Research Frontiers in Mechanical Engineering


Often a  student thinks that what can I do after doing this course or after learning that subject and he tries to find whats happening at the cutting edge. In this article we have cherry-picked a few areas related to mechanical engineering which are seeing a tremendous growth at present. Students can indulge in projects related to those areas to really sharpen their skills and to understand how their studies and coursework fits into the bigger picture of industrial advancement.  It is impossible to cover every frontier of research in field of mechanical engineering in this small article but nevertheless lets begin our journey

  1. Computational Fluid Dynamics

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CFD is currently a very fast growing field in mechanical engineering with its application in areas from simulations of gas turbine and rocket engines to studying of flow in blood vessels. This field requires a multidisciplinary knowledge of Computer Science, Numerical Methods and Mechanical Engineering (Obviously!). Research in this field is now primarily focused on more accurate numerical schemes and algorithms to solve Navier-Stokes equations. Researchers are working on development of more sophisticated turbulence models. To give more natural look to special effects related to fluid flow(Like smoke, flood) used in sci-fi movies researcher are woking on improving image processing based on CFD data. More info on this can be found at Making Animated Fluids Look More Realistic.  Students can involve with the faculty members working in similar areas to get a gist of this field.

2. Microfluidics

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The field of micro-fluidics is quiet new on the horizon of mechanical engineering. This area deals with the study of behavior, control and manipulation of fluid flows happening at very small geometrical scales. It is multidisciplinary field at the intersection of mechanical engineering, theoretical physics, electronics, biotechnology and nanotechnology with its application in developing more efficient medical devices, clinical pathology etc. Recently people have started working on development of more efficient heat transfer mechanisms using microfluidic structures.

3. Additive Manufacturing

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As it is evident from the name itself, Additive manufacturing is the technique in which a product is manufactured by adding very thin layers of material one by one. Companies like General Electric, Boeing, Rolls Royce are in a race to gain edge in this field of additive manufacturing which have a potential of completely revolutionizing the way we manufacture our cars, jet engines, aircraft etc. If you want to be in manufacturing sector then this is the research area for you. More information regarding this can be found on following link: Additive Manufacturing

4.Composites

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The new Boeing-787 Dream-liner is revolutionary plane which is much more efficient than its parent Boeing planes mainly because it is made of composite materials rather than conventional aluminium. The area of composites is promising new heights to the whole sector of design and manufacturing. Researchers all over world are working on development of new composite materials that can withstand extreme stress and temperature. Students with good background in material science should consider working in this area.

5. Robotics

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Whenever name of scientific advance came into our mind somewhere or the other we think about robots and autonomous machines. It is such a fascinating field that almost every engineering student have thought of working in it at one point or another in his life. This is a interdisciplinary field involving skills from computer science, mechanical and electronics engineering. People are working on using machine learning algorithms to train robots to perform specified tasks in manufacturing sectors. Students can work on the projects related to design of mechanisms, feedback and control systems and information processing etc.

We hope that this article provides you a comprehensive view of areas in which you can work to improve your skills and to better enjoy your courses. Again this is just tip of the iceberg, apart from above you can look for areas like propulsion, acoustic, vibrations, control systems, Bio-mechanics etc.

Article By- Anand Sangwan

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