Thursday, October 06, 2011

A few IISc ideas help make Boeing dream

On September 26, when Boeing made the first delivery of its next-generation 787 Dreamliner aircraft to Japan’s All Nippon Airways (ANA), there were puffed chests at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bangalore, too. Over the last few years, IISc has emerged as one of only two places outside of the United States to be designated as Boeing Company research centres — the other being the Cambridge University — working on futuristic aircraft technology including modelling, simulation and testing for the Boeing 787.

What started in 2005 as a five-year agreement, where Boeing funneled $ 500,000 per year to IISc for advanced research, has now evolved into a long-term strategic tie-up that currently puts IISc alongside the likes of Caltech, Stanford, Carnegie Mellon, the Illinois Institute of Technology, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)for Boeing research. The tie-up has now produced over two dozen papers from faculty in various departments at IISc covering “nanotechnologies, structural alloys, composites, smart materials and structures, process modelling and simulation, manufacturing technologies, substructure fabrication and testing”.

“The strategic alliance between IISc and Boeing has turned out to be a fruitful one. Boeing is continuing to engage with us. Projects cover several advanced technology areas and several scientific papers have already been published by IISc researchers,” says Prof. C. E. Veni Madhav, the chief executive at IISc’s Society for Innovation and Development (SID) that facilitates industry tie-ups.

Aerospace engineering and materials engineering for aerospace requirements have traditionally been strong points of research at IISc, contributing to India’s attempts at military aviation self-reliance and space faring over the last six decades. While scientists at IISc are not sure if their research over the last five years has gone into the first version of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, delayed by three years when delivered, one of the mandates of the Boeing-IISc tie up, according to the SID, is to contribute to the 787’s development.

“What we are doing for Boeing is basically blue sky research. We are looking completely at futuristic technologies and are not concerned with what goes where in the aircraft. Some of the work may or may not be relevant right now,” says Prof. S. Gopalakrishnan of the Department of Aerospace Engineering who has worked on a few Boeing-funded research papers. “As researchers we are primarily concerned with the publication of papers. That’s our bread and butter. We would be happy if our work is utilised for Boeing technologies.”

The work by IISc researchers under the Boeing collaboration includes the development of smart aerospace structures, studies on and development of alloys, and computing and electrical communications. The innovation, design study and sustainability (IDeaS) laboratory at IISc’s Centre for Product Design and Manufacturing has worked on a sustainable manufacturing project for Boeing.

Source: The Indian Express, October 6, 2011

No comments:

Post a Comment

Blog Archive