Monday, 24 September 2018

Participation in EAWE 14th PhD Seminar at Brussels

EAWE (European Academy of wind energy) provides a forum to PhD students working in the area of wind-energy to network and exchange ideas. For this year, the networking seminar happened in Vrije University Brussels, Belgium.
This time even few industries working for wind-energy sector participated in this EAWE PhD Seminar to let researchers know about future opportunities and focus areas of these companies.

I got chance to present my work “Fatigue reliability analysis of onshore wind turbine foundations”

In addition, my colleagues from INFRASTAR #ESR7 (Gianluca), #ESR8 (Joey) & #ESR11 (Sima) participated with their presentations.

Social part of the EAWE program was fantastic as it was planned at Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (
This museum has great collection of Vertebrate Fossils (‘Wealden’ dinosaurs from the Cretaceous period, from Belgium), even the large mammals of the Quaternary period, from Belgium (including woolly rhinoceros, mammoths, cave lions and cave bears).

We got chance to dine with dinosaurs :D.

Overall, attending EAWE was fun packed event including, interaction with industry, knowing fellow colleagues working in same area, getting some new ideas, knowing one more country and one more city and local culture in short  ;).

Keep a track on my blog; I will be visiting Belgium again for IALCCE at Ghent to present my conference paper. 

Friday, 29 June 2018

The national test center for testing large wind mills: a wonderful visit

I got opportunity to visit Det Nationale Testcenter for store Vindmøller (The national test center for large windmills) as part of INFRASTAR 3# training week held at Aalborg University.

This is a test center in northwest part of Denmark 7 kilometres from North Sea in a  place named Østerild. The location is chosen close to seacoast to simulate the conditions at offshore, however the location should be easily/cheaply accessible for technicians for improving the performance of prototypes. These multi-megawatt turbines, if installed at sea, it would be difficult access and to install them. However, on land they can be installed easily by gigantic land cranes specially designed for this purpose at very cheap cost.

To test large wind turbines there is need to atleast 8m/s (~30kmph) wind speed at 100 m height above sea level. Which is available here owing to the flat topography of the area.

This is the only place in the world big enough to test next generation wind turbines. This place can be visited by tourists, school going children. At office of the test center they have very nice prototypes of wind turbines, a lot of videos showing how a wind turbine is installed answering all queries.

Also they placed a small wind testing tunnel for a layman to understand how models of wind turbine are tested in laboratory.

This specific wind turbine in test center is equipped with direct drive technology where gear box is not present and main shaft is directly attached to generator saving a lot of maintainance cost where this industry observe a lot of failures in gearboxes.

However, this direct drive technology comes up with heavy weight of Nacelle putting more load on tower structure. Here concrete tower is used to support the wind turbine to save cost as steel tower would be a costly affair.

I am very happy that I am working as an ESR for INFRASTAR project where I get opportunity to work in Denmark (world leader for wind turbine technology). Keep following my blog for all recent updates.

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

A visit to Aalborg Portland Company

I am working with concrete industry and have interest in concrete structures, does not mean I look like this :D

However, I was willing to visit Aalborg Portland Company since I moved to Aalborg in November 2016. In addition, I am very close neighbour to Aalborg Portland Company. I always used to wonder about the lake near my house, which I cannot really visit, as it has no public access!

This dream came to reality, when the company itself approached Aalborg University. They had plan to meet interested professionals in concrete research industry at company premises with an offer of lunch!
The idea behind this visit was a win-win situation for both company as well as PhD candidate. Company would like to see potential candidates who would be willing to join company and candidates/ PhD fellows have opportunity to talk to all technical experts in the company and to the HR management along with their expectations.
Now something about Visit, and interesting facts of the company!
·         This company was founded in 19th century in 1889!
·         This company one of the largest producer of white cement in the world
·         They need white chock for creating this white cement, which is available here in Aalborg in abundance. The lake we see in above map is a man-made lake which is excavated by a gigantic excavator in last 50 years by taking out the chock. They have sufficient chock for next 50 years.

We have been accompanied by an old employee who served the company for more than 50 years, named Bob! You can see him in below picture talking to me J

We have also been taken to control room of the factory where only few people control all daily operations of the company. See below picture.

The quality control department works in Aalborg controlling quality of all other factories worldwide. 
This is the department where all specialists work controlling quality of produced cement.

 Below figure gives flow diagram for a typical white cement production

I would take an opportunity to thank you for reading my blog, stay tuned to INFRASTAR.

Friday, 23 March 2018

Exploring Raw Talent from Rural India

Recently I was in India for my annual vacations and decided to visit some rural schools to explain children about future opportunities as part of study abroad. Staying in rural part they mostly lack exposure and I got chance to explain all students different carrier paths they can take having raw talent inside, setting myself as an example having same background of rural India.

All the time these students have a notion that, if wish to study abroad then you need to have a huge financial back up and need to spend a lot of money from your own pocket. I explained the children about merit scholarships they can have for studying abroad for example, Erasmus Mundus Masters programs and Marie Skłodowska-Curie PhD programs, Its hard for all these small kids even teachers of the school that, I am getting paid such a huge stipend just for studying, its beyond their imagination!!

They had some basic questions like:

Why European Union is paying me for studying there?
Even I am not a European citizen, why and how they selected me and pay me?
How much time I spend for my study?
It is only based on merit I could get the scholarship or I have some relatives there who helped me?

It was really fun explaining these small kids about all these so that they can have a vision for shaping their future and let them know that its not money which is required but talent and merit is important to get into such prestigious projects like the one I am now working for INFRASTAR.

This visited school is located in very remote location and we can see hidden beauty of India there, recently I was in Switzerland as part of my project secondment and I can compare this beauty with that of Switzerland only difference I found is snow ;)

I take this opportunity to ask you to visit all my other blogs and stay tuned with INFRASTAR or

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Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Visit to Chillon Viaduct …………. First time inside the deck of a bridge
Chillon castle is well known monument with history dating 11th century as it’s situated in a strategic location connecting the way between south and north.

Besides Chillon castle there is one more monument in Swiss mountains which is Chillon Viaduct, beautifully designed civil engineering concrete box Girder Bridge built in 1969.

As part of INFRASTAR project I got opportunity to work on Chillon viaduct where EPFL MCS department is performing long term monitoring of strains inside box girder to know more about the structure and its performance in fatigue.

Picture below shows monitoring set up inside the box girder of Chillon Viaduct.

Monitoring set up covered with wooden box

Total monitoring set up consisted of electrical strain gauges which measures strains in reinforcement (transverse and longitudinal) at a frequency of ~ 100 Hz. Temperature gauges are installed on all four sides of box girder to measure variation of temperature in structure. Accelerometers are also installed to know dynamic behaviour of the bridge. This long term monitoring will be used to know the fatigue behaviour of the bridge for real time traffic.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

A road trip for first secondment of my PhD from Aalborg to Lausanne ~1455 kilometres

Just to have some fun and explore more of Europe I decided to take a road trip instead of flight from Aalborg (North Denmark) for my secondment in EPFL (Lausanne, Switzerland). Otherwise, an international PhD program like INFRASTAR will have busy schedule and lot of travelling.
Planning of road trip was itself exiting to me, as I never drive in Europe out of Denmark; my international licence was helpful for this purpose. As I have to travel with my wife and 23 months daughter, I have to make a good plan so that small one does not get tired and still we can manage to drive approx. 1455 kms.

Some homework was done in order to know general speed limits and countries I am crossing
·       290 kms in Denmark
·       970 kms in Germany
·       ~200 kms in Switzerland

Benchmark planning was made to follow timeline during travel and a booking through AIRBNB is made to stay near Kassel Germany.

Tentative plan was as below:
·       Start by 6:00 from home earlier is better
·       Lunch in Hamburg which is 450 kms from home
o   Time required would be 5 hours maximum (it would be 11 to 11:30)
·       Stay in Kassel which is again 400 kms from Hamburg (then we covered 850kms)
o   Further time required would be again 5-5:30 hours (it would be 6:30 to 7:00)
o   Remaining 610 kms for next day.
·       Start after breakfast and enter Switzerland ASAP approx. 300 kms from Frankfurt
·       Spend some time in Switzerland on the way for lunch and dinner
·       Reach home in Lausanne for sleeping

Actual travel started earlier by 5:45 from Denmark, it was full rainy weather and dark day we could see first sunshine only in Germany after 14:30 hoursL. As we can see in google map above lot of roadworks going on in Germany may be its normal during summer, which took a lot of time than expected. Good part is I can see a lot wind turbines, wind farms all over Denmark, a lot them in North Germany near to highway A7. In addition, a lot of nice architectural bridges in Germany so a lot of scope for INFRASTAR ESRs to work upon in future.

Finally we reached our mid halt in a small German village named Fuldabrück around 19:00 hrs. It was nice to communicate with people who does not know your languageJ (they did not know any English word and they were trying to explain everything with expressions). However, it was nice hospitality by those village people and with nice dinner.

Second day early morning started again for Lausanne. It was good sunny day and I could use the highways efficiently with good speed as no work was planned on those sections.

Finally I entered Switzerland around 13:00 hrs and it was nice to see well-managed traffic, nicely constructed roads. Not much wind turbines as Denmark and Germany but I could lot of bridges and again future scope of works for INFRASTAR ESRs.

Hope you liked my blog and keep reading for more for getting to know on how is my experience with EPFL. Now you can also consult me for planning long road trips, other than fatigue reliability :P.

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Friday, 29 September 2017

Statistical knowledge and structural safety

American petroleum institute’s recent code for offshore oil and gas structures’ integrity management (APIRP 2SIM), came up with a concept that damage can be tolerable. This concept is based on looking towards structure as a system and not number of individual components (this is how a design engineer look at it while designing new structure). This is a fundamental change in concept of life extension of structures, previously it had to be demonstrated that every component satisfies the design criteria resulting in need of all damages to be repaired. Now with the concept of “damage can be tolerable” and looking into structure as a system, it can be very well shown that (by use of ultimate strength analysis) structure as whole (system) still satisfies the design criteria with a minimum repairs/ no repairs.
Further, risk based techniques can be used for development in inspection programs for damage detection and repair scheme.
Here risk is defined, as product of probability of failure and consequence of failure, for calculations of probability of failure.

We need strong background of statistical knowledge, as a minimum, we should be able to model the material and loads stochastically so that we can come up with area of overlap as probability of failure. Following figure shows a typical structural engineering problem where R is resistance (strength) of material and S is loads effect.

A typical design engineer does not have any knowledge about, how codes are developed or what is background theory about partial safety factors used? So he/ she takes help of structural engineering knowledge alone that too within framework of code requirements to save the structure. Sometimes he/she may succeed with help of advanced structural analyses. But most of the times the end result would be lot of repair suggestions or exhaustive inspection plans. Spending a lot of money to save the structure for its future use.

But a smart structural engineer should have a good statistical background and good domain knowledge so he can combine code ideas to apply for site specific things statistically and come up with optimum repair suggestions and risk based inspection plan.

Aalborg University has a requirement to complete PhD is that, we should complete at least 30 credits through various PhD courses planned. With every PhD course, I undertook I feel that I am getting my statistical knowledge building up. So I can say following applies rightly here :P

Half of being smart is knowing what you are dumb about.

Thanks for reading my blog, keep reading for future updates and stay tuned on INFRASTAR on Facebook Twitter LinkedIn

Participation in EAWE 14th PhD Seminar at Brussels

EAWE (European Academy of wind energy) provides a forum to PhD students working in the area of wind-energy to network and exchange ideas. F...