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  • A Community Built On False Values -- An Opinion Piece

    By DrD

    A Community Built on False Values This may well prove to be the least popular thing I ever post on this blog because what I have to say may offend many. I do not say it with the intent to offend, but because I am compelled to give a warning. One of the most interesting things that has developed from my blog, Mechanics Corner, here on the ME Forum has been the opportunity to correspond directly with a modest number of readers. This has included both young men and young women scattered across India, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and the rest the world. The majority of them are still students, still studying to become mechanical engineers. I have been somewhat amazed at the number of them that talk about (1) their strong intention to go on to graduate studies, and (2) their desire and intention to publish research while still in school, in some cases even below the baccalaureate level. I do not wish to discourage people from graduate study nor do I wish to dissuade them from publishing their work, but both of these strike me as somewhat inappropriate for an undergraduate engineering student. It appears to me that many are caught up in the ethos of academia which is misleading them with respect to what is really of value as preparation for an engineering career. Let me elaborate. Let us begin by considering two words, science and engineering. Wikipedia tells us that science means knowledge, coming from the Latin root word scientia. The same source also tells us that engineering, which is derived from the Latin root ingenium, means "cleverness," and the second root word ingeniare, meaning "to contrive or devise." These definitions point to the fundamental distinction between science and engineering. The scientists, particularly the physicist, seeks to know, particularly to find new knowledge. The engineer, on the other hand, seeks to apply existing knowledge to the solution of problems of interest to society. It is evident that these two fields are very close to each other. We cannot be clever and inventive without knowing what has been known for ages. But engineering is about the application of knowledge, while science is about the search for knowledge. Academia has lost its way. This is certainly true in the USA, in Europe, and it appears to be true in the rest of the world as well. Where the college or university once saw its role as preserving and passing along the best of human knowledge, to prepare people for a productive life, the schools have since become big businesses, focus on their influence, their endowments, and their prestige. In the past, faculty were valued for their knowledge and their ability to teach, that is, to pass along knowledge to those who studied with them. Today this has changed. Faculty are now valued for what they contribute to the image of the institution, for their reputations, for their publications which reflect favorably on the institution, and usually most of all, for the grants and other funding that they bring to the institution. (Notice that there is nothing about teaching in the present day evaluation of faculty; this is sad but it is absolutely true.) In order for a faculty member to advance today, he must be interested in and doing those things which are seen as contributing to the image of the institution. Foremost for faculty, this means grant writing, research, and publication. It explicitly excludes professional engineering practice. Thus, the vast majority of engineering faculty today have little or no experience as practicing engineers. They have a lot of experience in obtaining funding, in writing papers, in giving presentations to prestigious audiences and other similar activities that will reflect favorably on their schools. But most have never solved an actual engineering problem from industry. The reader may ask, "so how does this affect the students?" The answer is simple. The faculty talk about and praise their research, publications, and funding, and students are inclined to take these things as their own goals for the future. Thus if a student sees a faculty member advancing and doing well by publishing a lot of research (and no one ever evaluates the true value of most of that research), the student is inclined to assume that this should be their goal, their path to success as well. Nothing could be further from the truth for a baccalaureate or masters level engineer. Most of us have heard the phrase "engineering research," and what these faculty members are doing is often described as "engineering research." But is this really engineering research as it is practiced in industry? Not at all. Over the years, I have worked in industrial "research organizations" of many sorts, but very, very little of the work done in those organizations is publishable for the simple reason that it is not fundamentally new. Engineering research, as practiced in industry, in most cases means going to the library to see if you can find a paper (or a book) where the problem you are currently dealing with has been previously solved, or at least a very similar problem that can serve as a model for you. If we talk about experimental engineering research, that usually implies experiments and measurements directed to answer very specific questions about the problem at hand, and almost never about fundamental physics or other "new" knowledge. Let me cite a few examples of engineering research that I have been involved with personally: 1. Many years ago, I conducted an experimental study of the flexural vibration of a sonar transducer head under a U.S. Navy contract. The transducer head is that part of the sonar device that comes in direct contact with the water in order to transmit, or receive, a sound wave. For analytical purposes, the sonar head is usually modeled as a rigid body, but it was generally understood that being a real, physical body with flexibility, there would be a degree of flexing involved as it moved rapidly back and forth. My research quantified the extent of that flexing and suggested the possible need for further stiffening of the design. There was no fundamentally new information; no new phenomenon were discovered, and there was nothing publishable other than a report to the U.S. Navy. 2. At one time, I was employed as a research engineer at the Homer Research Laboratories run by Bethlehem Steel Corporation, conducting research in cold rolling of steel strip. My particular assignment was to develop a mathematical model and a computer simulation based on that model for the multistand cold rolling mill. A significant part of my "research" was simply going to the library to search for work previously done by others about modeling the phenomenon that occur in the roll gap where the thickness reduction actually occurs. My "research" was largely the application of work done by numerous others, and it was not in the least bit publishable, although it was a valuable engineering tool for my employer. 3. I once worked for a company that assembled engine-generator packages, using both engines and generators made by others. My principal responsibility in that position was the torsional vibration analysis of these machines, essentially the forced response analysis of a rather complicated, multi-degree of freedom vibration system, done for every machine we shipped out. Even though this was after I had completed my college work, I had never studied systems quite like that before. So "engineering research" became a matter of learning about multidegree of freedom vibration analysis, becoming familiar with the modal method, learning about the Holzer calculation technique, and refreshing my memory about the application of Fourier series. Not a bit of this was new. Multidegree of freedom vibration goes back at least as far as the Lord Rayleigh in the mid-19th century if not earlier, the Holzer calculation dates from the early 20th century, and Fourier series date from the early 19th century. So, while there was nothing new in any of this, it was necessary "engineering research" in order to give me the capability to perform my assigned tasks. 4. While at the engine-generator company, I was asked to create a mathematical model and numerical dynamic simulation for a complex system consisting of a diesel engine with the governor, a generator with its exciter, and induction motor, and a pump. This system is the emergency core cooling system for a nuclear power plant. In the event of the loss of regular coolant flow to the core, the standby diesel engine is started and the speed stabilized by the governor. After this is done, the exciter is activated to apply the field to the generator windings, and power is delivered to the induction motor. This step again requires stabilizing the speed by the governor. The induction motor is rigidly coupled to the pump which provides water to cool the core. All of these steps must happen very quickly, typically in about 15 seconds, so there is a lot going on. In my own engineering education, I had learned about basic circuit theory, but I never studied much about motors and generators. Thus my "engineering research" at this point included a lot of study of motor/generator theory, all information that had been known since the early 20th century. There was nothing about the eventual simulation that was publishable research, but it was a valuable engineering tool for my company. The point of the four little stories above is simply that, in most cases of engineering practice, "engineering research" is simply a matter of finding existing knowledge so that it may be applied to a current problem of interest to the employer. Only in the most rare circumstances is it about the search for new knowledge, knowledge previously unknown to anyone. And yet it is this last, the search for new knowledge that is the focus of most academic research. With some exceptions, academic research is rarely relevant to the actual problems of industry today. Let me also make a few comments about graduate education. Without going into the broad topic of the degradation of education at all levels, let it suffice to say that there are, broadly speaking, two categories of engineers. Let us call the first category the Project Engineer, almost always an individual with a baccalaureate degree in engineering. The second category, which we will call the Advanced Engineer, is usually a person with a Masters or doctoral degree in engineering, although baccalaureate degree holders are not entirely excluded. The Project Engineer has broad responsibilities for many types of projects, including design, manufacturing considerations, obtaining materials, meeting delivery schedule requirements, and resolving difficulties as they arise. He relies heavily on codes and standards in his design work, often employing "rules of thumb" instead of rigorous calculation; this is how the vast majority of engineering gets done. The Project Engineer draws on his engineering education background for understanding, but rarely makes a calculation and relies heavily on engineering intuition to do his job. The Advanced Engineer is one who has chosen to deepen his technical expertise, and enjoys dealing with more complicated problems, particularly in terms of mathematical analysis. The Advanced Engineer may, but often does not, have broad project responsibilities, but he is expected to be more rigorous in his work and to have a greater knowledge base.  He is often seen as a resource person for the Project Engineer. Industry in every country needs large numbers of Project Engineers; this is where the jobs are for most engineering graduates. Industry in every country needs a far smaller number of Advanced Engineers because their role is largely support for the Project Engineers. At times, when there is a great industrial surge, such as the USA experienced during the space program, there is a somewhat increased need for Advanced Engineers, but there is always a greater need for Project Engineers. Even when times are good, when industry is hiring many engineers, too much education can often be a disadvantage for a job seeker. The employer, seeking a Project Engineer, will often say when considering a person with an advanced degree, "This person has more education than my position requires. This candidate is likely to become dissatisfied with the job after I invest in training him to do it. It is better to hire someone with less education who will remain with my company indefinitely." I have seen this happen, and I have been a victim of it myself. Thus I encourage all to think carefully about their goals and their potential employment prospects when considering whether to go to graduate school or not. Let me tell one more personal experience to illustrate the difference between the Project Engineer and the Advanced Engineer. 5. Not quite 20 years ago, I was employed by a manufacturer of aerospace components. A dispute arose with the US Federal Aviation Authorities (FAA) regarding the design adequacy of a particular component in one of our products. The component was a push rod, bent into what is sometimes called a "dog-leg" configuration (a sort of Z-shape), and is operated in both tension and compression. The FAA inspector argued that the pushrod might fail by buckling, and our project engineer was unable to convince him otherwise. The problem came to me to justify our design. Now buckling is an instability phenomenon, and I saw immediately that because of the bent configuration of the rod, there was no possibility of instability but only further bending, and hence no possibility of buckling. This argument, however, did not persuade the FAA inspector. My only option, therefore, was to calculate the deflections of the pushrod when operated in compression. This is not a simple calculation, and no one in my company knew how to do it. I turned to the classic book on elastic instability of structures by the great Ukrainian engineer Stephen Timoshenko where I found a similar, slightly simpler, problem that I could use as a model. Following Timosheno's work, I made the calculations to show that there simply was no buckling potential, and that further the very most elementary deflection calculations gave an almost identical result. The FAA inspector was unable to respond. I mentioned this last personal experience in part to show (1) my role as the Advanced Engineer in support of the Project Engineer, (2) and also to show how, in this case, "engineering research" amounted largely to resorting to the literature for results almost 100 years old. Once again, it must be noted that this "research" produced no new results and was therefore not publishable, but it was worth a lot of money to my company. Well, if students are being misled by academia about the nature of actual engineering, what can they do about it? The answer is simple to describe, even though it may be more difficult to put into practice. The short answer is, "Look for actual engineering experience for yourself outside of academia." How is this accomplished? 1. One of the classic ways to gain real experience has always been to look for work opportunities during the summer or other school vacation period in actual industry. Now it is obvious that working as a sacker in a grocery store will not provide much useful experience for someone who aspires to be come a machine design engineer. But work in a factory, on an assembly line, or even just distributing parts to an assembly line, will provide much useful insight into the nature of engineering work, the work environment, the demands, the expectations, and the hazards. If if you cannot get engineering work as an undergraduate, there is valuable experience to be gained simply by working around engineers. 2. In the USA, many engineering colleges provide a work/study program called Cooperative Education (Co-Op for short) in which a student, usually beginning in the second year, goes to school for one term and then goes to work in some actual industrial environment for the next term, alternating this pattern until graduation. Many students spend all their Co-Op work terms with the same company, but others will sample several different companies. If a student does well during his work experiences, this often leads to a job offer at the end of his college education. By that time, the student understands what is expected of engineers in that particular company, and the company has a understanding of the value of that student as a permanent employee. If Co-Op is available at your school I strongly urge you to take advantage of it. 3. Look for part-time work while in school with some actual, industrial firm, where you can see and perhaps participate in actual engineering work. This is an additional burden to your school work, but the opportunity to see the connection between school work and engineering practice can be invaluable. (I had a student once who worked in a battery factory while he was taking my Theory of Machines course. He was seeing, and working with on an everyday basis, many of the exact mechanisms that we were studying in class. He got an extraordinarily good education out of the combination.) 4. The SAE (the organization formerly known as the Society of Automotive Engineers but now legally simply SAE) organizes and conducts many student design competitions for engineering students. A number of these are structured around the design and construction and eventually racing various types of small race cars. Although done within the academic context, this provides students with a real engineering experience. If your school has such a competition, I strongly urge you to be a part of it. If your school does not have such, then I urge you to ask the school to get involved with the SAE student design competitions. Let me close with one final story from my own experience, a story where I was simply an observer, not a participant at all. A company where I was employed hired two new graduate engineers, one from each of the two major engineering schools in my home state. One of the schools is known for being very practical and down to earth, while the other is known to be much more theoretical, more elegant, more research oriented. Each of these new employees was given a similar project to begin, the design of a small power transmission shaft. The graduate of the very down to earth engineering program got right to work, following steps he had learned in an undergraduate machine design class. He had an acceptable design in a matter of a few days. The graduate of the elegant, research oriented institution fumbled around for literally weeks, starting over time and again and essentially unsure how to proceed. He knew many of the things that needed to be considered, but he had no way to go about working through them systematically. It was very evident to me which one of these would make the better engineer. I urge all students therefore to keep their eyes clearly fixed on the goal of engineering (assuming that really is their goal) and not let research, publication, and advanced studies cloud their vision.  

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  1. Did you know that approximately 75% of the total manufacturing costs are already committed at the Conceptual Design phase? 

    Committed Manufacturing Costs by product design stage

    This means that product design optimisation during the conceptual design phase can optimise on 75% of the committed product manufacturing costs. If you start optimising after the end of the conceptual design phase then you can only optimise on the remaining 25% of the committed product manufacturing costs. Therefore the most effective and beneficial optimisation approach starts as early as possible within the product design process.
    Being able to predict product maximum variation using minimum and maximum worse case values  within the conceptual design phase, and to identify and fine tune the main contributors, will dramatically decrease the expected product costs as well as increase the overall product quality. Knowing the main contributors to the maximum product variation will also help you to use larger tolerances for low impact contributors which will decrease the product costs even further.

    Applying optimisation at the Product Conceptual Design Phase most likely will result in the following benefits for you:

    • Acceleration of product’s time-to-market
    • Reduction of associated costs for design changes
    • Increase of product quality and robustness
    • Analysis and correction of potential failures and associated risks as early as possible
    • Identify and assess risks during conceptual product design

    All the best,

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    Fatigue failures occur when a structural member is subjected to fluctuating stresses or strain due to the action of repeated loading of varying or constant magnitude for a period (time). Failure of the member will occur at a stress below it tensile strength. The mechanics of the failure will depend on whether the material is considered brittle (sudden fracture) or ductile (gradual fracture).

    Engineers undertake fatigue life calculations to design against fatigue failure, although absolute fatigue life is near impossible the fatique life calculated by available methods allows for very good prediction of fatique life that enables successful engineering design.

    There are three main method used to calculate fatique life. These methods are stress life method, strain life method and crack propagation method. An engineer must determine which method is best for the particular physical problem pose to the design at hand because each method has assumptions which must truly represent the physics of the project problem. In addition, design philosophies need to be taken into account, when choosing fatigue life calculation methods

    Stress life method or S-N method is used when the cycle of the stress acting on the structure is high (HCL) > 10^3 cycles and the fatique life is required in the elastic range of the material.

    Fatigue life can vary greatly for small changes in stress or strain levels therefore fatigue life calculation requires close attention to be paid to the stress and strain calculation process and the stress and strain magnitude obtained.

    Depending on the problem and material for which fatigue life is required, physical test or finite element analysis may be performed to determine the stress and strain level of the material. FEA is a mature technology and offers many benefit to engineering process hence it is commonly used alone or combined with testing (note that testing can be an expensive venture). Testing is sometimes used to validate FEA analysis result while FEA is used to reduce testing cost.  When there is reason to believe that either the FEA is correct by analytical method or from historical test result, testing should be ignored.

    After testing or FEA has been undertaken, the fatigue life is predicted base on S-N curve of the material in the stress – life approach.

    Note that fatigue failure is affected by stress concentration, corrosion, temperature, overload, metallurgical structure, residual stress and combined stress.




    A kinetic energy recovery system (often known simply as KERS) is an automotive system for recovering a moving vehicle's kinetic energy under braking. The recovered energy is stored in a reservoir (for example a flywheel or high voltage batteries) for later use under acceleration. Formula One has stated that they support responsible solutions to the world's environmental challenges, and the FIA allowed the use of 60 kW (82 PS; 80 bhp) KERS in the regulations for the 2009 Formula One seasonTeams began testing systems in 2008: energy can either be stored as mechanical energy (as in a flywheel) or as electrical energy (as in a battery or supercapacitor). Kimi Räikkönen took the lead of the 2009 Belgian Grand Prix with a KERS-aided overtake and subsequently won the race. With the introduction of KERS in the 2009 season, only four teams used it at some point in the season: Ferrari, Renault, BMW and McLaren. Eventually, during the season, Renault and BMW stopped using the system. Vodafone McLaren Mercedes became the first team to win a F1 GP using a KERS equipped car when Lewis Hamilton won the Hungarian Grand Prix on July 26, 2009. Their second KERS equipped car finished fifth. At the following race, Lewis Hamilton became the first driver to take pole position with a KERS car, his team mate, Heikki Kovalainen qualifying second. This was also the first instance of an all KERS front row. On August 30, 2009, Kimi Räikkönen won the Belgian Grand Prix with his KERS equipped Ferrari. It was the first time that KERS contributed directly to a race victory, with second placed Giancarlo Fisichella claiming "Actually, I was quicker than Kimi. He only took me because of KERS at the beginning"



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    Free vibrations :


    •  Free vibration takes place when a system oscillates under the action of forces inherent in the system itself due to initial disturbance, and when the externally applied forces are absent.
    •  The system under free vibration will vibrate at one or more of its natural frequencies, which areproperties of the dynamical system, established by its mass and stiffness distribution.



    Forced vibrations :


    • The vibration that takes place under the excitation of external forces is called forced vibration.
    • If excitation is harmonic, the system is forced to vibrate at excitation frequency . If the frequency of excitation coincide with one of the natural frequencies of the system, a condition of resonance is encountered and dangerously large oscillations may result, which results in failure of major structures, i.e., bridges, buildings, or airplane wings etc.
    • Thus calculation of natural frequencies is of major importance in the study of vibrations.
    • Because of friction & other resistances vibrating systems are subjected to damping to some degree due to dissipation of energy.
    • Damping has very little effect on natural frequency of the system, and hence the calculations for natural frequencies are generally made on the basis of no damping.
    • Damping is of great importance in limiting the amplitude of oscillation at resonance.
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    •  This is a concise information about a project undertaken by me when I was  doing my engineering course. Working with this project helped me a lot in shaping my career and choosing my way to the future. Hope my mechanical friends will enjoy. (More stuff willl be added based on the response from my "mechanical" viewers 


    India is an  agricultural economy.About  1/3 of the population heavily depends on agricultural and allied industries for their daily bread.Also it constitutes about 14 % of the nations GDP. But recently Agriculture in India is facing a decline, reason being, inefficient farming methods and labor scarcity.

    Paddy fields in Kuttanad, (Kerala) are unique because it's one of only two places in the world where agriculture is done below sea level. About 55,000 hectares, reclaimed from the surrounding backwaters for paddy cultivation along with an outer bund are made into a cluster of fields called polders.

    Broadcasting of pre-germinated seeds is the common practice of sowing where farmers walk around the field and toss the paddy seeds on to the field.

    One of the major drawbacks of this technique is that since the crop and weeds germinate together and the weeds compete with the paddy for the available water, nutrients, space and light become a biological constraint to the paddy growth. In addition, to maintain the plant population farmers go for higher seeding rates and end up using twice the amount of seeds than required. Thus there is a loss of about 30 kilograms of seeds per acre. All these result in an increased cost of cultivation. Also, by broadcasting method, proper spacing (20 centimeters side-by-side and 10 centimeters row-to-row) between the seeds cannot be obtained and this results in reduced yield.

    The rough tossing up of seeds in the Broadcasting method means that there has to be a Transplanting process, which usually takes 2-3 days and which is a very labor intensive and physically demanding process. The laborers (usually women) have to bend down to pull out the healthy saplings from the ground and then bend down again in the muddy field to replant them with the correct spacing between each paddy. Financial losses due to inefficient process, reduced yield, labor shortage etc. are discouraging people to take up farming.Thus, the agriculture industry is facing a major decline in Kerala.

    The solution is to design a sowing device suitable for the soft Kuttanadu fields, and thus a device which could be used in any part of the world, to solve the problem of labour shortages as well as inefficient farming procedures cost effectively compared to existing alternatives. Thus we came up with NIRVAPANA

    The patenting process for the project is pending and is expected to complete soon. The benefit of this idea is that now, the work done by the farmer is tremendously reduced, all he has to do is control the craft through remote and make sure that the device is moving in straight lines, and just ensuring that the farming happens in the required manner. The manufacturing is done by traditional fabrication techniques.In the future we are planning to integrate a line following robot system into our design to make this semi autonomous design completely automatic.



    The Design and Working

    The design included two parts.

    1) The Hovercraft

    2)The Drum seeder

     A hovercraft is a vehicle that  hovers just above the ground, or over snow or water, by a cushion of air. Also known as air cushion vehicle, it is a craft capable of travelling over land, water or ice and other surfaces both at speed, and when stationary. It operates by creating a cushion of high pressure air between the hull of the vessel and the surface below. Typically this cushion is contained between a flexible skirt. Hovercrafts are hybrid vessels operated by a pilot as an aircraft rather than a captain as a marine vessel. They typically hover at heights between 200mm and 600mm above any surface and can operate at speeds above 37km per hour. They can clean gradient up to 
    20 degree. Locations which are not easily accessible by landed vehicles due to natural phenomena are best suited for hovercrafts.  

    The principle

    The hovercraft floats above the ground surface on a cushion of air supplied by  the lift fan. The air cushion makes the hovercraft essentially frictionless. Air is blown  into the skirt through a hole by the blower .The skirt inflates and the increasing air pressure acts on the base of the hull thereby pushing up (lifting) the unit. Small holes made underneath the skirt prevent it from bursting and provide the cushion of air needed. A little effort on the hovercraft propels it in  the direction of the push. 


    As soon as the assembly floats, a blower incorporated in the thrust engine blows air backwards which provides an equal reaction that causes the vehicle to move forward. Little power is needed as the air cushion has drastically reduced friction. Steering effect is achieved by mounting rudders in the airflow from the blower or propeller. A change in direction of the rudders changes the direction of air flow thereby resulting in a change in direction of the vehicle. This is achieved by connecting wire cables and pulleys to a handle. When the handle is pushed it changes the direction of the rudders. 

    As discussed above,The hovercraft works on air cushion.In the present prototype, air cushion is provided through an electric blower (16000 rpm) blower which pumps air into the skirt thereby inflating the bag skirt. The air pressure thus raises the craft up above the ground. The vehicle has two engines; the rear and the front. A stator fan is attached to the front or lift engine which directs air into the skirt to provide air pressure needed to lift the craft. The propeller attached to the rear or thrust engine develops the thrust needed to propel the craft. The propeller is enclosed by  the thrust duct which makes it possible to direct the air. The duct is bell-shaped such that it 
    increases the velocity of air escaping the duct. The polyester skirt is PVC coated which gives it more strength to sustain the air pressure. It is made air tight. The hull is a platform which sustains the entire weight of the craft. A hole is made on the hull through which air enters the skirt. 
    After successfully fabricating the hovercraft and testing it on level grounds the next step was to incorporate a drum seeder into the system.A drum seeder is a manual sowing device consisting of a cylindrical drum attached to a central shaft having wheels attached to both sides of the shaft. It was developed with a ease the way of manual labour of sowing using traditional methods but had several demerits compared to what was trying to achieve.In this design ,the idea is to obtain the sowing with the help of rotating drums which have the required slots in the right spacing on its surface, so that the seeds will fall to the field under the force of gravity.

     For seeding by a drum seeder, the seeds are soaked in water for 24 hours followed by incubation in gunny bags and straw for 24-48 hours depending upon the weather temperature. The germination length of seeds should not be more than 1-2 mm to avoid any mechanical injury of pregerminated seeds and also to ensure free flow of seeds in the drum seeder. The pregerminated free flowing clean paddy seeds are filled upto 50 percent depth in each seed box by opening the hinge cover. Then the covers are closed



    The machine is pulled by one farmer on well leveled puddled field after draining the standing water because standing water more than one cm depth disturbs the seeds sown in straight lines. The pregerminated paddy seeds are sown with the help of drum seeder  in well leveled puddled field after draining the standing water. If there is more water than 1 cm then seed will float. Therefore, if there is more standing water in the  fields it is better to leave the fields for 1-2 days for settling of puddled soil. Covering the seeds below wet soil surface is not desirable as anaerobic condition gives less germination percent. The posture required is a standing posture throughout the 
    seeding of pregerminated paddy seeds carried out in the fields.  

    Ares where improvements can be made from existing device: 

    • The seeder has to be pulled at uniform speed though the muddy paddy field to get the correct spacing, which is impossible. 
    • The seeder tends to sink in the mud when fully loaded with seeds. And pulling it through the muddy field requires a lot of energy. 
    • Footprints of  the operator (seeder) were left on the field, in which seeds could end up and result in decay. 
    • The transplanting device was heavy and will sink in the muddy field 
    • The process of transplanting was unnecessary and time consuming 

    In the paddy fields of Kuttanad, which is one of the only two places in the world where agriculture is done below sea level, the soil condition is very soft and the sinkage is very high. The farmers who do the broadcasting sowing now, when they step into the field, they sink into the mud till their knee. Moving through this soft soil is very difficult even for a single farmer, thus pulling or pushing a device through the field is even hectic and hard task. This is the reason why we thought of using a hovercraft to carry the farming mechanism over the field, so that the hovercraft can hover over the ground easily and a remote control to control the farming mechanism means that the 
    farmer does not even have to step into the field. He can just stay at the side of the field, on the boundary and control the hovercraft and the  farming mechanism through the remote.  
    The benefit of this hovercraft idea is that now, the work done by the farmer is tremendously reduced, all he has to do is control the craft through the remote and make sure that the device is moving in straight lines, and just ensuring that the farming happens in the required manner. This means that the energy expended by the farmer is greatly reduced and thereby the area that can be covered by the farmer in a single day is far more than that can be covered in the conventional method. This is because the farmer needs to take no or very few breaks as he is not required to do any work than controlling the device. 

    Testing and Results

    Testing was conducted by filling the seed container with half its capacity. The  device was made to move a distance of 5 meters on a level floor to simulate the seeding process. The device has to move precisely straight so that the correct spacing is achieved  between seeds. During testing, the  device tend  to move side ward (towards left). This was due to the slight inclination of the thrust fan duct, which was inclined. This inclination was removed and tested again, which gave positive results. When the seed drum was rotated by the synchronous motor, which get activated by the forward motion of the hovercraft,  seeds were discharged on to the ground with  approximately the required spacing. A uniform motion was achieved, and the sowing was able to be done in  straight line of 10 meters in less than 2 minutes.,with right spacing in between.

    A comparison of time saved; Traditional method Vs HVSD

    Conducted a survey that covered the target area. Accordingly the process of traditional farming followed here includes two steps. Firstly the process of broadcasting or sowing of pregerminated seeds which by experience will take about 24 manhours of work to cover one hectare of the field.The second step ; transplantation is done after 18- 20 days ., which takes about 320 manhours/hectare. So the complete process takes about 344 manhours/hectare. On the contrary,the final prototype is estimated to take a meagre 40 manhours/hectare to complete the same task more effectively under ideal conditions.To add, the people of the area has 24x7 access to stable power supply of 240 V.

    Will keep you updated more on the project as and when possible. Post your comments and queries below..and likes too:);) Thanks in advance for your supports.




    Kindly support this initiative by voting and sharing our entry in TechBriefs.
    For More Infomation and to vote
  5. Is there any process to make helical gear by horizontal milling machine by use of involute gear cutter. I know for this process there are not such finishing but I want to do maximum possible machining by involute gear cutter. What is the setup required of dividing head spindle and any other for tapering tooth space?

  6. 350px-Auklet_flock_Shumagins_1986.thumb.

    Though it has been more than a year for me to research in the optimization techniques, and everytime there is a new concept coming over in this field, it every single time puzzles me into finding the best method to find the best values after the global or local search.

    For readers who are intersested in research work can explore this field more and come up with great ideas which are sometimes from nature itself!

    So here is a brief overview of a common and recent optimization technique- SWARM PARTICLE OPTIMISATION:




    Soft computing techniques is nothing but a collection of computational techniques in science and engineering disciplines, which attempt to analyze very complex phenomena, for which conventional computational methods may not be suitable.


    Soft computing undertake different approach compared to hard(conventional) computing in that, unlike hard computing, it has tolerance for imprecision, uncertainty, partial truth and approximation. The architectural model of soft computing is generally based on physiological phenomena, biological processes and also social and behavioural theories of human and living creatures. The principle of soft computing is the arrangement of the computation for exploitation of the tolerance of the imprecision, uncertainty approximation for achieving robustness and low cost.

    Soft computing does the role of identifying sharing in different agents those are able to combine distinct processes to tackle the problems in their related domains. Moreover the soft computing can be looked at as the initiation of the emerging field of concept based intelligence.




    Artificial Neural Network (ANN)

    Fuzzy Logic

    Evolutionary Computation

    Artificial Intelligence

    Machine Learning




    The optimisation techniques achieve global optima with the help of local as well as global searches. Local search algorithms may converge in a few attempts but may not use knowledge of a global perspective of problem landscape. The combinations of global and local searching algorithms made intelligently for exploiting the advantages of both types by dropping the disadvantages.

    For building such competent algorithms in solving hard problems quickly, reliably and accurately one of the possibility is hybridization of algorithms..





    PSO is inspired by social cognition and behavior of bird flocking as well as fish schooling. In nature there is synergetic social behavior and cooperative intelligence present in forming the phenomenon like schooling of fish, flocking of bird and herding of animal. Even though having restricted capability of individual the difficult goal is achieved with the help of teamwork and information fusion. The individual performance is based on information sharing among many members and the information sharing among many members and the environment around. The easy behavioural interaction among individual leads the whole population towards global goal. So, accomplishing a goal by collective efforts and experience sharing among individuals nothing but swarm intelligence.


    The optimization mechanism contains personal or local best, global best, position or displacement and velocity with respect to particles. The memory is utilized in keeping information of position, velocity, and the best position found in search space of the particles in current iteration. Also, every particle remembers its earlier velocity and earlier best position for applying these in its movements.


    This post is meant to just give an overview of optimization technique. It will appreciable to hear fron the researchers in this field and also the interested readers who would be eager to exploit this area in their research work.



    Five stroke engine gives an option of a much more fuel efficient engine

    Engine capacity 700cc (turbocharged)
    Peak power 130 bhp @ 7000 rpm
    Peak torque 166 Nm @ 5000 rpm
    Fuel consumption of only 226 g/kWh

    for more info visit;postID=7749471607111123754;onPublishedMenu=allposts;onClosedMenu=allposts;postNum=0;src=postname




    safety valve.JPG


    alloy wheel.JPG


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    Why are the perpetual machines not possible??????????


    Rotary-Turbo-InFlow Tech

    Atypical InFlow Thermodynamic

    Technology Proposal Submission

    Novel Fueled Motor Engine Type

    Gearturbine Imagens Gallery at Behance:

    *State of the art Innovative concept Top system Higher efficient percent.*Power by bar, for Air-Planes, Sea-Boats, Land-Transport & Dynamic Power-Plant Generation.

    -Have similar system of the Aeolipile Heron Steam device from Alexandria 10-70 AD. -New Form-Function Motor-Engine Device. Next Step, Epic Design Change, Broken-Seal Revelation. -Desirable Power-Plant Innovation.

    YouTube; * Atypical New • GEARTURBINE / Retrodynamic = DextroRPM VS LevoInFlow + Ying Yang Thrust Way Type - Non Waste Looses

    -This innovative concept consists of hull and core where are held all 8 Steps of the work-flow which make the concept functional. The core has several gears and turbines which are responsible for these 8 steps (5 of them are dedicated to the turbo stages). The first step is fuel compression, followed by 2 cold turbo levels. The fourth step is where the fuel starts burning – combustion stage, which creates thrust for the next, 5th step – thrust step, which provides power to the planetary gears and turbines and moves the system. This step is followed by two hot turbo steps and the circle is enclosed by the final 8th step – bigger turbine. All this motion in a retrodynamic circumstance effect, wich is plus higher RPM speed by self motion. The Reaction at front of the action.

    *8-X/Y Thermodynamic CYCLE - Way Steps:

    1)1-Compression / bigger

    2)2-Turbo 1 cold

    3)2-Turbo 2 cold

    4)2-Combustion - circular motion flames / opposites

    5)2-Thrust - single turbo & planetary gears / ying yang

    6)2-Turbo 2 hot

    7)2-Turbo 1 hot

    8)1-Turbine / bigger

    -With Retrodynamic Dextrogiro vs Levogiro Phenomenon Effect. / Rotor-RPM VS InFlow / front to front; "Collision-Interaction Type" - inflow vs blades-gear-move. Technical unique dynamic innovative motion mode. [Retrodynamic Reaction = When the inflow have more velocity the rotor have more RPM Acceleration, with high (XY Position) Momentum] Which the internal flow (and rotor) duplicate its speed, when activated being in a rotor (and inflow) with [inverse] opposite Turns. The Reaction at front of the action. A very strong Novel torque power concept.

    -Non waste parasitic looses for; friction, cooling, lubrication & combustion.

    -Shape-Mass + Rotary-Motion = Inertia-Dynamic / Form-Function Wide [Flat] Cylindrical shape + positive dynamic rotary mass = continue Inertia positive tendency motion. Kinetic Rotating Mass. Tendency of matter to continue to move. Like a Free-Wheel.

    -Combustion 2Two continue circular [Rockets] flames. [ying yang] opposite one to the other. – With 2TWO very long distance INFLOW [inside propulsion] CONDUITS. -4 TURBOS Rotary Total Thrust-Power Regeneration Power System. -Mechanical direct 2two [small] Planetary Gears at polar position. -Like the Ying Yang Symbol/Concept.

    -The Mechanical Gear Power Thrust Point Wide out the Rotor circumference were have much more lever [HIGH Torque] POWER THRUST. -No blade erosion by sand & very low heat target signature profile. -3 points of power thrust; 1-flow way, 2-gear, 3-turbine. *Patent; Dic. 1991 IMPI Mexico #197187 All Rights Reserved. Carlos Barrera.


    ·2-Imploturbocompressor; One Moving Part System Excellence Design - The InFlow Interaction comes from Macro-Flow and goes to Micro-Flow by Implossion - Only One Compression Step; Inflow, Compression and outflow at one simple circular dynamic motion Concept.

    Imploturbocompressor Imagens Gallery at Behance:

    *·“Excellence in Design" because is only one moving part. Only one unique compression step. Inflow and out flow at the same one system, This invention by its nature a logic and simple conception in the dynamics flow mechanics area. The invention is a wing made of one piece in a rotating motion, contained in a pair cavity system connected by implocavity, and interacting dynamically with a flow, that passes internally "Imploded" through its simple mechanism. This flow can be gas (air) or liquid (water). And have two different applications, in two different form-function; this one can be received (using the dynamic flow passage, as a receiver). Or it can be generated (with a power plant, generating a propulsion).

    An example cut be, as a Bike needs a chain to work from motor to wheel. And for the Imploturbocompressor application, cut be as; in a circumstance at the engine, as an A-activate flow, and with a a tube flow conduit going to the wheel as a B-receiving-flow the work use.

    To see a Imploturbocompressor animation, is posible on a simple way, just to check the Hurricane Satellite view, and is the same implo inflow way nature.

    And when the flow that is received and that is intended to be used at best, must no necessarily by a exhausting or rejection gas, but must be a dynamic passing gas or liquid flow with the only intention to count it or to measure it. This could be possible at the passing and interacting period when it passes inside its simple mechanism. This can be in any point of the work flow trajectory.

    In case the flow that is received is a water falling by gravity, and a dynamo is placed on the rotary bar, the Imploturbocompressor can profit an be obtained by generating? electricity such as obtained by the pelton well, like I say before. The "Imploturbocompressor", is a good option to pump water, or a gas flow, and all kinds of pipes lines dynamic moves.

    Or only receive the air-liquid flow, in order to measure its passage with a counter placed on the bar, because when this flow passes through the simple mechanism of a rotating wing made of only one piece it interacts within the implocavities system. And this flow can be air wind, with the difference of can have an horizontal work position, and that particle technical circumstances make an easy way for urban building work new use application, and have wind flow from all the sides 180 grades view. The aforementioned information about this invention refers to technical applications, such as a dynamic flow receiver. (whether being gas or liquid).

    With the appropriate power plant and the appropriate dimensioning and number of RPM this invention is also feasible to generate an atmospheric air propulsion and the auto-propulsion of an aircraft. Being an effective and very simple system that implodes and compresses the atmospheric air permits the creation of a new concept of propulsion for aircrafts, due to its simple mechanism and innovative nature. At the place of the aircraft were the system appears and the manner how the propulsion direction can be oriented with a vectorial flow (no lobster tail) with I call "yo-yo system" (middle cut (at the shell) to move, one side loose), guided and balanced is feasible to create a new concept of TOVL-vertical take-off landing, Because the exhaust propulsion can going out radial in all the 360 vectorial positions, going out direct all the time in all the vectors direction. With his rotor cover for an better furtive fly, like going down of a bridge for example.

    Likewise, with the due form and dimensioning, and considering the liquid density and the due revolutions for this element there could be generated a propulsion (water) in order to move an aquatic ship, whether on surface or under water. Also can be a good option to pump liquid combustion for a rocket propulsion.

    Making a metaphoric comparison with the intention to expose it more clearly for a better comprehension of this innovative technical detail, it would be similar to the trajectory and motion of a dynamic flow compared with a rope (extended) that passes through the system would have now a knot (without obstructing the flow), so the complete way of the flow at the imploturbocompresor system have three direct ways and between make two different turns; direct way (entrance) - turn - direct way (implocavity) - turn - direct way (exit), all this in a 1 simple circular move system concept.

    Its prudent to mention that the curves and the inclinations of the blades of a rotating wing made of this invention, is conferred by its shape and function a structural rigidity allowing it to conduct and alter appropriately the dynamic flow passing through its system.8364


    Source: State of the Art - Novel InFlow Tech - Featured Project Development; 1-Gearturbine, 2-Imploturbocompressor

  10. In today’s world, organizations must keep pace with ever increasing changes. The complexity of the business requires numerous functions in order to be competitive. A brief description of common business functional responsibilities include the following:

    Human Resources

    The human resources (HR) department is responsible for an analysis of the needs and training of the workforce, employee turnover analysis, absenteeism analysis, and attitude surveys. In addition, the HR department may recruit, select, and hire people for the organization.


    As a support service, production engineering is the problem solving arm of the company. The engineering department should be proactive (always searching) in their problem solving activities. The planning of new equipment or processes is a must for this department.

    Sales and Marketing

    It is up to sales and marketing to develop effective plans to identify customers and markets for the company’s current products and services, and to identify wants and needs for new products. They should work with engineering in order to pass along customer ideas or desires. The development of a marketing plan helps guide the production plan.


    The financial department, in many plants, includes the accounting department. The accounting function compiles monthly statements and the profit or loss statements for the company. A standard cost system should be in place so that data can be collected and based against it. Budget forecasts, capital project requests, and external funding can also be coordinated by the finance department.

    Product Liability

    In the manufacture of certain products, there are numerous legal ramifications. The theories based upon breach of warranty have a statutory basis in the Uniform Commercial Code. Product safety requirements and labeling laws not only protect the consumer, but also should reduce the liability risk to the company.


    The manufacturing activity is associated with companies manufacturing a product or products. Manufacturing takes designs from engineering, schedules from planning and assembles, and tests the company products. For a service organization, this function is replaced by the personnel performing the service.

    Safety and Health

    The safety and health department aids the company in complying with local, state, federal, and industry regulations. The best known safety agencies include OSHA, state safety agencies, NFPA, etc. These agencies impact the establishment of a safety program, safety committee, and special safety task forces for the company.

    Legal and Regulatory

    A legal department (or attorneys on retainer) may be necessary to handle legal matters, especially in the very litigious society of today. A review of purchase agreements, land contracts, leases, right-of-ways, tax abatements, economic impact grants, etc. are examples.

    Research and Development (R&D)

    Research and development activities are critical for the future of the company. The customer is satisfied for a certain time span with the existing product or service, but eventually the customer will want a new and improved product. lnteraction with the marketing function and customer is needed to generate new ideas and products.

    Click here to read more

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    why pressure cooker cooks fast?

    The pressure of steam increases water temperature, when temperature of water is higher than its boiling point (100oC), it can help to cook faster.

    pressure inside pressure cooker is directly proportional to water temperature

    P ∝ T , as P increases T increases.

    Average pressure inside a household pressure cooker can be 15 pounds per square inch.

    Average Temperature inside will be 121oC (250oF).

    1 pound per square inch = 0.0689475729 bar

    15 pounds per square inch = 1.03421 bar

    How a pressure cooker works?

    By steam + Pressure.

    normal boiling point of water =100oC = 373k

    In pressure cooker,

    1. The water is filled less than 2-3rd of the container's capacity.

    2. Subjected to heat.

    3. Steam is produced.

    4. Enough pressure shuts safety spring loaded valve.

    5. Pressure increases and acts on ingredients inside.

    6. Pressure acts uniformly.

    7. Temperature of water raises above 110-120oC

    8. Increase in Temperature = Decrease in Cooking Time.

    9. When pressure is high, weight is lifted.

    10. Steam is sent out.

    11. Food is cooked in less time.


    1679, the pressure cooker was created by Denis Papin, French Physicist and Mathematician.

    1680, He made safety valve.

  11. Is there any process to make bevel gear by horizontal milling mc to use of involute gear cutter. I know for this process there are not such finishing as formed gear cutter but I want to try maximum possible machining by involute gear cutter. What is the setup of dividing head spindle any other small setup is required for tapering tooth space?

  12. Why the gas cylinders and the deo botteles are cooler than the normal room temp?

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    Hi all ...I am looking to make a wind turbine ..This is a model of a blade pitching mechanism ...can anyone suggest how to design it ??

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    Good Day, Everyone...

    I would like to emphasize the importance of sketching your ideas. Sketches go along way in helping you pass your thoughts onto others. It does help you organize your thinking, and capture thoughts for review at a later date. Sometimes the incubation drives your design sketch in other directions.

    See attached for some more guidance.

    The Importance of sketching out your ideas.pdf


  13. blog-0656814001422714208.jpg

    how would to design a film fill media for a cooling tower whose following data is known uptil this moment:

    1. inlet and outlet temperatures.

    2. dry and wet bulb temperatures of area of operation.

    3. mass flow rates of air and water.

    P.S cooling tower is cross flow mechanical induced CT.

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    The robot is designed to have six degrees of freedom movement. These robots find application in manufacturing, material handling, palletizing sectors of the industry. In industries, where corrosive or biohazard materials are to handled, direct human interface is not advisable. These robots can resolve such problems. The size and capacity of the robot can be increased as per the need. Force sensors (load cells) are attached at the end effectors of the robotic arm to handle sensitive objects

  14. What/Where to Study


    I do not have the definite statistics available, but it appears to me that the majority of the readership of ME Forums is made up of students, with a much smaller number of readers at other points in their careers. By far the greatest part of these students appear to be in India, with a number in Southeast Asia and the Middle East; there are of course a few folks scattered all over the globe. It has been very interesting to me to learn about all of you, to gain an insight into your interests and concerns. I have been very surprised by a few of the things I've learned. There are two themes that stand out in my mind:

    (1) there is much uncertainty about what to study, that is, what to choose for a major,
    (2) where to study.

    I want to offer a few comments on both of those topics in this post. Please understand that these are simply opinions, not necessarily facts. They are based upon what I think I see in the readership and in the way the world is going at large.

    What to Study

    Most of you are here because you have some interest in mechanical engineering. But quite a few express uncertainty about that interest. There are questions such as, "Should I switch to EE?" or "Would it be better to major in computer science?" These questions are often connected with questions and concerns about the future job market for whatever area one does choose to major in. So what can we say about such things?

    It appears to me that the world economy is shifting considerably in favor of China and India. I do not think that the United States will disappear in the world economy by any means, but I do think these other two are going to become major rivals. If that is correct, the expanding economies of China and India will have a huge need for engineers and other technical people of all sorts in the years to come. It appears to me that the economies of both China and India are rapidly developing industrial economies, economies based on industrial production of goods. This would be much like the economy of the United States during the period from 1900 to about 1975. Sadly, the United States has entered a post-industrial era, also called a service economy. This does not mean that there is no industry in the US today, but it does mean that the bigger part of the economy is now based on paper shuffling, such things as banking, insurance, litigation, and fast food. The best automobiles produced in the United States today are those produced by Japanese companies such as Toyota and Honda. The machine tool industry, which was once a thriving business sector, is almost completely dead today in the US, because it has gone overseas. Almost all electronics production has moved to Southeast Asia. The production of textiles left the United States almost 100 years ago. The United States continues to have a very large agricultural industry, but that industry employs fewer people every year to produce even greater food yields. The point I hope to make here is simply that, many of you are right where you need to be to ride the crest of the rising wave of a developing industrial economy.

    Many people looking at the future think very much in terms of electronic devices doing essentially everything. But I doubt that the day will ever come when we will do such things as plant crops entirely by electronics. We may use computer programs to anticipate when to plant a crop, perhaps to determine the most economically advantageous mix of crops, to help us choose fertilizers and pesticides to maximize the yield, but putting the seed in the ground and harvesting the crop will always be mechanical functions. This is simply one example but I think there are many others similar to it. There is a great future in electronics, but there is still a great future in mechanical devices as well. A growing industrial economy needs both of these and many other things as well.

    Many of you seem to be concerned about the job market in the future. Will I be able to find a job as a mechanical engineer? Should I switch to computer engineering because there will be more jobs for computer engineers than there will be for mechanical engineers? These are questions that no one can really answer with full knowledge, but I can tell you a little bit. If you are really good at what you do, whether it be mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, chemical engineering, architectural engineering, etc., you will always be able to find employment. Many people look at salary surveys and say to themselves, "oh my, this year such and such a group of engineers are receiving higher salary offers that any of the others." Well, so what? When you pause to think about it, some group must always receive the highest offers, and some other group must always receive the lowest offers. That much is a mathematical certainty, but it doesn't really tell us very much.

    I should add right here that if your intention is to acquire great wealth, then you should probably get out of engineering and go into business, law, or banking. That's where the big money is. Stay in engineering only if your interest is in doing something useful and meaningful with your life while earning a comfortable living. You're not likely to get rich, but I have never seen a starving engineer.

    The other side of the job market concern is about the availability of jobs. We read various publications that say that X number of engineers were hired recently by Y Corporation. Depending on whether X is a large number or a small number, we think that the job market is good or that it is bad. But I would remind everyone of you that you only need, indeed can only handle, one job at a time. As long as you have a good job, one that provide satisfaction and a reasonable standard of living, there is little more you can ask for. Whether there are job advertisements for 1000 engineers or only for a few really makes no difference at all if you have a good job.

    So how do you decide what to study? The answer is really rather simple. Within broad limits, you study whatever interests you. If civil engineering is really what interests you, then by all means you should study civil engineering. There will always be jobs for civil engineers. If those imaginary little things called electrons fascinate you, then you should most certainly study electrical engineering (I always enjoy teasing EEs about working with things that are not really there. I ask them how many electrons they have actually seen. I can show them a gear, a shaft, or a cam, but can they show me an electron?) There is a great future for electrical engineers. If you enjoy seeing how things move, how work gets done, how machines can make life easier for all mankind, then you should certainly become a mechanical engineer. We will always need mechanical engineers.

    But there's more to this matter of "study what interests you" than simply amusing yourself. To be assured of a job, a good job, you have to be really good at your profession. There is one way, and only one way, to become really good. That is work, work, work, and then when you think you're through, work some more. During your student days, it is important that you learn everything you possibly can. You cannot possibly put in the required level of effort for the long haul if you are not studying the topic that interests you most. If you don’t know what that topic is, then you should drop out of school and only return when you have the necessary sense of direction.

    Do not ask, "why do I have to learn this?" If it is presented to you as necessary course work, your response should be to dig in and learn every bit of it as thoroughly as you possibly can. You may have no idea why you need to know about this particular subject matter, but you can be pretty well assured that it would not be in the curriculum if your faculty did not think it was important. To be sure, there are a few topics that you will study and not see again for many years, but at this point in your life there is absolutely no way to predict which of those topics fall into that category. In my own case, I really did not particularly enjoy learning crystallography in the study of materials. As things have turned out, I have never needed any of that information about crystallography. But I had no way to know that when it was presented in my materials class, and in your case, crystallography may prove to be very important. During our days as students, we simply are in no position to make informed judgments about what we will need to know and what we will not need to know. For that reason, you should strive to learn everything you possibly can, in order to be the best, most versatile, most complete engineer you possibly can when you graduate. So I say again, "study what interests you" and look forward to a great future.

    Where to Study

    It has come as a considerable surprise to me to see the number of students who want to leave their home country to study. Many express a desire to come to the USA, or to Europe, for study. Let me deal with undergraduate and graduate study separately.

    For undergraduate study, I would strongly advise everyone to stay pretty close to home. It will usually cost less money, and it will be easier in the sense that the language, customs, and overall environment will be much more familiar. To travel to a foreign land as an undergraduate can be a pretty daunting experience, one that in too many cases results in isolation, difficulty fitting into the new environment, and educational failure. None of these are good outcomes, and most can be avoided by staying pretty close to home.

    In terms of quality of education, it appears to me that the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) are all pretty good. I have never visited one of their campuses, but I have looked at a number of videos made by IIT faculty on various engineering topics. The material covered seems to be about typical of what I would expect to see in the US. I have three principal criticisms of the IIT engineering education:

    (1) The material presented seems to me to be a bit dated, that is, old-fashioned. There is continued emphasis on graphical methods of solution, to the detriment of computer numerical solution techniques. This is unfortunate.

    (2) The faculty leave me with the impression that most of them are simply scholars, but very few seem to be real, practicing engineers. This comes across in the choice of example problems, in their approach to problems, and their emphasis.

    (3) The faculty are, quite naturally, almost entirely native Indian nationals. This is what we would expect. But since they are teaching in English (at least all the ones I have seen), their own limited ability in English is transferred to the students. The students really need better models, so that they hear and learn from their teachers more correct English. I will say more about this in another post.

    Now there may be many of you who will be quick to disagree with me, and I cannot really argue with you. I certainly have a very small sample of Indian education, but I can only tell you what I think I see.

    If you were to come to the US for undergraduate study, you might be surprised to find your situation not a whole lot better. In the US, many if not most of the undergraduate courses are taught, not by regular faculty, but by Teaching Assistants (TA s). These TA s are graduate students, many from India, the Middle East, Africa, China, and Japan. The choice of material and solution methods may be a bit more up to date, but none of these TA s is a practicing engineer, and they all have linguistic limitations as well.

    In short then, I urge everyone to stay relatively close to home for undergraduate study. It just make sense, I think.

    For graduate study, it is a different situation. By the time you are ready for graduate school, you should be (1) considerably more mature personally, (2) more confident in your own abilities, and (3) much more ready to deal with a new cultural environment. Some problems will remain, and may be major. If you go to Germany for example, but do not know German, there will be a major language difficulty (I could not study in Germany; I know only a few, very limited, phrases in German.) If you were to come to the USA, the language would be English which you already know to some extent, but it would probably be somewhat new even so. American English is different from British English in some subtle ways, and the spoken language may be difficult for you even though you can read it well.

    Sadly, in most American universities, you will find a huge emphasis on modern research ideas, and relatively little emphasis on actual engineering practice. The faculty are judged and rewarded for their research and the money that their research brings in, so naturally, that is what they tend to emphasize to their students. The world does not need countless “research engineers.” It does need a large number of highly skilled, well educated practicing engineers. But this is not where the money is for the schools, so this is not what they do.

    In American universities, essentially all graduate courses are taught by regular faculty, so you would encounter the best faculty the school has to offer. You could expect to hear proper American English in the classroom all the time. You would still encounter only a relative few faculty that are actual practicing engineers (this conflicts with “research” which is where the money is).

    It appears to me that a great many students come to the US to study, particularly with the hope that a student visa can be turned into a permanent visa and perhaps even eventual citizenship. Do not do this! Plan to make your home, in the long term, in your native country. The US does not need more foreign born engineers; it has plenty of native born engineers. Conversely, most of your countries have a great need for excellent engineers, people who can contribute to the economic and social development of your country. The very best people to do that are the ones born there. You can do that far better than I could. If I were to go to India, for example, I might be able to help some, but not nearly as much as you can. I would not know the customs and the culture, the languages, or the history like you do. Whether you do graduate school at home or abroad, plan to return home for the long term. That is where you can do the most good for mankind.


    To sum up then, I recommend undergraduate work near your home. Graduate work may continue there, or abroad, but your goal should be to return to your home to make your career there. Be sure to study the topic that really interests you, and pay little or no attention to employment or salary surveys. You only want one job, and it will be there for you if you are really well prepared.

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    guys, I am doing analysis on a cantilever rod (containing point load). The point load varies with time.

    ie, the load is applied for about 60 seconds. And then no load is applied for about 3 minutes. This cycle continues. I have to do the fatigue analysis and harmonic analysis in ANSYS. How do i do it?

    What will be the frequency range to do harmonic analysis for the above data.

  15. Hello Engineers,

    I have Planned to refresh your knowledge in selection of the commercial parts,

    Like Bearings, Ball screws, Linear Guides, servo motor, ac Motors. Hydraulic and pneumatic_ All file I will be uploaded is my personal notes,

    time to time I will upload files to avoide your confusion

    Today I would like to add file for bearing selection which is simple things some parts is written in marathi.

    you may add me in your linked to get recent updated files or may get my hepl directly into your mail box

    please feel free to caoncat me for design calculation and selection process.

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