If you love the combination of Physics & Maths, kinematics and fluid mechanics, and are really fascinated with the aero and astro flights of Iron man, this is the stream for you. It's an amalgamation of multiple disciplines: Electrical and computer science (Avionics), kinematics and fluid dynamics (Flight mechanics & Aircraft stability), material sciences and thermodynamics etc. So it's a wide wide field. Let's explore it further to understand what goes on inside and the future scope and opportunities.
Aeronautics is a not so old branch of engineering dedicated to the age-old dream of man to fly like birds. And that's what it essential deals with, flying in the air (atmosphere). After the second world war, the horizons expanded and the men started looking towards outer space. So the term was changed to Aerospace with two distinct subfields: Aeronautics (for atmospheric flights) and Astronautics (for space flights).
Fields of Application, Research and Jobs
This field specializes in areas of design, construction, development, testing and maintenance of aircraft, jets, choppers, spacecraft rockets, and space stations. This includes applications of a variety of principles and is one of the most challenging and, at the same time, fascinating branches of engineering. The subdivisions of an aerospace engineering curriculum usually consist of courses on propulsion, structures, robotics, navigation, control & guidance, manufacturing, spaceflight, aerodynamics, advanced fluid dynamics, material sciences and flight mechanics. Some of the research areas are:
- Aeroacoustics: generation, propagation, and minimization of sound produced by various engineering systems in air
- Aerodynamics: iced airfoil aerodynamics and smart icing systems, yaw control of reentry vehicle, fluid dynamics associated with supersonic bump compression, wake characteristics of rotating objects, airfoil design, and wind tunnel testing of various vehicles and components.
- Aerospace system design and simulation: the development of an empirical cost model to predict aerospace vehicle operating costs as a function of thrust power, a comprehensive systems approach to the design of powered spacecraft for cislunar, planetary, and interstellar scientific space missions, and work on the flight simulations and encounter scenarios.
- Astrodynamics: recovery of satellites that fail to achieve geostationary orbit, multiple types of trajectory design, asteroid interception and rendezvous, solar sail and tether system design, in-space propulsion assessment, integrated technology assessment, technologies for the OTIS program, and multifunction stochastic optimization.
- Combustion and Propulsion: various types of flows and flames, smoulder waves, convective burning of cracks in energetic materials, mesoscale simulation of combustion, various types of propellants and thrusters, high-performance solar sails, and heat exchangers for air liquefaction and separation.
- Computational Fluid Dynamics: A 3-D inverse design using sectional 3-D analysis, aerodynamic design with an analytical asymptotic solution approach, and shape optimization for transonic compressors.
- Structure Dynamics and Systems: biomolecular dynamics, mixing of passive S tracers, noisy nonlinear systems, nonlinear functional differential equations, the stability of nonlinear stochastic systems, and global behaviour of nonlinear aeroelastic flat panels
- Structural Mechanics: various aspects of anisotropic, stochastic, linear and nonlinear viscoelastic, others focus on hierarchical learning networks, solid propellant and filament-wound rock cases, and thick thermosetting matrix composite manufacturing.
- Avionics: Signal processing and communications, semiconductors and IC design, electronics and navigation systems for Robotics/rovers, control systems and microwave engineering.
- Aviation Biofuels: Primarily to reduce the carbon footprint of the industry by relying more and more on biofuels.
Studies and Career Options
Since this is a very niche field which requires huge expertise and therefore, a masters degree is essential to do well. Career opportunities are there in defence, government as well as private sectors. You could also go into research after doing a PhD. Some of the companies or institutions involved in this field are; HAL, NAL, DRDO, ISRO, NASA etc. Private companies such as L & T, Godrej & Boyce aerospace, Boeing, Airbus, Mahindra, etc. One can also go for the Indian Air Force and Indian Navy. Now, the job opportunities for graduates (with only a Bachelors' degree) is very meagre. But doing a masters significantly increase the options. Also, it becomes very lucrative after a few years of experience. Even if you don't have a degree in aeronautics, having a higher degree in any of the core fields such as CS, Electrical and Electronics, IT, Mechanical, Applied Mechanics, Civil etc could get you an entry in this field.
Opening and Closing Ranks (2018) of Top Colleges Offering Aerospace and Aeronautical Engineering
Given below are the most sought after courses in India and their opening and closing ranks in their respective entrance exams:
|College/Institute||Course & Duration||Category & Entrance Exam||Opening Rank||Closing Rank|
|Indian Institute of Technology Madras||Aerospace Engineering (4 Years, B Tech)||AI/ JEE Advanced||1270||2493|
|Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur||Aerospace Engineering (4 Years, B Tech)||AI/ JEE Advanced||1800||2944|
|Indian Institute of Technology Bombay||Aerospace Engineering (4 Years, B Tech)||AI/ JEE Advanced||1040||1974|
|Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur||Aerospace Engineering (4 Years, B Tech)||AI/ JEE Advanced||2408||3136|
|Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology, Shibpur||Aerospace Engineering (4 Years, B Tech)||HS/ JEE Main||3729||20377|
|Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology||Aerospace Engineering (4 Years, B Tech)||AI/ JEE Advanced||312|
|Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology||Dual Degree |
(B.Tech. + Master of Science/Master of Technology)
|AI/ JEE Advanced||74|
Other important colleges in India which offer this course are:
- Punjab Engineering College
- Hindustan Engineering College
- Madras Institute of Technology
- Manipal University
- Anna University
- Indian Institute of Aeronautical Engineering, (Dehradun)
Stay tuned for updates on other streams.
All the best!!
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