BITS Pilani FAQs: Mechanical Engineering

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How is Mechanical Engineering at BITS Pilani?

What are positives and negatives of Mechanical Engineering?

Mechanical Engineering is an evergreen branch in the sense that the need of mechanical engineers is never going to die and thus the placement scenario, which does vary a little frequently, does not fall to extreme levels. It is a mix of concepts, theories and practical applications of the same. It is a misconception that mechanical engineering is only for automobile enthusiasts. The truth, though, is that mechanical engineering even covers the domains of power plant engineering, refrigeration and air conditioning, computational fluid dynamics, production planning, optimization (operations research), etc. It works as a platform of concepts that can be later on be used to build up further courses and concepts for specializations.

Positives:

  1. The grading which was initially believed to be very lenient may not be the same in future. But, since the courses involve more of theoretical and conceptual knowledge than rattafication, it is comparatively easier to score marks.
  2. Most of the courses are based on the knowledge gained in the initial few disciplinary courses and even these courses use class 11th and 12th concepts of thermodynamics, and mechanics.
  3. The faculty is well experienced and the large number of students working with students run societies serve as a great platform for practicing the theoretical knowledge gained during the lectures.
  4. The courses are designed in a way to help students understand the problems that arise in the industries. The students are also trained to come up with innovative solutions for these and similarly other problems.

Negatives:

  1. Though being a fairly easy branch, there is a need of regular and continuous efforts to make sure that you don’t fall behind in the competition.
  2. The courses are based on initially taught courses, if you fall short on any of those courses, it will be very difficult to cover up that backlog in the upcoming courses. Moreover, you will need to regularly revise the previous concepts to understand their applications in the new courses.
  3. Even though the courses are designed in the way to keep students updated to make them fit for industrial jobs, the courses are not enough. Knowledge of modelling, simulation software, detailed knowledge of courses like Refrigeration and Air Conditioning, Supply Chain Management, Production Planning and Control, etc. (disciplinary and open electives) is necessary for a nice job.
  4. You will also be introduced to workshop practice (first year compulsory for all students) and detailed projects in 2nd and 3rd year (3rd and 4th year for dual degree students). Some students find these courses tough (owing to the uncomfortable working conditions in workshop).

What you will learn in Mechanical Engineering, and what are the nearest JEE topics to them?

Topics that you will learn are as follows.

Year 2:Semester – 1

Material Science and Engineering: This course discusses the properties of metals which play a very important role in the infrastructure development of the country. Moreover, this knowledge is necessary to understand and predict how these materials will behave under various temperature and other external conditions. This further makes a Mechanical Engineer able to design a machine, or a machine component in a way that minimizes the material consumption at the same time satisfying the requirements. This course will come in handy while studying the following courses:

  1. Mechanical Engineering Lab
  2. Machine design and drawing
  3. Production Techniques I
  4. Production Techniques II

This course also comes in handy if you are into Creep detection techniques and material failure which are two of the most in-demand fields of specialization.

You can also use knowledge of this course to pursue Computational Material Science.

Fluid Mechanics: This course discusses the concepts of fluid flow through pipes, over plates, through bends, etc., theories like Navier Stokes, and several other similar theories. This course serves as the platform for courses like CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics), and also marks its appearance in courses like Heat Transfer, Power Plant Engineering, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning.

For students interested in pursuing government jobs via GATE or IES, this course becomes a very important subject.

Mechanical Engineering Lab: A very lite course where you will explore and practically try out experiments related to strength of materials. You will get to compare theoretical and practical values of different material parameters.

Mechanics of Solids: An introductory course where you will study about theories related to stress,strain, shear force and bending moment diagrams, deflection of beams, torsion and Mohr’s circle. You will also explore theories about material failure. This will serve as the basic platform for Advanced Mechanics of Solids.

Applied Thermodynamics: A basic course where you will study about basic steam power cycles, air cycles, cycles used in IC engines, etc. You will also revise the concepts taught in Thermodynamics (First year course) and go into the application part of the same concepts. This will serve as the basic course for the following courses:

  1. IC Engines
  2. Primemovers and Fluid Machines
  3. Refrigeration and Air Conditioning (Disciplinary Elective)
  4. Power Plant Engineering (Disciplinary Elective)

Year – 2:Semester – 2

Kinematics and Dynamics of Machines: This course will be introduction to various mechanics like Ginerva mechanism, quick return mechanism, etc. and their applications in real life. You will also carry out their graphical and algebraic analysis. This will also be an introduction to using matrix algebra for carrying out algebraic analysis. An introduction to gear trains, flywheels and advanced concepts will also be discussed. For students interested in designing mechanisms for transportation of materials and machine components, and balancing, etc., this is a very important course.

Machine Design and Drawing: A 4 unit course, this includes a practical component where you will learn modelling of 3D designs using SolidWorks. In the theoretical part, you will learn about design for various kinds of loading, design of beams, bearings (different types of bearings will be discussed), etc. Concepts will be built up on concepts of Mechanics of Solids. Failure theories will also be stressed up on.

IC Engines: This course will be the first introduction to people interested in automobile engineering. Starting with thermodynamic cycles (Ideal cycles, Air cycles, Otto cycle, Diesel cycle, and other fuel cycles etc) you will slowly start to gain knowledge of IC Engine components, their detailed design and their working as well as the terminology associated with these engines. Concepts about performance characteristics of the IC Engines will also be discussed in the course. This course will serve as a platform for several practicals which are a part of the Primemovers and Fluid Machines course.

Production Techniques I: Serving as the first of the two parts of Manufacturing Technology concepts, this course discusses about casting, welding and sheet metal working techniques in detail (mainly their numerical techniques and the changes in the materials because of these). Along with this course, a practical portion will also be there which will be used to learn basic workshop techniques like Arc welding, TIG and MIG welding, casting techniques, etc. This course along with Production Techniques II will be very essential for students preparing for IES and GATE Examinations.

Year 3:Semester 1

Heat Transfer: One of the two 4 units courses of 3-1, this course explores various modes of heat transfer – conduction, convection, radiation, the Fourier Law, Log Mean Temperature Difference, Fins, forced and natural convection, etc. You will also study the applications of these concepts in Nuclear Power Plants, Critical thickness of insulation, solar parabolic reactors, etc. This course serves as a basic course for Power Plant Engineering (Disciplinary Elective) and Refrigeration and Air Conditioning (Disciplinary Elective).

Production Techniques II: The second iteration of Production Techniques and the second 4 units course, this course covers the machine cutting and machine tool operations (both conventional and non-conventional). Basic inspection techniques will also be explored throughout the course. This course, like its prequel, also comes along with a practical portion carried out in workshop.

Advanced Mechanics of Solids: This course revises the concepts of Mechanics of Solids and then goes on to cover topics like Deflection of beams, bars, etc. and stresses in beams, rods, cylinders, shells, etc.

Year 3:Semester 2

Engineering Optimization: The course introducing Operations Research discusses various linear and non-linear optimization techniques, integer linear programming problems, etc. Different techniques like Simplex, Reversed simplex, modified simplex, primal dual relationships, dual simplex, sensitivity and post-optimality analysis, etc. Geometric and algebraic techniques for all these optimization methods will also be discussed. Students are also motivated to learn MATLAB, Excel and software like TORA to try these concepts.

Computer Aided Design: A 4 units course, CAD covers topological concepts – 4D objects, embeddability of surfaces, Bezier curves, Cubic splines, controlling them, and basic concepts of finite element methods. Along with the theoretical portion, a semester long project is there which involves completing a big project using programming language and/or software best suited to the problem statement. Though this course is not present in the syllabus of GATE and IES, it comes in handy while working on projects of CAE and CAD.

Mechanical Vibrations: In this course, you will explore undamped and damped free vibrations, excited vibrations, vibrations in beams, bars, rods, determination of natural frequencies of single and multidimensional systems, vibrations in discrete and continuous systems. Along with the theoretical portion, a MATLAB portion is also present in which students code the concepts taught in the course.

Primemovers and Fluid Machines: Covering details about turbines (francis, kaplan, propellor, etc.), pumps, steam turbines, gas turbines, turbomachinery, etc., this is a very nice course for students interested in designing turbomachinery equipments for power plants, engines, etc. Along with the theoretical concepts, a practical portion is also present in which students carry out experiments on petrol, diesel engines, centrifugal pumps, fans, blowers, and turbines for performance characteristics study.

Disciplinary Electives

Along with the compulsory disciplinary courses mentioned above, a large list of disciplinary electives are available for students to pursue their field of expertise. Some of these electives are mentioned below:

  1. Power plant engineering
  2. Refrigeration and air conditioning
  3. Numerical methods for fluid flow (CFD)
  4. Computer Aided Manufacturing
  5. Production Planning and Control
  6. Supply Chain Management, etc.

Students have to complete at least 4 disciplinary electives (12 units) for graduation.

What are good dual options with Mechanical Engineering and why?

  • MSc Physics + B.E. Mechanical is the most preferred option as you will feel more comfortable learning Mechanical courses as you will learn a lot similar to it in MSc Physics.
  • M.Sc. Maths + B.E. Mechanical is also a nice option if you are interested in learning the numerical methods that are used frequently throughout the Mechanical Courses.
  • Other than this, all other M.Sc. courses will also suit Mechanical very well.

What is the scope of Mechanical Engineering in future?

A large number of companies participate in campus placements. You can find the list here(for Pilani Campus). Even though, Mechanical may not have an attractive starting salary, after 4 – 5 years it finally results in a fancy salary.

But, choose Mechanical only if you are interested in it, otherwise it can bring some pains to you as well.