RESEARCH

Summary of Research accomplishments

I have authored 2 books, 5 book chapters, 15 journals, 28 conference papers, 3 patents and 12 patents in process. I received £ 1 million ($ 1,517,300) for a joint funding on “Engineering Driven Sustainable Supply Network Design, DST (India)-EPSRC (UK) joint project on advance manufacturing (Co-PI), 2014-2017” – this is possibly one of the highest research funding at assistant professor level in India and possibly in many other countries. My total grants received are (i) as PI = Rs. 1570,000 ($ 24,847) (ii) as Co-PI= Rs. 41350,000 ($ 654,375). I am supervising three PhD students and have publications with all of them as co-authors.

Research motivation

Design and manufacturing of goods remains a significant part of the U.S. economy, generating $1.64 trillion worth of goods in 2008 [1]. Design and manufacturing go hand in hand, and substantially impact the economy of USA and its GDP [2]. Many researchers have repeatedly echoed the importance of product design and manufacturing [3]–[5]. Compared to the overall cost of a design project, the design cost is a relatively small part; and yet they have a fundamental effect on the overall cost, manufacturing, durability, serviceability and utility of the product [6]. Additionally, sustainable design and manufacturing plays an important role in developing long-term goodwill among customers, helps create a more sustainable society, and reduces burden on the environment.

Research theme

Companies in many countries especially in India, UK, and USA are looking to gain market share by reducing costs and increasing reliability through improved design practice [7]. My research is focused on the development of tools and techniques of product design and manufacturing, specifically during the conceptual design- to create novel and useful products and processes, and improve them. Specific research interests of mine are product design, sustainable design and manufacturing, creativity and innovation, design research (including design theory and methodology, design methods, and problem solving), and Bio-mimicry in engineering design. Below, I present brief descriptions of some research projects that I was involved and research projects that I intend to get involved.

Research achievements (PhD and postdoctoral research)

My PhD thesis work is on Design creativity. My thesis advisor is Professor Amaresh Chakrabarti, Director of IDEAS Laboratory in the Centre for Product Design and Manufacturing at Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore. IISc is the best graduate institute in India with a world rank of 76.

The research aimed to enhance creativity of engineering designers by providing a support that encourages exploration and search of new concept spaces in the conceptual phase of design by applying appropriate triggers. During this time, I have also worked on Bio-mimicry. The project was funded by Indian space research organization (ISRO). The aim was to help satellite designers of ISRO design suitable antenna deployment system using solutions from nature (Bio-mimicry). This work has resulted five journal publications and one patent.

My postdoctoral research is on Sustainable Design and Manufacturing at National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Gaithersburg with Dr. Sudarsan Rachuri in the Manufacturing Engineering laboratory. NIST previously known as NBS, is a US government research laboratory. My research efforts at NIST include metrics, standards, and design for sustainability. I have initiated various research projects such as developing a comprehensive analysis of standards and regulations and finding suitable sustainability indicators for various industries.

My research areas are:

  • Product design
  • Sustainability and eco design
  • Creativity and innovation
  • Engineering design and industrial design
  • Manufacturing
  • Design research, design methods, design process, and bio-mimicry
  • Design theory and methodology, ergonomics, aesthetics, and problem solving

Current research

Presently, I am conducting research on sustainable design and manufacturing and design research. I started three new laboratories: Sustainable Design and Manufacturing (SDM) Laboratory and Design Research (DR) Laboratory, and Design Studio (DS) Laboratory. Currently, I am working on three research objectives:

Sustainable design and manufacturing: In the SDM laboratory, we are developing a tool for aiding designers assess and improve product’s sustainability during the conceptual stage of design.

In sustainable machining, we are investigating two areas: use of surface textured cutting tools to reduce cutting forces during manufacturing, thus reducing energy requirement during cutting, and the use of ionic fluids during machining.

We are also working how to eliminate coolants during manufacturing, which are otherwise harmful to the environment. For this, we investigate the use of ionic fluids as lubricants to be used as Minimum Quantity Lubricants (MQL).

Design research: In the DR laboratory, I work on collaborative design, design research methodologies and creativity methods. Here I work on two areas: creativity and collaborative design. Additionally, I started working on aesthetics too.

Product design: DS laboratory is dedicated to the design and development of products by undergraduate students. Here we are interested in assessing creative designers.

References

[1]        “MEP_advisory_report_4_24l.pdf.” [Online]. Available: www.nist.gov/mep/upload/MEP_advisory_report_4_24l.pdf. [Accessed: 07-Dec-2012].

[2]        D. SWEZEY and R. McCONAGHY, “MANUFACTURING.”

[3]        G. Pahl, W. Beitz, and K. Wallace, Engineering design, vol. 984. Design Council London, 1984.

[4]        K. N. Otto and K. L. Wood, Product design. Prentice hall Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 2000.

[5]        K. T. Ulrich and S. D. Eppinger, Product design and development, vol. 384. McGraw-Hill New York, 1995.

[6]        J. Miles and C. Moore, Practical knowledge-based systems in conceptual design. Springer-Verlag New York, Inc., 1994.

[7]        J. Jarrett and P. J. Clarkson, “The surge-stagnate model for complex design,” J. Eng. Des., vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 189–196, 2002.