Friday, December 30, 2005
Thursday, December 29, 2005
Inside the campus we always get bugged when a byke’s accelerator crosses some limit, no doubt this incident perturbed the campus but within one and half hours only TV channels were busy discussing it, most of the student had gone back to work. It’s a busy life in the campus; the spirit always carries through day and night in silence. It a shame on the guys who attacked un-armed delegates and researchers. I don’t know their purpose, whatever it is we believe there is no novel cause which can justify such acts. If they have strong will they should come forward and fight not with arms, it is cowardly and if they had thought they will hit a weak zone, certainly they have chosen the wrong place. They should come to the campus and see that nothing has changed except some physical marks they left here yesterday evening. I don’t know whether this/these guy(s) will be caught or not, but it is sure, in India we have learnt to live with it. So if someone wants to create an impact, they better find some new tricks!
Saturday, December 24, 2005
Friday, December 23, 2005
When two bodies come close to each other there are attractions and repulsion which act on them, and probably this is the first time I saw somebody really, experimentally showing the typical energy plot that we find in all basic material science book Prof Pethica and his group has done it using AFM. He explained the mechanism which drives an atomic force microscope to read the atoms. The striking technology is in the resolution. A laser goes through the tip and reflects back and by detecting the multiple reflections that is coming back, through which it was possible to achieve atomic level resolution in AFM. The probe for AFM can be used as a tool for striking the antom and calculating bond strength between the atoms. So you can literally feel the chemistry of the atoms. It’s really fascinating. So Prof. Pethica’s group in Dublin is working with some technique, developed most probably by them, which is called modulated amplitude AFM technique, this is very effective in measuring the single tip surface bond, the mechanism is bit complicated but it has responses coming in femto seconds and there are advantages over the other tips used for this purpose. After mesmerizing the audience with his measurements in the atomic scale he shifted to some interesting studies on molecules. No, it’s not the big organic molecule, it is water molecule. When the water molecules are kept in between two plates with sufficiently closer (less than nanometer) you start seeing some changes such as viscosity and those change are because of the contacts between the water molecule and the surface. It’s an interesting study from the point of view of biologist as inside a cell the length scale in which water molecules sits is almost similar in order. Prof. Pethica, at the end of his lecture showed few slides of the nano science building at the heart of the town in Dublin. He really wanted to convey the importance of the nano science and technology, but I had a feeling that he has reached beyond that!
Saturday, December 17, 2005
Experiments in space were started probably through sputnik-3 in 1969, which sent mostly some geophysical information. Until very recently, experiments were concentrated mostly on the atmospheric or geophysical studies but the scenario has changed quite rapidly. Experimental research had leap when Mir was placed in space in the year 1986, and from year 1989 till it was abandoned in 1999, there was always a human being in space. The Venture, International Space Station, took the lead there after. Scientists from all over the world including Russia are participating in this program.
The idea of carrying out experiments in a space station appears bizarre to many people, mostly because of the cost and the futuristic nature as we can not see the application. The fact is someway different; these experiments are mostly carried out for advanced technology. I found one nice example; an experiment on flame. The flames coming out of some nozzle appears like a fluid drop due to the gravitational force resulting in an air flow. Now if these experiments are carried out in space under microgravity atmosphere the flame breaks in to balls, the experiment is known as Lwis SOFTBALL experiments. For this combustion the fuel required is extremely low, which is a process all automotive engine companies will look for, as the hydrogen or hydrocarbon based combustion engines requires these informations. This was an example for a direct application to technology. However, the fundamentals for the basic science are getting major benefits from the zero gravity experiments. Imagine a human brain, which has been modeled to function under gravity, when it is exposed to the microgravity condition, the systems response to this change. It is therefore an interesting area for study. Again we know the plants grows in the direction of light, its roots also grows in the direction of gravitational force, hence it is interesting to know how the plants grow in such conditions.
Materials research did achieve much scope to carry out experiment although levitation experiments for solidification of metals have drawn interest. The constraints are mostly forming the experimental module and control over the experiments, the results is unknown till the specimens come back to earth. Among the other materials research semiconductor crystal growth has been quite a revelation. Near perfect crystals can be grown under microgravity, under surface tension driven flow in the melt. A control in the defect concentration in the crystal is also possible, but its is not so straight forward as the density driven flow and surface tension driven flow complicates the process. The container free melt will have hardly a site for defect nucleation hence these processes are really useful.
Every scientific advance comes with a price tag and we had to pay it through the lives of astronauts who were killed the Columbia explosions. These were the part of NASA’s STS -107 program, more than 70 experiments were carried out in space. We have lost Kalpana Chawla, the only Indian female astronaut.
Efforts are on as many other countries are coming up with ideas and launch vehicles for carrying out experiments. Indian space research also as an individual progressed a lot and one day we will also be able to carry out our own experiments in space.
I found infornation from the following places
Future Materials Science Research on the International Space Station (1997), National Academy publishers
European Space Agency
News about ISRO
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
The speaker of the 7th and the last J.R.D Tata memorial lecture, organized by NIAS was Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu from South Africa. He was really humble at the beginning of the talk. He spent almost 10 min. in thanking us, the Indians. I rarely hear someone talking about Mahatma Gandhi with such emotions. If I am hurting someone, then let me confess I heard very few of them. He sounded more like a Global Spokesman of peace than an arch bishop from Capetown, who fought apartheid and the man behind the reconciliation mission. Of course, South Africa has moved ahead from the apartheid era, but still I wonder how this reconciliation is done; atrocity must be at a level where punishment is the solution. His talk was a reminder of the last century’s blood bath all over the world, and the born of so called super powers who carried that legacy to the next century in the name of west vs. Islamic terrorism. He criticized the America and Britain for their unwanted and unnecessary invasion in Iraq where thousands of people were still getting killed. If the description of the talk is becoming serious then let me put down that he also had a humorous touch in his talk and he mixed them really well. He described the incidents, one about the women who came to the reconciliation court and was requested for forgiveness, and the other of the hotel manager in Washington who mistook him as a chauffer, with equal intensity! There were parts of the lecture where he talked about the oppression, quite depressing but when I read his Nobel lecture, I found he actually didn’t talk about oppression much. Surely, he followed his talk titled “is there hope for humanity?”. Arch Bishop Tutu, is in a UN committee called alliance of civilization and he is carrying out the job for getting together the civilizations around the world, according to him, we can prosper only when we are together. Human being lives in the world of Gandhi, Mother Teresa, and Martin Luthar King (junior), and they are like eagles that fly towards the rising sun and disappears. It was a quite unusual lecture for us but hats off to the man from Capetown!
His Nobel lecture
His peace centre
Friday, December 09, 2005
It’s a pleasure of not being argued in the middle of cribbing so that I could put down quite a few lines of my own here. Disclaimer: this post is not pointing towards any individual or organization :)
Sunday, December 04, 2005
Friday, December 02, 2005
I heard before the conference that ATM is a low profile conference, but was elated to find that a portion of the talks were really good. The participation was really huge, posters as well as speeches. A whole gamut from materials and metallurgical research came here. Truly speaking conference was very general and I had to find talks of my own interest. There were three parallel sessions. I was especially interested in the mechanical behaviour of materials, some functional stuffs and then Ceramics of course. I had attended few sessions on mechanical behaviour of materials. First day, 15th Nov. I found some interesting stuffs about Spark Plasma Sintering processes. ARCI is currently doing lots of work on that, with Dibyendu around I would also try something! Guru’s rafting was as usual good and I guess serendipity is knocking his door. There was a talk by Vendervort, the king of metallography and also days end Vikram mesmiriesed audience with a 10 min talk on wear. Second day it was bit hectic, as I wanted to attend the talk on metallic glasses, it was interesting session, Krishanu presented his paper on non-equilibrium solidifation which was good, better was his answers ( Dr. Dey, from BARC showed some beautiful HREM micrograph of the metallic glasses, again the controversy begun whether there is crystallization at the shear bands, Prof Ramchandra Rao, pioneer in the field was also present there. Rejin, hurried through his beautiful talk! Just for attending Vikram’s lecture, but his experiments for exhibiting Ductile Brittle transition was really good. Vikram was fascinating in his talk on the amorphous ceramics. Its really a magic material only requires good magicians like prof. Jayaram.It was more like our class room, but I wasn’t happy with the explanation he tried to give in support to the densification at high temperatures. The nano grains grow so fast, it is really difficult to differentiate between densification, creep and grain growth processes. I would be unfair If I miss the last talk which a girl from IGCAR delivered. They were using Infrared camera for strain measurement during tensile experiment. Not only the local strain it was possible to measure the stress distribution in the specimen, for large component which may be a good tool to use, but what I understood is that there are limitations in the shape of the resolution of the camera.
I was really feeling great; Not only “dada”, Chiku also came along with him, we had a ball of a time in the car, and then after 47 hr. after leaving the lab finally I was at this place…
No prize for guessing, yes! So I was at home !
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
In the end of 20th century people could easily achieve grain sizes in the sub-micron range (<1 micron) in zirconia ceramics, but it wasn't sufficient; there was a strong driving force to refine the grain size to nano range (< 100 nm) of course for obtaining certain advantages, mostly enhanced structural and physical properties. Beginning of this century observed a difference in mechanical behaviour in nano-grained tetragonal zirconia from the sub µm grained one. This drove scientist to study this mechanical behaviour of nano zirconia whether it is tetragonal or monoclinic. Now the problem associated with density. It was not so difficult to achieve a grain size which is in nm range but with a density as high as 99% of the theoretical density, it was difficult. Currently there are few techniques which satisfies both requirements. Spark plasma sintering (SPS), Microwave sintering, Sinter-forging, HIPing, also the brand new one is crystallization from glass!In the first two processes control grain size is very limited and the sintering mechanism is still not completely understood. In SPS there is a huge current of the order of 1 kA and more is passed through a powder compact and it claimed to form plasma which sinters the material to full density very fast with a very small grain size, but with very little control. In the microwave process, both electric and magnetic field interact with the material, and the absorbed energy actually leads to very fast sintering, again microwave, though, is in industries now, and still is feeding significant no. of researchers around the world. This leaves us with Sinter-forging, an excellent processing technique which was first opted by couple of groups, Rehemans’ and Raj’s, in mid 80s. At high temperatures without any wall constraint if a compact under load is sintered, the sintering rate is enhanced by couple of factors; one is the stress induced diffusion becoming faster and disappearance of big pores by plastic deformation. In zirconia it was observed that instead of the applied stress actually the plastic strain controls the densification. Now here the advantage is that, one can independently play around with two parameters; stress and temperature and you can achieve grain size really in the nano range in a fully dense material. The pictures below are from sinter-forging experiments. One needs to monitor the transverse strain also along with the axial strain and in these experiments, for this specific experiment I used a digital camera in my I.I.Sc lab. These images were taken at 1423 K. Extreme right one is from the final stage of sinter-forging. You may notice that there is very little strain in the transverse direction compared to the axial direction, which indicates densification. I did not put the scale which is a “crime” but take it from me; the height of the specimen is 3.5 mm.
So now we have a nano-grained material, but what is the size? It is difficult to push the grain size of the bulk dense body below 50 nm, this is one shortcoming of sinter-forging. So here comes glass. The idea is like this: you take these oxides to very high temperature and cool it with a cooling rate of the order of 103 to 104 K/min and they may form glass or some amorphous phase, and now if this glass is taken above the transition temperature, the crystallite starts nucleating and the body becomes a dense nanocrsystalline body with a crystallite size may be as low as 15 nm. This processing technique is difficult and there are critical issues involved with density, still it gives you the grain size you want. What else, if I have such material (from 15 -100 nm) in hand, a through mechanical property study is possible. Then I know serendipity will knock my door any day and I will jump and shout…………:D
Saturday, September 24, 2005
Red part of the hurricane contains water. These tropical cyclones travels 300-500 km a day,
Typhoons and Hurricanes are normally named, although “Katrina” rocked USA, it is not the deadliest ones world has witnessed till now. In India in the year 1999 there was a cyclone hit. Actually there was couple of cyclones that hit costal Orissa. First one hit Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and West Bengal and the second one without warning hit Orissa and India saw the one of the worst cyclone hit. The Cyclone lasted for 2 days and whole state was out of the world. It was said the wind speed reached 310 km/hr with an water surge of 20-30 ft. It completely destroyed the state; there was no account of the death toll as well as the homeless. A huge part of the coast beacame a barren land, with all the trees uprooted. The economy and life was affected such a way that still people are recovering from it.
Science has progressed so much that following the Hurricane is possible from its birth hence it is possible to do the necessary evacuation. Computer simulations following the satellite imaging have done a real miracle, but researches are on in this topic. One big topic is the effect of pollution like global warming in the frequency of the storm. Recently there was an article on hurricane on a work by a group from university of Tennessee in Knoxville. They are studying the Pine trees in coastal US and it was claimed that these trees bear signs of Hurricane, so the frequency of it can be identified at least for last 100 years! We don’t know whether these are signals of destructions that are coming or passing by!
Hurricane mark in Pine trees.
Thursday, September 22, 2005
This is an STEM micrograph of a grain boundary in La doped Si3N4, bright fringe in the middle correspond to the amorphous film and the brighter spots in that are actually La. Segregation in YTZ is in discussion for a while and now it is said that nanocrystalline YTZ are more creep resistant that the submicron grain one because of Y+3 segregation. It is known that Y+3 play a role there but it is not understood which role it plays, so lots of questions. Sometimes segregation is detrimental, YTZ although has potential use as bone replacement, can not have an immediate use as Y segregation causes brittleness of the material. There are lots of interesting stuffs in this field and I am happy as I will have jobs in hand till the questions are answered. I really like defects.
Friday, September 16, 2005
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
Her talk started with the general concern on global warming and the contribution of aerospace industries to it. She showed a B-52 bombers emitting considerable amount of un-burnt hydrocarbon. According to her noise pollution due to high engine noise levels is also a cause of concern primarily in cities. So she addressed all the problems in sequence. Her presentation began with an animations on how an engine works. It was evident that materials design is the key for the turbines blades inside the engine! The material they use for the fans are Ni bases super alloys and there is a problem with the randomly oriented polycrystals. The grain boundaries parallel to the air flow is a bad news: they are the site where the fatigue crack initiates under cyclic loading so the blades were processed with oriented grains with boundaries perpendicular to the air flow. Final step towards this grain boundary engineering was to remove the grain boundaries, i.e. use of single crystals! No boundaries so no flaws. It is important to reduce the weight of the blades which is a new field of research and shape memory alloys and metallic foam appeared to be potential material for that. There was a job also for the combustion engineers but from the material scientist point of view it was necessary to talk about the chamber material. Composite materials were shown to have better run for that. When the discussion boiled down to noise she mentioned how the noise is generated from the engine, the solution for that was to have a turbulent mix of two kinds of air coming out of the jet, for that it was observed serrated outer wall of the jet instead of smooth wall is quite effective. The criteria was it should remain close while it is flying at low altitudes (high temp. region) and at high altitude they should open up . In a nice experiment she showed actually how shape memory alloys acts as an actuater under changing temperature; it was really a nice piece of experiment. There was an ineresting info: eagles can fly at a speed of 200 Mph and consume an energy equivalent to only 10% of its own weight. At the end of her talk she showed some video clippings of some testing on the fans. They were amazing! First one was under tremendous water flow, 2nd one was fans performance under cold condition (T= 233 K), 3rd one was what if a single blade breaks? And final one was what happens when birds hit the jet, I am not going to tell you what happens then, you have to listen to Dr. King. I could not put any of her slides which I would loved to post, may be some other day......
I met with cricket quite early age of my life. I had a friend called Santanu who had a proper kit; we used to play with cork balls which were extremely hard. We used to play wearing one pad, most of the players were Rightie so they used to tell me to tie the pad in the left leg, I was a natural leftie so it was the wrong leg for me so one ball one day came and straight away hit my front right leg’s sean bone, I was hurt on the my first cricket match and what a consequence, my last day was very similar, i had an injured hand; One day I had started playing it on the other day I left it. I had many friends into my life; some left me some I had left! But this is more than any pain I came accross. By this time if you are reading it you might have gave up on me but believe me its my soul speaking not me :D You had enough fun, leave me now the game is over!
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
Tear was about to fall, flow through her beautiful cheeks and drop on the ground. The big eyes were looking at the man on the bike. Her eyes were blank, there were no signs of grief, or happiness, it had only indifference; but still the tears were about to fall. Soft sun was falling on the asphalt road in front of the house, the road was empty and there were only two living creature on the street. Her lip was trembling, but she didn’t utter a single word, told lot of things. The guy on the bike was frozen and speechless, his mind was freaking, wanted to escape from the place as the damage was already done, but her eyes glued him to the place. He wished he could rebuild the car she was playing with, which is now laying smashed front of his bike. He was not able to understand why he should wait in the place; he tried to touch the girl with a nice tunic, but her body was stiff as if she is living in some other world. The guy was help less, she was not crying, so that he can console her. To his relief a lady came out of the house but was shocked to see the little girl on road. She rushed to her and was happy to see her untouched. The guy profusely apologized for what had happened was expecting an answer, the lady answered, “she can’t hear you, can’t reply to you; this car was her birthday gift, she received it yesterday,” The guy left the place; he had to reach his office before it’s too late.
It was becoming dark; the little girl was sitting in the small garden eagerly waiting for her mother to come. She was her only friend around and whole day she did not eat only to tell her how bad her birthday was. The car was still with her and she was trying to repair it. The road in front of their house remains deserted in these hours of the day also in the morning when she dared to go to the road. Light were slow coming up as the stars in the sky. She was quite involved with her car. She could not hear the bike coming towards her house. The same bike and the same guy approached the house. She was aware of him when she felt a cold hand on her shoulder, she turned and saw him. The whole memory came to life and this time she couldn’t hold herself, she was crying. The man was prepared, he took out a nice wrapped packet. She stopped crying and looked at it with apprehension, the packet was unwrapped and bright shinning car came out of it. The man handed it over to her. Her tear filled eyes became bright and in the whole day she smiled for the first time. The guy got his life back! Whole day he was under terrible guilt and now he felt relived and the little kid looked like an angel to him. He turned back and stared for home.
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
It all started in a rain soaked evening in Gymkhana managing committee room, we were planning for a sports fest and at the end we decided it will be called “Jumpstart2005”. There was a whole spectrum of events held during this literary and sports festival of I.I.Sc Gymkhana. It was Santanu who was the initiator, motivator and supervisor of the show. The events included Chess, Carom, Athletics (the biggest), Swimming, and the literary events (Dumb charades and Quiz), Table tennis. We had clubbed the marathon event along with the freedom run around the campus.
The evening started with a Sharod recital, it was as usual a mesmerizing music! This was followed by a good show put up by “Rythmica” a part Gymkhana Music Club. They were also winners but on different field and different game. Our prize distribution ceremony started in the middle of the music programme. The Satish Dhawan auditorium was completely filled with people. Arjun Deviah an international athelit came as a chief guest for the occasion. The prize distribution started with ladies events. Although the female participation in field events was noticeably less the picture was different in literary events. In the male section in Athletics it was a keen contest, few performed exceptionally well, Hasta in the jumps in short distance races, Arun in short distance Run and Prakash again in jumps and short distance run. Prakash’s long jump of 5.7 m was really watch worthy. In the long distance run Claudy really dominated along with Rejin, Santosh and Sundar around, Kottada and his group came strong in relay. In throwing events Sachin was ahead of all; in discus, javelin, shot put he threw the max. In Swimming again it was “the big boy” Rejin who dominated, won 5 out of 6 swimming events, Anath also gave was a strong contender for him. In Carrom Debabrat won the singles also one doubles event, Atul, Tejaswini also performed well in doubles and in mixed doubles. Rahul played well enough to beat others in classic chess, Sachin kept his mark as a chess player along with a good athelit. Thomas outplayed others in rapid chess section. In TT Debraj showed his class and won the singles tournament, the doubles went to Kartikeyan and Ganesh. MRC lifted the departmental event by beating Physics in the finals. The last in the list were the marathoners; in the first Bangalore marathon held this year, almost 21 guys participated and we had decided to felicitate them on behalf of gymkhana, it was really a good achievement. The concluding part of the prize distribution ceremony was an inspiring speech by the chief guest. Rythmica took over the programme and it got over in an excellent note, as our ‘host’ Srini said all good things come to an end.
We had three category of prizes, first was the track suit upper, second one was t Shirt with Jumpstart logo and third one which I liked the most was the white coffee mug with gymkhana logo as well as jumpstart logo. I hope every recipient liked it!
A huge effort from Viswanath and Vivke for athletics and literary, respectively with Sushil in swimming made this big event a success, but the little man behind the screen has actually done something bigger, yes I am talking about Jackie (Santanu). I hope Jumpstart will not stop and will get some more face lifting next year. So JUMPSTART………
Monday, August 15, 2005
They ran, they ran in huge numbers. Cloudy morning in I. I. Sc. becomes slightly different this morning. This is Independence Day morning. I don’t know since when the freedom run has started in campus, but it is an annual event which is stored in the memory of the institute. “Freedom run” takes place on the occasion of Independence Day on 15th August. The whole spectrum of the strong 3000 community participates in this run, of course not all of them but significantly high in the no. This year the participation was nearly 250, believe me this is one of the highest participation in any athletic events in the campus. The run takes place in marathon format though the total stretch doesn’t match with marathon; the distance is just above 5 km. Starting from kids to senior faculties everyone participates in this run. The route will take you all through the tree covered campus. There was a stretch which literally passes through the jungle in the campus. The best timing was ~20 min and within 40 min. a bulk of the participant had finished their run. Today the weather was beautiful which helped a number of people to complete. The footsteps and the sweats of the great and greats in making made the streets a memorabilia.
Monday, August 08, 2005
Friday, August 05, 2005
The name Eden does not go to any mytholgy, its come from histroy. Legend is calcutta cricket club (CCC) which came to existence in the year 1792 has shifted to this place called parkland in the year 1864. This place was under the supervison of Governor Lord Auckland, and two of her family members called Eden sisters used to take care of this park and probaly from there the name "Eedn gardens" desended. The ambience of the ground was once mesmirising and heaven for the swing bowlers. The breeze from the higcourt end was nightmare for the batsmen.
Edengardens was not only a cricket ground but was a bit of football was played here also.
The first test cricket was played in 1926 at Eden gardens, between MCC vs. India and then on the ball stared rolling, from the Sobers outsanding catches to Salim Maliks devastation, Azhars golden batting and Lakshman 's epical batting, Eden is the dream ground of cricketers accross the world. The attraction is partly because of the crowd. Although breeze doesnot enter the ground still people come to watch then people.
If you happen to appear in front of the CAB office in Eden you may mistake it as the MCC office in London may be better. With the centinary museum coming up, Eden has starting from Indoor practice ground to ultra mordern Gym. Huges stands and Lights in the night. If you come to Kolkata dont miss Eden gardens, my cherished dream ground.
Sunday, July 24, 2005
I read this novel by Ayn Rand recently, i thought the title of the book will be nice title to start with and i wrote something on the book..........
This novel by Ayn Rand like her previous novels conveys a unique philosophy towards life and her way of describing it is also unique. The novel gets its life in