Accentuating Research: Prof. Subrata Kumar Panda
Sep 19, 2016 | Debasis Choudhury
Belonging from a humble background, Professor S.K Panda has traversed a long way from being a student who used to walk 10 kilometres to reach his school and reaching the stage where he could publish 93 research papers is a commendable feat. Research is something we value at our institute and Prof. Panda seems to be a perfect example for learners who are willing to devote their time for research activities. The journey started way back in his B. Tech days in 2001 while studying in C.V Raman College of Engineering, Bhubaneswar where he did a project on “Dynamic Behaviour Analysis of Turbine Rotor Bearing System by Transfer Matrix Method”. It basically gives a new model which would give real-time solutions to the different types of materials which could be used at places which have an analysis of vibration of materials. It is applicable to the problems in the daily life which we solve using CAD softwares, wherein we transform a physical problem into a mathematical model and there after looking for the most feasible solution in order to get the responses. Then moving onto his Masters days at Shibpur University where he did a thesis relating to Biomechanics. It was an Asian Interventional Cardiovascular Therapeutics (AICT) project and was working under Prof. Jayanta Kumar Chakravorty. Along with his colleagues, he decided to take up this field of research which was not so popular back then. It basically consisted of an optical imaging system to measure body contact pressure. It was used by shoe and mattress making industries who focus on the pressure zones in our body for their purposes. The job was to reduce the pressure index in the human body. The research also included predicting problems such as diabetes, flat foot problem, arthritis, etc. just from the gait pattern of the person! This belongs to the area of clinical mechanics and bio medical engineering. The project couldn’t take wings as he didn’t get support from the research aspirants at IIT Delhi and IIT BHU but is satisfied with the effort he put in.
Like every research aspirant in the first decade of the 21st century, Prof. S.K Panda got to do his Ph.D. from IIT Kharagpur. “Nonlinear Vibration Analysis of Thermally Post-Buckled Composite Shell Panels with and without Shape Memory Alloy Fibres”, the thesis is about reducing the destructive nature of materials when they face extreme environment changes. A phenomenon like buckling was sought to curb and the materials longevity was increased with the technique of fabrication by introducing foreign materials, in the process making enduring composites. Materials like SME can actuate minor changes as well as changes up to 10-degree C and are the materials of the future believes Prof. Panda.
After completing his student life, he moved on to the teaching arena. He served as a professor in CV Raman College of Engineering and in KIIT University, an experience amounting to 4 years. Being a curious research mind, he did a project in KIIT University. The project was about “Numerical Analysis” which includes comparing the mechanical behaviour of materials like buckling, post-buckling, vibration and bending of functionally graded and lamented structures. The project was backed by AICT. The field of functionally graded materials is a less trodden one and from the practical point of view, scholars have worked only in layers. There is a lot of scope in this field as lacunae of composites such as de-bonding due to high temperatures and there is a huge part of the subject left uncovered.
Prof. Panda shifted to NIT Rourkela in the year 2011 with a belief of better research scope and facilities. The first B. Tech project which made under his supervision was the “Automated Gupchup Machine” and was done by Prakash Sarangi. With the help of the Prof. S.S Mohapatra, now the HOD of the department. The project was put under TEQIP and a financial assistance of 50,000 INR was provided. All the parts of the machine didn’t work properly for the first time as there was some problem in the electronic circuit. The project was finally completed and the patent has been applied for. He is also currently focusing on “Biomechanics” along with Prof. Dr. Shashank Jena on “Orthopaedic Implants”, redesigning of implants in the lower limb using carbon fibre in shoes which would help people with chronic disease like polio to have a better lease of life. Numerically the model is ready using 3-D mechanics though the experimental setup is still in its nascent stage.
Being a SRF fellow of DRDO, New Delhi and bagging a silver medal in his masters, Prof. Panda in the future is planning to work with Prof. Behera of Ceramic Department are trying to find some structural analysis of the materials, checking their frequency, its range, enquiring whether any epoxy could be used to improve the materials stability and is focussing on the non-elasticity mathematical model for the distance between the two atoms in a carbon atom. This comes as a part of the carbon nanotubes field of study.
Quoting him regarding the research facilities and what goes into being a hard-working research scholar:
“Our institute has a lot of scope for research and has the basic equipments for it. Although some of the equipments in some of our laboratories aren’t in working condition and needs to be replaced or repaired. According to me, research is a self—driven force and you have to be a little psycho about anything you do, as it provides you with suffice energy to go out and deliver the goods, every day.”