As a school going kid, I used to wonder what may be the driving force of movement in daily life, so I approached my dad. He simply replied food and the energy derived from it. But as a kid I quiet didn’t understand what actually happens in the process. As years progressed, I developed a keen interest towards science by the magic it is capable of and the logic behind it. I eventually learnt that the body derived its energy in the form of food from the earthly element, carbon. Although 50% of the body was made of water, it is edible form of carbon that fuels us. This enabled me to visualise the body as a factory loaded with chemical reactions controlled by “the fuel”, similar to an automobile. This fascinated me to a great extent and inspired me to pursue chemical engineering in my under-graduation for a strong foundation in petroleum / oil & gas engineering.
The burning desire groomed me into understanding the subject with the revelation that more than chemicals and chemical reactions, Chemical Engineering is about Unit Operations, Chemical Processes and Problem-Solving Techniques. During my course of study, subjects like Organic Chemistry, Chemical Process Industries and Chemical Reaction Engineering uncovered the nature of hydrocarbons and the processes involved in their exploitation and the kinetics behind such reactions, though I was exposed to other core areas, such as Fluid Dynamics, Thermodynamics, Chemical Process Calculations and Transport Phenomena too.
It was only due to the exceptional faculty and lab facilities in my institution, that I have now acquired a good grasp over the subjects. My dedicated academic efforts paid off when I secured the 1st rank in both the assessment tests as well as the semester exams in my department during the first year of under-graduation. This marked an auspicious beginning to my future.
I gathered first-hand experience of working on a mini project as a part of the “Innovations program” of our college where I worked on a novel idea of designing the combustion chamber of an automobile. I thought of a fluidized-bed reactor, which followed a similar mechanism of continuous input of raw materials and output of product like the combustion chamber, which draws in fuel and releases energy for motion. Also, fluidization helps in effective particle mixing and maintains a constant temperature gradient, which could reduce knocking and increase the engine’s life. So with this thought, I worked along with a senior who specialised in reactor design and started with a packed bed model. Under different conditions (ideal) of the engine run, which play a major role such as inlet/outlet pressure, rpm vs. fuel demands, temperature of operation etc., simulations were performed which gave promising results. Then we commenced work on real...