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Mechanics - Statement of Purpose

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STATEMENT OF PURPOSE

Mechanics, one of the foremost branches of Physics, is an indispensable area in engineering. The intriguing questions posed by the field of mechanics drew my interest towards this area. This interest has been further fueled by my natural feel for the subject and my ability to correlate the concepts with the observations made in the surroundings. My curiosity to learn and my urge to contribute to the scientific world have prompted me to opt for research and teaching as my career. My long term career goal is to do pioneering research in an academic milieu and to share the knowledge thus gained through teaching. My inclination towards research and liking for mechanics has driven me to apply for a doctoral program in the area of applied mechanics.

After my 8th standard at high school, I was selected for the ‘Program for Gifted Youth’ conducted by Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras and Institute of Mathematical Sciences Madras to nurture young talent. Here my exposure to the latest trends and developments aroused a strong fascination in me for science and technology. The choice of Mechanical Engineering as my major in the undergraduate program at IIT Madras has given me ample opportunity to hone my skills, acquire knowledge, gain research experience and shape my interests. My focus in understanding the fundamentals has helped me thoroughly learn the conceptual subjects such as Thermodynamics, Strength of Materials, Fluid Mechanics and Heat Transfer. This is reflected by my grade point average of 9.76/10 (equivalent to 3.9/4) in my Major theory, which is the highest in my class of over 100 students.  

My urge for research got me started as early as my sophomore year. My first project was on the mechanics of abrasive water jet cutting. In this work, I studied the different modes of erosion, modeled the jet interaction with the material, predicted the jet propagation inside the material and simulated the cut surface. The highly intriguing results I obtained were communicated to an International Conference. Subsequently, this work was extended and was published in ‘International Journal of Machine Tools and Manufacture’[1]. This research opportunity gave me immense satisfaction and further fueled my interest towards research.

With the momentum thus gained, I extended my independent work to a wide range of areas, both theoretical and experimental. The areas of work include: estimation of residual stresses in water jet peening, repeatability of simulation processes, feed rate optimization in sculptured surface machining, modeling of swirling fluidized beds and transport properties in dispersed media[2] . The results of some of these efforts have been accepted for presentation at two forthcoming International Conferences. My work in these diverse areas has enriched my knowledge and also helped me understand the importance of interdisciplinary work.  

My stay at IIT Madras has given a new dimension to my involvement in Mechanics. It helped me identify Solid Mechanics, Mechanics of Materials as my favorite areas among others. My interest in these fields perked up during my work on abrasive water jet cutting. Though the work involved contributions from various other areas, the most challenging part was to model the mechanics of the erosion process. To get a deeper understanding of this field, I chose Solid Mechanics-related courses as my minor stream, such as Introduction to Solid Mechanics, Finite Element Methods and Experimental Stress Analysis. Apart from this, my present independent study of Continuum Mechanics and lectures on variational methods at the Institute of Mathematical Sciences has exposed me to the mathematical aspect of this area. With motivation drawn from my interest in this field, I am currently working on prediction of residual stresses in water jet peening. This study deals with the analysis of jet structure, prediction of dynamic material response to loading and estimation of residual stresses.

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