Nikhil Gupta's Indian summer

Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Nikhil Gupta just returned from a whirlwind three-week tour of India. The occasion was his having been awarded the 2007 visiting lectureship by the American Society for Materials and the Indian Institute of Metals.

This joint award recognizes the members of ASM International who have gained experience of interest to industrial, government or academic organizations in India. The visiting lectureship aims to bring together qualified visitors and the appropriate organizations in India.

During his tour, Gupta presented lectures on his research, which focuses on hollow particle-filled composites called syntactic foams, to Indian materials engineers and students. He also toured research facilities and met some of the leaders in Indian composite materials development.

His first stop, on July 16, was at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, where groups work on metal and polymer matrix composites. In addition to his lecture, Gupta discussed technical issues currently faced in processing and applications of composite materials with the groups. Two days later, Gupta visited C.R.L. Murthy’s laboratory in the aerospace engineering department. Murthy’s group, which is in the forefront of non-destructive evaluation of composite materials, helps Indian defense, aeronautical and space organizations to evaluate the structural integrity of their aerospace structures.

Gupta’s second lecture, at the National Aerospace Laboratories, was organized by the Indian Society for Advancement of Materials and Processing Engineering. The audience of more than 75 people included representatives of NAL, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and the Indian Space Research Organisation. The lecture was followed by a visit to NAL’s Advanced Composites Division. Gupta and the division’s director, R.M.V.G.K. Rao, then discussed the current and potential applications of advanced composite materials in aerospace structures, as well as challenges faced by these applications. Gupta then proceeded to the Aeronautical Development Establishment’s Composites Technology Center, which develops structural applications solutions for Indian-made small aircraft.

Gupta finished his tour on July 27 by lecturing to the IIM’s Jaipur chapter at the Malaviya National Institute of Technology. Afterwards, many of the students in attendance queried him about studying and working in the U.S.