Reclamation launches prize competition to better field evaluate composite structures

Media Contact: Peter Soeth, 303-445-3615,

For Release: March 04, 2021

Imperfection Detection Prize Competition, non-destructive testing for defects
Imperfection Detection Prize Competition, non-destructive testing for defects
WASHINGTON – The Bureau of Reclamation is launching a new prize competition seeking new tools to evaluate the condition of fiber-reinforced polymer composite structures non-destructively. These composites are found in pipelines, tanks and other specialized infrastructure components.

"Reclamation and other industry leaders have a good understanding of traditional materials like concrete and steel," said Chief Engineer David Raff. "Composite structures are a relatively new area requiring innovative and advanced evaluation techniques that can be done without damage to the structures."

The Imperfection Detection Challenge will be conducted in three phases. In phase one, solvers submit their concept. Up to five submissions will be selected to win $60,000 and move to phase two. In phase two, solvers will continue to develop and test their prototypes. The top three finalists from phase two will continue to phase three to present their prototypes during a final event. The winner of the prize competition will win $50,000.

Reclamation is partnering with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Clemson Composites Center, Jesse Garant Metrology, Thompson Pipe Group, NASA Tournament Labs and HeroX. To learn more about this competition, please visit Imperfection Detection Prize Competition Page.

Reclamation conducts prize competitions to spur innovation by engaging a non-traditional, problem-solver community. Through prize competitions, Reclamation complements traditional design research to target the most persistent science and technology challenges. It has awarded more than $3,000,000 in prizes through 27 competitions in the past six years. Please visit Reclamation's Water Prize Competition Center to learn more.

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The Bureau of Reclamation is a federal agency under the U.S. Department of the Interior and is the nation's largest wholesale water supplier and second largest producer of hydroelectric power. Our facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation opportunities, and environmental benefits. Visit our website at and follow us on Twitter @USBR; Facebook @bureau.of.reclamation; LinkedIn @Bureau of Reclamation; Instagram @bureau_of_reclamation; and YouTube @reclamation.