We humans can move anywhere within this tiny globe
of ours without a machine, but for touching sky and beyond, relying on machines
is our only option. From the first attempt of touching skies on a hot-air
balloon discovered by Montgolfier
brothers followed by a controlled glider by The Wright brothers we have came a
long way. We even were able to surpass sound barrier, but still the quest of
becoming faster and efficient exists. These advancements are not only in
mechanisms but also in materials. We started from wood moved to steel and are
on composites right now and I believe there are many more levels to go before
we reach the end of the game and I want to be the player to cross this level
and be on the Leaders Board.
During my school days
mathematics and science which was nightmare for most of the students happened
to be my favorite subjects and I scored full marks in those subjects. I also
looked forward for science fairs and been a part of many such fairs. This
interest of mine was picked by my teachers and encouraged me to think about
engineering as a career option. At that time I was not sure about a specific
field of study, but I knew it should be related to science. Hence I took up
admission in a junior college in science.
Two years which I spend
in junior college made me realize no matter which sector it is, mechanical
engineering covered all of it. Machines are a part of human life from his birth
to his death. This led me to pursue a diploma in mechanical engineering to
explore the statics and dynamics of machines. Though mechanical engineering
being a broad field, for my baccalaureate I wanted to go for a specific field within this and thus I took
up automobile engineering in Pillai College of Engineering which is one of the
best colleges for automobile engineering in our state. The college facilitated
high tech labs, an automobile workshop and project driven course work which encouraged
students to truly explore the concepts thought during lectures in real life. We
were given topics from each subject to make mini-projects and present reports
on them and I being a science enthusiast always looked forward to it, which
scored me good grades in my practical and term work.
In the first year of
my baccalaureate program, the subject materials
technology was introduced to me. The subject was a successor to ‘mechanical engineering
materials’ which I came across during my diploma and had some very intriguing
concepts such as structures of crystals, packing factor, dislocations. This led
me into lengthy discussions with my professor about this topic and she being a
doctorate in this subject was prompt in resolving all my queries. Further the
subject design of machines briefed me how a slight change in material
properties can have a huge effect on the efficiency of a machine. Our seventh
semester mini-project topics “modal analysis of flywheel”, “Structural
Analysis of Chassis Frame of 1979 Chevrolet Corvette ” and “Study of air flow over
the ONERA M6 wing” had me and my team mates work on some advanced designing
softwares such as Solidworks, Ansys-Mechanical APDL and Ansys-Fluent and got us
better understanding of these softwares. These projects also further increased
my interest in the field of structures and materials.
Though my college was strict in terms of attendance
we were given some leverage in the final year and thus allowed me to take part
in a national level project competition “IT Olympiad”. This competition gave students a real
experience of solving industrial problems with mentoring from experts.
Our team of seven consisted of two computer engineers, an IT engineer, an
Electronics engineer, an Electrical engineer, a Mechanical engineer and I an
Automobile engineer which pretty much covers all branches of engineering.
Together we worked on a project “Measurement of relative surface elasticity of
an unknown object using micro strain gauges”. As the group included student
from across the nation our communication and collaboration was a matter of
worry, so I took it upon myself to communicate with each individual and share
my ideas and understand their concepts about the project. Hence together we
devised a strong concept and worked on its virtual fabrication. Among 3000
students, 300 students were selected which were further divided in 40 groups.
Among these 40 groups only 6 groups were selected in finals and I was in one of
these groups. This competition offered me to furnish not only my technical and
analytical skills but also led me to discover my leadership skills by working
in a diverse team.
In my final year I chose to work on project “Mechanical
testing of polymer matrix composites” driven by my immense interest in
materials and structures which constantly strengthened during my baccalaureate program. In this project
we were to make two composite samples by different manufacturing process and
test each sample to finally devise which process of manufacturing was more efficient.
Our college lacked a composites lab, and the topic being anew we had to start
from the scratch. My team and few other teams who had project in similar topic
approached our senior professor Dr. R.C.Prasad who helped us to setup a small
lab in the college. I and my team were even able to acquire two industries as
material sponsors by giving them presentations and explaining our project to
them. On a visit to a industry for testing the samples for tensile strength we
got to know that our results almost coincided with that of industry made
samples which received us praises and a recognition in that industry, which was
a proud moment for our team.
Through different experiences
my life goals unfolded slowly and steadily. At the age of 24 and as a confident
individual, I have finally understood what I expect from life. I want to be a
researcher and a part of team of scientist who get to witness a new era in
materials which will effect all sectors equally and bring about a multitude of
possibilities in each sector of human life.