Introduction

Do things like race cars and robots excite you? If yes, this branch may be the one for you. This branch will give you a grounding in concepts related to machines, manufacturing processes, automation, controls and at the same time, give you the base to specialize in multi-disciplinary applications like mechatronics and robotics.

What is Mechanical Engineering all about?

Mechanical Engineering is the science of machines. It will help you learn how to design a machine by keeping in mind the performance requirements as well as safety regulations. The branch is an amalgamation of broadly the following verticals: Thermodynamics, mechanics, systems and control, and manufacturing. Mechanical engineering introduces and teaches you the science behind the working and building of any mechanical system, be it as simple as a pulley-mass system or as complex as a rocket propeller. It will also help you understand different processes that need to be employed to manufacture these machines on a large scale.

BTech in Mechanical Engineering

The B. Tech. curriculum is designed to introduce a student to the entire breadth of the field of Mechanical Engineering with a huge diversity in the courses. While the mandatory core curriculum rarely goes into the depths of any particular field, the department offers numerous electives that the students can take up based on the sub-disciplines that interest them. The BTech programme at IIT Bombay is one of the most flexible among all IITs, with a very lean mandatory component - called the core curriculum, leaving you plenty of time to explore the various fields that interest you - Mechanical or otherwise. The final year is left free to explore those fields that most interest you. This is in the form of electives - in the department and otherwise.

Dual Degree in Mechanical Engineering

A DD programme is a 5 year course unlike the BTech program. It consists of extra elective courses and the dual degree project which is a research project under the guidance of a professor utilising the concepts learnt in the first 4 years. The extra electives can be chosen from a large basket of courses pertaining to a specialisation (there are 3 specialisations which are given later on this page). The final year is devoted almost solely to the Dual Degree Project (DDP) that is aimed to give the students a flavour of graduate level research in an area of their interest. After his/her second year, a B.Tech. student can convert to a Dual Degree programme in either of the three specializations. A DD student can also change his specialization after the second year but cannot convert to the BTech programme.

Honors in Mechanical Engineering

A B. Tech. student is said to have “Graduated with Honours in Mechanical Engineering” when he/she has done a certain number of courses from the honours course list of the department over and above the normal credit requirement (24 extra credits of electives/projects is required). This coursework is typically done in the second, third and fourth years. The exact details of the program are clearly specified in the academic rulebook of the institute. The department has a fairly flexible honors program allowing the choice of a great number of courses for the honors requirement. Many undergraduate courses are offered as honors courses and every postgraduate course usually is. You will be informed in detail about the exact format of the same after your first year.

What kind of courses do you have to do?

The courses are more or less an extension of the topics covered at the higher secondary level. It includes thermodynamics, heat transfer, fluid mechanics and dynamics, solid mechanics, strength of materials, kinematics, particle dynamics, manufacturing processes and practices, control systems and so on. There are lab courses supplementing most of the basic theory courses. The course structure, in whole, covers the application aspect as well as the research aspect of Mechanical Engineering in day to day life.

In the first year of study, all students have common basic science courses (Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Biology). From the second year, department core courses begin. A year is spent on the basic fundamentals of fields like Thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, solid mechanics (stress, strain etc.) and manufacturing processes. The third year builds on these basics through courses on Heat Transfer, Kinematics and Dynamics of Machines, etc. BTech students have to choose 6 department elective courses from a huge bucket list of courses. A compulsory humanities elective and Economics is also present in the core curriculum. There is only one core theory course and one core lab course in the fourth year in the BTech program and there is complete freedom for the students to take the electives they wish to according to their interests.

Core specializations

The three academic and research themes of the department and the corresponding Dual Degree specialisations are:

Design (CADA)

Computer-aided design (CAD), as the name suggests, is the use of computer systems to assist in the creation, modification, analysis, or optimization of a design. CAD has become an important element in modern industry to perfect design, optimize material utilization, minimize cost, reduce design cycle time and customize activities.

This dual degree programme will focus on the fundamental issues of CAD and automation and their applications. It will cover computer aided stress and mechanical modelling, graphics, finite element and dynamic element packages, automatic and computer controls, micro and nano electro-mechanical systems (MEMS and NEMS), microprocessors, robotics, etc.

Design engineering can be carved out into several sub-fields (only few of them are given here):

Solid Mechanics: It is the foundation of design engineering with concepts used in all other sub-fields. It deals with concepts of stress and strain applied to deformable bodies. Taught through various courses like Solid Mechanics, Strength of Materials, Stress Analysis and Advanced Solid Mechanics, it is supported by a lab wherein experiments on bending, torsion, hardness, etc. are performed.
Machine Design: It deals with design of gears, clutches, brakes, couplings, welded joints and all sorts of components that make up a machine, taking into account various design considerations - material selection, allowable stresses and deflections, fatigue and factor of safety.
Mechatronics: This multidisciplinary field that combines mechanics, electronics, controls and computer science is religiously practiced not only by the students of this department but by many others who are interested in automation, robotics and microcontrollers. With wide applications in automotive and manufacturing industry, medical sciences, etc. mechatronics is everywhere.
Finite Element Method: It’s a numerical technique that sits at the heart of most of the computational techniques used in structural, fluid and heat transfer analysis. Dividing large domains into smaller elements helps find approximate solutions to many real-world problems that may not be easily possible through analytical methods.

Manufacturing (CIM)

Manufacturing today is loosely used to include all factory functions including product design, development, etc. Related terms are Production Engineering and Industrial Engineering. Manufacturing Engineering finds applications in Precision Manufacturing, Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS), Automation and Reverse engineering, Quality assurance and control, etc. It involves planning, managing and control of the operations of a manufacturing plant with the aid of computers. There are several subsections under manufacturing engineering like computer graphics, computer numeric control, material removal processes, medical device development, laser machining, modeling of manufacturing processes, microstructural mechanics, inventory management, etc.

Computer graphics, CNC, Rapid Product development, etc. involve more of coding. Material removal processes and modelling of manufacturing processes deals with drilling, cutting, forming, etc. where you need to understand the physics of the problem. This requires you to have more of an analytical approach and generally involves less coding but more of simulation using softwares like ANSYS, COMSOL, ABACUS, etc. Inventory management and quality assurance are more management related topics and require knowledge of statistical techniques. We have research facilities and courses in another important area of research, which relates this branch with material science. With weight reduction having great demand almost everywhere in today’s world, research in manufacturing using lighter materials like composites is a hot topic these days.

Thermal and Fluid Engineering (TFE)

TFE is one of the foundational themes of ME and a core competency of the department. It finds applications in diverse systems such as air conditioners and refrigerators, fuel cells, IC engines, MRI and NMR machines, nuclear reactors, power plants, satellites and re-entry vehicles, steam and gas turbines, turbomachinery, and so on. It attempts to answer questions like:

How do cats lap up liquids like water or milk so elegantly?
Why does a falling column of liquid, like the water from your tap, tend to break up into a series of droplets?
How are Rafael Nadal and Michael Phelps empirical fluid mechanists without even knowing it?
On a sunny day, why is it more comfortable to walk on soil than to walk on rocks? Both are at the same temperature and yet the rocks feel much hotter than the soil.

TFE requires an understanding of concepts in thermodynamics, fluid mechanics and heat transfer. Knowledge of calculus, differential equations and numerical analysis along with some computer programming is also needed. These form the foundation of all applied and advanced subjects in TFE. TFE overlaps with many fields of study, e.g. aerospace engineering, earth sciences, energy science and engineering, environmental engineering, and physics.

Current research in the department encompasses combustion, computational fluid dynamics and heat transfer, cryogenics, enhanced heat transfer, geophysical flows, high performance computing, microfluidics and nanofluidics, multiphase flows, nuclear engineering, numerical methods, reactor safety, refrigeration and air conditioning, shock physics, thermal hydraulics, and turbulence.

What after you are a Mechanical Engineer?

As is evident from the write-up, Mechanical Engineering as a discipline will always be present in the industry and the demand of Mechanical engineers working on collaborative projects with engineers of other fields will always be there. Depending on one’s interest, there are plenty of avenues. After graduation, there are students who go for MS and PHD in Mechanical Engineering to reputed universities throughout the globe (the likes of Stanford, MIT, Caltech, Michigan, Carnegie Mellon, etc.). Some take up jobs in core engineering companies (like General Electric, Schlumberger, Sony, Daikin, etc.). Some students also enter the field of entrepreneurship through their own startups (both core and non-core). Many others take up jobs in the non-core sector (consult, finance, analytics, IT, etc.) in top multinational companies (like Mckinsey, Goldman Sachs, American Express, Procter and Gamble, etc.) which come to the institute for placements. The remaining either pursue MBA (from top colleges like IIMs) or the UPSC Exams depending upon their interest.

Additional information

Link to Department Website: http://www.me.iitb.ac.in/home/
Link to Department DAMP Blog: https://iitbmechdamp.wordpress.com/

Department Alumni

Antariksh Bothale, Mechanical Engineering Dual Degree (2011)

As someone who enjoys breadth of learning, I opted for Mechanical Engineering during JEE Counseling because I found it to be fairly broad-based among all the viable choices available to me, and the general course content felt interesting. As a dual degree student, I’ve spent a lot of time with the department, both due to an increased number of courses and because of the DDP (final year Dual Degree Project).

It might be almost a cliché among all the alumni accounts you'll read in this section, but I really did enjoy my academic life at IITB. There were plenty of good professors and interesting courses in the department, and I started liking even tiny things (such as quizzes late in the night) which had felt weird in the beginning :). Earlier, the department used to be more TFE (Thermal and Fluids Engg.) heavy, but that has changed in the last few years, so, you can expect to have larger variety of courses in the other sub-fields too. There's also plenty of active student-managed projects that you can be a part of if you find them interesting—from FSAE to BAJA to autonomous underwater vehicles, Robocon and the like. There's plenty to keep you occupied if you find Mechanical Engg. interesting and fun.

For most people, their undergrad years are some of the most formative parts of their life, and I am no different. There’s a lot that IITB teaches you—whether it be in lectures or outside. The other day, I was trying to solve JEE exam questions from this year’s paper (the one you aced). Although my JEE preparation days are, thankfully, 8-9 years in the past, I could solve most of the questions using first principles that only seem to have been strengthened during my time at IIT. I realized that, especially in Physics, I had a much deeper understanding of most of the topics because of my training as a Mechanical Engineer.

Most department at IITs have associated reputations. I don’t know what the current ‘fashion’ is, but I found Mech to be a good department to be in, and I didn’t find substance in the slight bit of fear-mongering I had initially been subjected to about how it was a difficult department to be in. While it’s true that I have since moved to a different field and industry (I did an MS in Computational Linguistics after working in Management Consulting for a year and now working in the software industry), I had a great time in the department during my IITB time.

Like most other things, how much IITB gives you depends on how much you are willing to take out of it. There is a lot that this place has to offer, and I hope that you will use all the resources here as best as you can.

Chinmay Deo, Mechanical Engineering Dual Degree, Minor in Electrical Engineering (2013)

While deciding my branch I had spoken to a few people who had gone to IIT, and being from Bombay, I decided that I wanted to study in IIT-Bombay. That along with the fact that I really liked the Mechanics & Thermodynamics section from the JEE syllabus, and was told that Mechanical Engg would be closely related to it. Later on, the field turned out to be completely different from what I thought it would be, but in a good way. Good freedom in terms of choosing courses & electives, the opportunity to do research in your undergraduate years, approachable professors and some of the smartest classmates you can find!

At IIT Bombay, I was focussed on my academics, since for me that was one of the main reasons I had entered IIT and I enjoyed most of my courses. As a dual degree student, I had the opportunity to work on a year long research project as my masters thesis in the field of control systems[a mixture of mechanical & electrical engineering]. Some of the exciting areas in Mechanical Engineering are Product Design/Product Development, Micro & Nano engineering - studying the mechanical properties of micro/nano-level structures as products get smaller every year, Robotics(includes large doses of electrical engineering and computer science as well). In the Mechanical Department @ IITB, students can expect exposure to a wide variety of general engineering subjects, access to some top quality professors. Also - mechanical engineering courses are famous for their 9pm-10pm quizzes on a few nights every week :)

What you end up doing after IIT is largely a function of what you do in IIT. What you have done before entering IIT doesn't matter at all. At IIT-B, you can be assured of access to a huge variety of opportunities, both in terms of jobs(either at multinationals, large indian companies or startups), research(in labs, colleges, or external organizations), further degrees(MS/PhD/MBA) or even entering fields not related to science at all(public policy, government, non profits etc). I am currently working with Avanti - an enterprise that tries to get more low-income kids into top quality engineering/science colleges(such as IIT-B) through running our own programs across the country. We are currently working with over 1200 students across 12 locations. We are currently growing our organization multiple times over every year and the expansion process, and spreading education to students across interior India is what really excites me!

Apart from the fact that I have met my closest friends in IIT, I think I have learnt a few important things from my time here -
1. Always be humble - all of you will have this realization as soon as you enter IIT and meet people who are better than you in almost every field imaginable(both in and out of the classroom)
2. Use the next 4/5 years to try as many new things as possible without fear of failure - you will never get this freedom again. Learn to fail at things - most people entering IIT have only experienced success for all of their life.
3. Do not be blindly influenced by what other people say - There will always be people around you telling you to do certain things, or to do things in a certain way. Listen to their opinion, consider it, and then do what you feel is right
4. Your opinion about most things will change, as will your likes/dislikes - you, your parents, and your friends should be prepared for it
5. What you get from IIT is purely dependant on how much you involve yourself in things - be it academics or extra-curricular activities. If you love engineering, you can build racecars and travel the world. If you love drama you can do a play at the best theatres in the country. If you love singing, you can perform in front of a crowd of thousands. If you love research, you can work with the best universities & professors in the world. There is no ceiling!

Department Activities

IITB Racing

IIT Bombay Racing is a cross-functional student team of about 70 racing enthusiasts, spread across various engineering disciplines. We design and fabricate electric race cars from scratch to compete at Formula Student Competition which is held annually at the Silverstone Circuit in UK and is one of the foremost student design competitions in the world. It not only gives teams exposure to applied engineering techniques but also to marketing, time management, team building, budgeting and business presentation skills.

You will be amazed to know that the car with the highest acceleration in the world is an electric Formula Student car by team from University of Stuttgart with an incredible acceleration of 0-100 kmph in just 1.779s! That’s how big this competition really is. We have always been the premier team from India and have earned regard in the international community as well with our rapid progress. Thrice in a row, the team has been awarded the 3000 GBP IMechE Formula Student Award, which is awarded to only two teams outside of UK. Next year too, we need a great team to pull off this grand project. We select people based on shear enthusiasm and understanding of basic concepts. We look forward to have your participation in the team next year!

Radiance

The Annual Research and Technology Festival of the Department of Mechanical Engineering of IIT Bombay.

Radiance is the annual research and technological festival of our department. With an aim to provide a platform for budding researchers, innovators and technocrats, Radiance organizes technical competitions, research paper presentations, lectures, workshops, and exhibitions for students and enthusiasts across India.

Radiance aims to bring the best minds of the country together on a common platform so that innovative ideas could come forth and newer opportunities could be created. Students have come up with extremely subtle solutions to Industry Defined Problems at Radiance. Vaigyaniki , the Research Paper presentation event has met with an overwhelming response. The Lectures and workshops conducted over the previous editions have also been well appreciated.We endeavour to carry forward the Radiance legacy in the coming years