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JoSAA Counselling 2022: From course structure to research opportunities in metallurgy and material sciences engineering, an IIT professor explains

JoSAA Counselling 2022: Professor Parag Bhargava sheds light on the particulars of the field and what his department at IIT Bombay offers

IIT Bombay, IIT Bombay tech fest, JoSAA Counselling, Indian Institute of Technology BombayJoSAA Counselling 2022: All hardware is made of some materials which have been developed and produced by scientists, technologists, and engineers, said Professor Bhargava (Express Photo/Representative Image)

Nini Benny

JoSAA Counselling 2022: As part of its annual science and technology festival, Techfest, IIT Bombay organised a talk with Professor Parag Bhargava, an alumnus of the institute and a faculty member at the Metallurgical Engineering and Materials Science department.

Bhargava started off the session by explaining the importance of the discipline. “Work done by material scientists and metallurgists forms the backbone of other disciplines. Can you name a product that is not made of materials? No. All hardware is made of some materials which have been developed and produced by scientists, technologists, and engineers,” he said.

He went on to add that the “progress of a society or country gets limited by how rapidly we can develop newer materials and whether we can make them available for our industries”.

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After his talk, Bhargava took questions from the audience. Edited excerpts from his answers:

On course structure

Material Science and Engineering can be very experimental if you love experiments, want to make things, test, measure, and demonstrate devices, or develop materials. You can also think of working on technological ideas, scaling up things not just in the lab but making (them) like an entrepreneur.

The courses are all technology-oriented, science-oriented, and mathematical. We also have a course right now on entrepreneurship in Material Science and Engineering. There are also a few high-level courses that may seem cool and exciting to you such as Laser Processing and Nanostructure; Plasma Processing of Materials; Physics of

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Materials; Organic Semiconductors and Devices. You can choose them as electives.

Areas of research faculty members work on

They work on computational material science and use software, write codes. They employ Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning applications…and research on solar cells materials and devices, sensors, iron, steelmaking, thermoelectric materials, recycling of materials and nanomaterials.

Technology employed in the field

Aluminum oxide fibers are now being used in aircraft for certain components. The entire aircraft engine is a very interesting example of the metallurgical progress that has been made over the decades and where we are today. At least in our country, we don’t make aircraft engines yet but there is a lot of work going on, effort to go on to try and make aircraft engines.

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3D printing is a new area and very exciting technology. All kinds of machines are available to make structures at different levels. You can not only build 3D metallic structures but can automate the repairing of metallic components as well.

Today, it is possible to make diamonds from methane. You can do what is called chemical vapor deposition. You can make a synthetic diamond from gas. During Covid-19 times, people started to use PPE kits to make some bricks for construction, so that they could be recycled. You can use ceramics for bulletproof applications and armored vehicles, which won’t allow bullets to go through. Ceramic brakes are used in racing cars. Ceramics are also involved in handling molten metal.

2 to 3 companies evolved from our labs. One of our companies also got a President’s award. You can be an entrepreneur by learning about materials and can get into manufacturing things.

Is it strictly industrial?

You may have come across this toothpaste called Sensodyne. It has a certain kind of glass that helps rebuild the enamel. Therefore, you can do a lot of work in the medical area also with materials.

Career opportunities

There are industries abroad, of course, and a lot of companies which employ Material Science engineers. You can be an entrepreneur, a faculty member, get into research labs and also take up a job which is non-core.

Is the programme about materials or metals?

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Most departments cover work on every material. It is not just metal.

Placements

There are two options: production or research and development. In India, there are a lot of material-based companies but only some of them do research and development work. Tata Steel, Tata Motors, and Hindalco, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited will definitely hire material engineers.

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Most companies are trying to get into research and development. Reliance, for example, is putting up a big plant on solar cells and there will be a lot of requirements in the field…They are already asking for materials engineers. There are also a lot of government research labs including ISRO, and Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

Options for students who are not research-oriented

One of our students started a company to manufacture dental ceramics. There are students who are making missile radomes, making furnaces, etc. You can get a lot of business and entrepreneurial opportunities.

Internships

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There is always scope for research and industrial internships. Our students go abroad for university internships. You can get it in Defence Research and Developmental Organisation (DRDO) as well

On learning coding along with the program

You can use your skills of coding in metallurgy as well. We have a reasonably good number of faculty members at every IIT now who either write code for modeling and simulation or because they want to design new materials. You can learn it parallelly.

 

First published on: 03-10-2022 at 02:42:39 pm
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