Traction-Separation Law Predictions”,, Composites Part B, Volume 231, 109558, 2021

Parambil, Nithin Kaliyath, Chen, B., Deitzel, J., Gillespie, Jr., J.W., “A Methodology for Predicting Processing Induced Thermal Residual Stress in Thermoplastic Composite at the Microscale”,, Composites Part B, volume 231, 109561, 2021

Simacek, Pavel, Advani, S., Gillespie, Jr., J.W., “Modeling Short Fiber Deformation in Dilute Suspension: Fiber Deposition.” ,Composites Science and Technology, Volume 218, 109149, 2021

Jaber, Albraa, AbuObaid, A., Advani, S.G., Gillespie, Jr., J.W., “Experimental Investigation of Dry Powder Coating Processing Parameters on the Polystyrene Particle’s Distribution on the Surface of Carbon Fibers”,, Powder Technology, Volume 393, 461-470, 2021

Bhaduri, A., Meyer, C., Gillespie, J.W., Haque, B., and Shields, M.,  Graham-Brady, L., “Probabilistic modeling of discrete structural response with application to composite plate penetration models,”, Journal of Engineering Mechanics, Volume 147, Issue 11, 2021

Meyer, Christopher S., Catugas, I.G., Gillespie, Jr., J.W., Haque, B.Z., “Investigation of Normal, Lateral and Oblique Impact of Microscale Projectiles into Unidirectional Glass/Epoxy Composites”,,  Defense Technology, 2021

Muhammed, Faheem, Lavaggi, T., Advani, S., Mirotznik, M., Gillespie, Jr., J.W., “Influence of Material and Process Parameters on Microstructure Evolution during the Fabrication of Carbon-Carbon Composites.”,  Journal of Materials Science, 56, 17877-17914, 2021

Yeon, Jejoon, Chowdhury, S.C., Daksha, C.M., Gillespie, Jr., J.W., “Development of Mg/Al/Si/O ReaxxFF Parameters for Magnesium Aluminosilicate Glass using Artificial Neural network Assisted Genetic Algorith.”, Journal of Physical Chemistry, 2021, 125 (33), 18380-183694

Jaber, Albraa A., A.O. Ahmad, S.G. Advani, J.W. Gillespie, Jr., “Prediction of Circumferential Equilibrium Spacing between Charged Polymer Particles in Contact with Grounded Carbon Fiber.”, Powder Technology, Volume 386, 307-318, 2021

Haque (Gama), Bazle Z., J.W. Gillespie, Jr., “Depth of Penetration of Dyneema HB26 Hard Ballilstic Laminates.”,, Journal of Thermoplastic Composite Materials, 2021

Meyer, C., Bonyi, E., Drake, K., Obafemi-Babatunde, T., Daodu, A., Ajifa, D. Bigio, A., Taylor, J., Haque, B., O’Brien, D., Gillespie, J.W., Aslan, K., “Automated detection and quantification of transverse cracks on woven composites,”, Journal of Reinforced Plastics and Composites, 2021

Jaber, Albraa A., A.O Ahmad, S.G. Advani, J.W. Gillespie, Jr., “Prediction of equilibrium spacing between charge polymer particles in contact with a carbon fiber.” , Journal of Electrostatics, Volume 111, 103577, 2021

Chowdhury, S. C., Prosser, R., Sirk, T.W., Elder, R.M., Gillespie, Jr., J.W., “Glass fiber-epoxy interactions in the presence of silane: A molecular dynamics study”, Applied Surface Science, Volume, 542, 2021

Jaber, A., Abu Obaid, A., Advani, S. G., Gillespie, Jr, J.W., “Influence of Relative Humidity on Charge Stability of Ozone Treated Polystyrene Particles,” Journal of Applied Polymer Science, Volume 138, Issue 9, 49900, 2021

Daksha, Chaitanya, Yeon, Jejoon, Chowdhury, S.C., Gillespie, J.W., “Automated ReaxFF Parametrization using Machine Learning.”,, Journal of Computational Materials Science, Volume 187, 110107, 2021