Lokamanya Chikmath of Jain (Deemed-to-be University) won the Tech Mahindra Young Engineer Award, 2014, for the category Structural Health Monitoring. He is pursuing his Ph.D. in “Structural Health Monitoring of Fastener Joints: Prognostics Approach” at the International Institute of Aerospace Engineering and Management (IIAEM).
Lokamanya explained the concept of structural health monitoring when quizzed about the subject. "To explain it in layman’s language, it is like a doctor monitoring the health of a human body. Similarly, a structure is monitored regularly for the presence of any damage and damage growth in its structure. The residual strength and life of the structure are estimated through this process," he says.
Lokamanya confirms that India already does Structural Health Monitoring of its structures and it involves a lot of non-destructive and sensor technology. “It’s quite expensive, but these technologies are already in use in our country,” he says. Non-destructive and sensor technologies vary from ultrasonic to acoustic emission, which gauges existing damage of the structure and its components and tracks the scale of damage.
His concept of fastener joints in structural health monitoring enabled him to win first place in the Tech Mahindra Young Engineer Contest. Success did not come overnight though and he researched the topic for long durations. “It is not like a winning concept. Structural Health Monitoring is my research topic and I worked on it. The concept is about estimating the residual strength and remaining life of a very primary joint, which if left unanalyzed and unattended could cause a catastrophe,” he says.
Professor B Dattaguru, visiting faculty of IIAEM, is Lokamanya's constant source of inspiration and the award encourages him to aim higher, and take-up ideas that are even more interesting. Lokamanya does not think that it is challenging to do engineering research in India, "Everyone says it is challenging. But I have not faced it to that extent." He is also very appreciative of the help rendered by Jain (Deemed-to-be University) in his career, "IIAEM, Jain (Deemed-to-be University), has played a tremendous role in my success. It has given me some of the necessary tools for my analysis."
Lokamanya is passionate about his research and intends to serve the nation in a better way through his extensive research.