When I was a schoolgirl, I found myself intrigued with how and why things work the way they do. Now, having studied Mechanical Engineering for three and half years and having a little research experience, I am convinced that improvement of our understanding of the how and why would influence the way we lead our lives in a major way.
During the last three and half years, I spent most of time carrying out experimental studies and in attending lectures and seminars. My favorite lectures were on Multi-functional and adaptive materials and Green Fuel and Clean Energy Technologies. Of great interest to me was also the inter-institutional seminar on sustainable and green manufacturing strategies.
Many researchers and engineers had participated and told us about their current research and its application to day-to-day life. All these significantly improved my understanding of the subject and further enhanced my interest in it. I found mechanical behaviour of materials to be of greatest interest to me. My knowledge of engineering mechanics and materials proved to be very useful in understanding the principles that underlie the behaviour of materials. Consequently, one of my research projects involves the investigation of mechanical properties of thermosetting plastic blend of Phenol Formaldehyde and Chitin and another deals with the study of microstructures and mechanical properties of weldments.
I carried out my first research project in the third semester under the guidance of Professor R S Uma Maheshwar Rao. It was an experimental study of mechanical properties of thermosetting plastic blend of Phenol Formaldehyde and Chitin. The objective of the project was to develop a new composite system by reinforcing phenol formaldehyde with chitin particles and to characterize it to achieve products that range from offshore to common house hold goods having unique properties at lower cost. Apart from the synthesis of the composite, study of optimum cure time, percentage elongation and break, stress-strain curve for varying volume fraction of reinforcing material were carried out. During this project, I performed a number of experiments, got acquainted with laboratory equipment and further compared theoretical models with the obtained experimental values. One of the first set of results showed that the tensile strength and elongation at break is maximum for 40% chitin loading. This research was especially interesting due to the trial and error method used to optimize the curing characteristic because it pushed us to find optimal values.
Later in the fourth semester, my interest shifted to weldments after we were introduced to different production and welding processes and techniques. Realizing that the conventional welding resulted in inferior weld mechanical properties and poor resistance to hot cracking, I started investigating various new welding processes. Consequently,...