Sunil Bhandari

Advisor: Roberto Lopez-Anido


(Tentative) – Multiscale modeling 3D printed composite of micro and nano cellulose reinforced thermoplastic composite for structural application


Eng. Civil Engineering- Tribhuvan University, Nepal, 2012

M.S. Civil Engineering- University of Maine, 2016

Ph.D. Civil Engineering- University of Maine, PRESENT

Bio & Research Interests

I hail from Nepal. My hometown is the picturesque city of Pokhara, which is mostly known in the region for its lakes and the close-up views of the Himalayas, and as such is a popular tourist destination. I moved to the capital city of Kathmandu to complete my last two years of high school at Budhanilkantha School. I took my CIE GCE A-levels exams and graduated in 2007.

I always knew I would pursue my college education in engineering, but there were two fields I was passionate about – computers and structures. And I needed to choose which field of engineering I would pursue my education in. Being from a developing country that had very recently freed itself from the clutches of a decade-long, civil war, I thought that an education in civil engineering would be useful for the period of peace and reconstruction that was expected to follow. I joined Civil Engineering undergraduate program at Pulchowk Campus of Tribhuvan University in 2008. Even though I chose civil engineering for my career, my love for computers never abated. I still appreciate the beauty of computers and learn more about them on my own whenever I can. After four long years of academic rigor, I took my final engineering exams at Tribhuvan University in 2012.

My first job was that of a site engineer for a Sanjen Hydropower Project in one of the most remote parts of Nepal. After half a year of work, I gained valuable knowledge and experience. However, due to frequent natural disasters like landslides and rock falls, and due to political uncertainties of a country that was recovering from the ravages of a civil war, the project was halted. It was time for me to move on. I found a new job at an engineering firm in the capital city, which involved analysis, design, and construction of residential buildings. I worked there for about one year. My work experiences made me realize how little I knew about engineering materials and structures, and how much more I needed to learn. I decided to pursue my education once more.

I was accepted at the University of Maine for the M.S. program in Civil Engineering with the Correll Fellowship, which supported my first year of education. I moved to the other side of the earth and started as a graduate student at Advanced Structures and Composites Center in Fall of 2014. I was lucky to have Dr. Roberto Lopez-Anido as my advisor, who guided me through my master’s degree program. His deep insights and vast knowledge of composite structures have always amazed me. His kindness and his ability to understand and deal with student’s problems are even more awe-inspiring. David Erb was the PI of the project I was working on, and it was a great opportunity to learn from his lifetime of remarkable experiences in the field of composites, too. I learned a lot about composite materials, structures made from reinforced polymers, and mostly about 3D printing of thermoplastic polymers. I defended my master’s thesis titled, “Feasibility of using 3D printed molds for thermoforming thermoplastic composites” in November of 2016. By this time, I had realized the potential 3D printing offered in creating engineering structures. Great amounts of research work needed to be done to utilize this potential. I decided to continue on and pursue this field of research and applied for a Ph.D. program in Civil Engineering.

I am currently working on a project titled, “Develop multi-scale modeling and experimental techniques that incorporate micro and nano cellulose materials in additive manufacturing of thermoplastic composites for infrastructure and marine applications.”  My research will focus on multi-scale modeling of 3D printed structure for process-structure-performance characterization. With Dr. Lopez-Anido and Dr. Gardner as my advisors, I hope to carry out high-quality research work in this field.


  1. Bhandari, R. Lopez-Anido Finite element analysis of thermoplastic polymer extrusion 3D printed thermoplastic for mechanical property characterization, Additive Manufacturing Journal, Under Review
  2. Bhandari, Feasibility of using 3D printed molds for thermoforming thermoplastic composites, Master’s Thesis, 2017
  3. Bhandari, R. Lopez- Anido, Feasiblity of using 3D printed thermoplastic molds for stamp forming of thermoplastic composites publication date Sep 29, 2016, CAMX conference

Memberships, Honors, Awards

  • Harold W. Alfond Graduate Research Assistantship – University of Maine, 2017.
  • Directors Award — Advanced Structures and Composites Center, 2017.
  • Trustee Scholarship – University of Maine, 2015-2016.
  • Correll Fellowship – University of Maine, 2014-2015.
  • Phi Kappa Phi Honors Society—University of Maine, 2016.
  • Nepal Engineering Council, 2013.
  • Golden Jubilee Scholarship, Embassy of India in Nepal