Dr Sheela Singh

Research at SRM University-AP shows that applying a composite coating of chromium aluminum carbide (CR2 ALC) to the engine piston rings not only improves piston performance but also increases engine life, efficiency and lubrication. The university obtained a patent for the same under the title “NICKEL MOLYBDENUM ALUMINIUM (NIMOAL) – CHROMIUM ALUMINIUM CARBIDE (CR2ALC) MAX PHASE COMPOSITE COATINGS FOR AUTOMOTIVE APPLICATIONS AND A METHOD FOR MAKING THE SAME”.

For any vehicle to run efficiently for a long time, its engine must be good. The rings on piston further improve the engine performance. It is in this context that many efforts are being made by scientists to develop piston rings with the new scientific technologies. Dr Sheela Singh, Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at SRM AP, has been conducting comprehensive research on the subject for three years with research student Deepak Davis.

Sheela singh

The piston rings of motor vehicles currently on the market have a coating with nickel molybdenum aluminum. SRM University-AP researchers say it would be better to use a composite coating made with chromium aluminum carbide instead. If the piston rings have high velocity and lubrication properties, their rigidity is good and it is better to use chromium aluminum carbide (CR2LC).

The Patent Certificate is issued by the Patent Office, Government of India, after thorough examination. University President Dr Satyanarayanan, Vice-Chancellor Prof V S Rao, Pro Vice-Chancellor Prof D Narayana Rao and others lauded Dr Sheela Singh and Deepak Davis for their fervent research and innovation. This is the second patent granted to SRM University-AP.

Buddha mosaic

The brilliant minds at the SRM AP cubing club have proved themselves again. On the occasion of Buddha Purnima, a group of students from the Cubing Club came together to arrange a mosaic of Gautama Buddha using 1500 cubes! A project of this magnitude usually takes a couple of weeks to be completed, but our students were able to complete the design within five days.

The smart brains behind this artistic endeavour:
Tarun Vaka
Jyothi Madem
Kota Vasu Desik
Durga Surya Teja Indigimilli
Sri Sathya Sai Karthik Kongara
Venkata Mohit Simhadri
Divyambica Satya Vasa
Lolugu Charansai Venkatanarayana

The vibrant colours and the simplicity behind the mosaic portray the Buddha’s teachings and the elementary life he led on earth. Members of cubing club received appreciations from peers, faculty members and university leadership in creating this adroit artistic masterpiece.

 

air filter mechanism

Studies and research on air pollution have sparked worldwide interest in the recent decades to overcome the imminent threat of air pollution. The air filtration mechanism is one of the efficient ways to capture particulate matter (PM) and purify the air. An innovatory air filtration mechanism blending polyacrylonitrile (PAN)/polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) polymer nanofibers has been proposed by Prof Ranjit Thapa and his PhD scholar Deepak S Gavali from the Department of Physics.

The paper “Low Basis Weight Polyacrylonitrile/Polyvinylpyrrolidone Blended Nanofiber Membranes for Efficient Particulate Matter Capture” was published in collaboration with Applied NanoPhysics Laboratory, Department of Physics and Nanotechnology, SRM Institute of Science and Technology, Kattankulathur. It was featured in the journal ‘ACS Applied Polymer Materials’ having an Impact Factor of 4.09.

In the twenty-first century, air pollution is a major problem facing human and environmental health. Every year, millions of people die, mostly in developing nations, owing to the aggravating level of air pollution. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 92 per cent of the people live in places where the air quality level has crossed the WHO limits. Particulate matter (PM) (solid or liquid particles with different aerodynamic diameters), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), ozone (O3), and others are the relevant air contaminants.

In low-income cities, the effect of PM 2.5 pollution is high due to high urban air pollution. Even at very low concentrations, PM 2.5 (particles with an aerodynamic diameter less than 2.5 µm) pollution has health consequences. Air filtration is one of the best remedies to tackle such problems and maintain a clean environment for humans. Among the available air filter materials, fiber-based air filters have proven to be the most potentially effective treatment, due to their high porosity, high surface area, lightweight, etc.

This study relies on a careful design that blends PAN and PVP fibers. The resultant nanofiber material is utilized to overcome the low air pressure resistance issue with high filtration efficiency. Large-scale free-standing nanofibers were obtained by a simple peeling-off process. The morphology, chemical interaction between the filter media and PM pollutant; and filtration properties were investigated. Compared to commercial mask, the semi- high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter media, PAN/PVP filter medium showed superior performance in PM 2.5 filtration. Furthermore, the intermolecular interactions between PMs and nanofibers were analyzed by DFT calculations. With constant optimization of synthesis conditions, the synthesized air filters achieved high filtration efficiency for PM removal and showed great potential for practical application.

Abstract of the Research

Particulate matter (PM) in air frequently poses a serious threat to human health. Smaller PM can easily enter into the alveolus and blood vessels with airflow. This work reports the first polyacrylonitrile (PAN)/polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) polymer blend nanofiber filter media for effectively capturing PM. Density functional theory (DFT) calculations are used to investigate the effect of the blending of two polymers on the dipole moment and the electrostatic potential. Based on the DFT calculations of the intermolecular interactions between nanofibers and PM, the PAN/PVP heteromolecular percentage is considered for experimental synthesis, which can provide better performance in the filtration of pollutants. The composite PAN/PVP fiber network was successfully developed and optimized to cope with complex environments during the actual filtration process. The role of the blending ratio of PAN and PVP in wt % was explored on PM 2.5 capture, and the refined ratio overcame the conflict between high filtration efficiency and low air pressure resistance. The air filter medium PAN/PVP (6:2) possesses an extremely high air filtration efficiency of 92% under a very low pressure drop of 18 Pa for a 0.5 g m–2 basis weight. Both polar and nonpolar functional groups in blend nanofibers promoted significantly the electrostatic attraction and improved the filtration efficiency under static and dynamic airflow. The PAN/PVP nanofiber membranes maintain outstanding air filtration under different temperature and humidity conditions. This study will shed light on the fabrication of high-efficiency low-basis weight nanofiber filter media as an end product.

Suggestion contestInnovative suggestions create a doorway to a world of opportunities and possibilities. The Suggestion contest conducted by the Department of Entrepreneurship and Innovation received 206 entries, and each of them was significant in one way or the other. Finding out the most impactful and meaningful suggestions among them was a hectic task, and we have five winners for the competition. Congratulations to CSE second-year student Krishna Manideep, BBA second-year student Pratibha Maurya and CSE first-year students; Vishnu Vardhan, Pranathi Jayanthi, and G Sai Rohith for making it to the top five.

The department has started programs like “ExplorerHive” and “the Leader” based on the suggestions of students. Many more innovative programs are yet to come by utilising the suggestions obtained through the competition. Congratulations to the whole 206 participants for their contributions and suggestions. We value each of you and your suggestions and will try our best to put them all into practice.

green urea synthesis

Prof Ranjit Thapa and his PhD scholar, Mr Samadhan Kapse from the Department of Physics have reported their euphoric achievement of discovering an economically viable electrocatalyst for effective green urea synthesis. The paper “Selective Electrocatalytic Co-reduction of N2 and CO2 on Copper Phthalocyanine for Green Urea Production” has been published in the highly prestigious Nature indexed journal, ‘Advanced Functional Materials’, having an Impact Factor of 18.81. It was published in collaboration with Jit Mukherjee, and Uttam Kumar Ghorai, from the Department of Industrial Chemistry & Applied Chemistry, Swami Vivekananda Research Centre.

With global annual production of 100 million tons, urea is one of the important nitrogen sources for the fertilizer industry. Industrial urea is synthesized by the following two consecutive steps. First, the reaction of nitrogen and hydrogen (N2 + H2 → NH3) by the Haber-Bosch process at high temperature and pressure (350–550°C, 150–350 bar); followed by the reaction of NH3 and CO2 [NH3 + CO2 → CO(NH2)2] under mild reaction conditions (170–200°C and 200–250 bar). The sequential reactions are carried out for several cycles to increase the conversion efficiency. For the first step, fixation of N2 is an energy as well as a capital intensive process due to difficulty in cleaving the N≡N bond. Extensive research works have been reported on electrochemical N2 fixation to NH3 in water medium under ambient conditions. In this electrochemical method, isolation of NH3 gas with high purity from electrolyte solution is troublesome. In the second step, CO2 fixation on the substrate and its separation is one of the major challenging tasks for the further reaction with NH3 to end up in urea formation. Overall, the two-step process for large scale production of urea consumes high energy and produces greenhouse gases for the environment.

The research team reported copper-phthalocyanine nanotubes (CuPc NTs) having multiple active sites as an efficient electrocatalyst which exhibits a tremendous yield of urea with good durability and long-term stability. DFT calculation predicts that Pyridinic–N1 in CuPc is responsible for N2 reduction and the metal centre plays an important role for CO2 reduction. This study not only provides us with the co-reduction of N2 and CO2 gases using cost-effective CuPc NTs catalyst but also opens a new pathway to the rational design of other transitional metal-based electrocatalysts having multiple active sites for N2 and CO2 gas fixation applications.

This electrochemical method of urea synthesis by the co-reduction of N2 and CO2 [N2 + CO2 + 6H+ + 6e– → CO(NH2)2 + H2O] using an efficient electrocatalyst in a water medium under ambient conditions would be an alternative way in the upcoming days. All the strategies using alloys and heterostructure for urea synthesis forming C–N bond by the co–reduction of N2 and CO2 have not reached the benchmark in terms of urea yield rate and FE for practical applications. To achieve a high urea yield and FE, various factors are to be considered in this work.

Abstract of the Research

Green synthesis of urea under ambient conditions by electrochemical co-reduction of N2 and CO2 gases using effective electrocatalyst essentially pushes the conventional two steps (N2 + H2 = NH3 & NH3 + CO2 = CO (NH2)2) industrial process at high temperature and high pressure, to the brink. The single-step electrochemical green urea synthesis process has hit a roadblock due to the lack of an efficient and economically viable electrocatalyst with multiple active sites for dual reduction of N2 and CO2 gas molecules to urea. Herein, the research reports copper-phthalocyanine nanotubes (CuPc NTs) having multiple active sites (such as metal centre, Pyrrolic-N3, Pyrrolic-N2, and Pyridinic-N1) as an efficient electrocatalyst which exhibits urea yield of 143.47 µg h-1 mg-1cat and FE of 12.99% at –0.6 V vs RHE by co-reduction of N2 and CO2. Theoretical calculation suggests that Pyridinic-N1 and Cu centres are responsible to form C–N bonds for urea by co-reduction of N2 to NN* and CO2 to *CO respectively. This study provides new mechanistic insight into the successful electro-reduction of dual gases (N2 and CO2) in a single molecule as well as the rational design of an efficient noble metal-free electrocatalyst for the synthesis of green urea.

 

faculty development

The Department of Physics organised a Faculty Development Programme discussing the scopes of implementing sponsored projects. Renowned academicians, Prof Sathish Vadhiyar, IISc Bangalore; Prof Kothandaraman Ramanujam, IIT Madras; and Prof Paromita Chakraborty, SRMIST were the keynote speakers of the session. They shared their views and enlightened the faculty on the scopes and challenges in implementing projects proposed across various disciplines.

Prof V S Rao, Vice-Chancellor SRM-AP, welcomed the gathering. He appreciated the department’s effort in organising programmes on such impactful topics. Reminding the community of the inevitability of emphasising research, he congratulated all the faculty for their influential publications, sponsored projects, patent publications, etc. Prof D Narayana Rao, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, also addressed the gathering and reiterated the need to conduct such crucial discussions among administrators and policymakers. He further highlighted the importance of reorienting the vision of every Indian university by giving a special focus on research and development.

faculty development programme

Prof Sathish Vadhiyar commenced the discussion by providing a brief overview of the National Super Computing Mission (NSM). It is one of the principal ventures funded by DST and MeItY to advance the overall high-performance computing ecosystem. He deliberated on the R&D projects involved in NSM, its objectives, proposal areas, budget, research allocations etc. Prof Ramanujam presided over and shared his experience in collaborating with industries to market the research product. He gave a detailed analysis of the functioning of consultation companies, types of consultancies, stages involved in such projects, and the different ways to attract funding. Prof Paromita Chakraborty was the last speaker of the day. She offered an elaborate outline for designing and developing a project proposal and concluded by imparting a few insights from her successful projects.

 

guest associate editorThe Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering is Proud to inform you that Dr Tousif Khan N, Assistant Professor, and Faculty Coordinator, has been appointed as a Guest Associate Editor in Frontiers in Control Engineering, a peer-reviewed journal for the special issue on “Recent Advancements in Performance and Safety-Driven Robust Adaptive Control.

This Research Topic is intended to give an insight into the latest development regarding the control design and analysis for the nonlinear systems under multiple uncertainties, matched and unmatched disturbances, measurement noises, actuator/sensor faults, and non-smooth nonlinearities. To render a promising control performance under resource-constrained communication networks, state constraints, control constraints, and other related issues are additional design objectives and the focus of this Research Topic.

In conclusion, developing an effective onboard implementable control approach for dynamical systems where safety, performance, uncertainty, and optimality are dealt with concurrently is the main objective of this special issue of the research journal Frontiers in Control Engineering.

B S Murty

SRM University-AP organised an interactive session with Prof B S Murty, Director, IIT Hyderabad, on May 7, 2022, to enhance the research collaborations and capabilities of the institution. Honourable Vice-Chancellor, Prof V S Rao; Pro Vice-Chancellor, Prof D Narayana Rao, all the faculty members, and research scholars took part in the conference.

The meeting deliberated on the need to develop platforms for effective research collaborations across multiple disciplines to maintain successful research careers. It accentuated on the necessity of bringing together inter-disciplinary resources, culture, talent, and scientific knowledge to enhance the depth and breadth of research capabilities. Building intensive research networks and making relevant contributions towards the inclusive development of the society were the major focus points of the discussion.

Prof V S Rao welcomed the gathering and introduced the guest of the day, Prof B S Murty. He reminisced over the long association with Prof Murty, the much renowned Indian metallurgist who has been recognised with the highest science award in the country.

Prof B S Murty put forward the need for bringing multidisciplinarity into the engineering course framework. According to him, the cross-pollination of ideas across the disciplines of technology, medicine, and environmental management is the ideal way to encourage inclusive development in society. He mentioned a few such pioneering programmes such as M.Tech in Medical Device Innovation and E-Waste Management, B.Tech in Computational Engineering and Microelectronics introduced in IIT Hyderabad. He concluded the session by emphasising the vitality of accelerating research across the healthcare sector as well as the need for orienting research in tune with the industrial demands.

Prof D Narayana Rao gave a brief overview of the research culture nurtured in the university. He presented the list of research publications, patent publications and various other accomplishments of the university’s faculty and students. He also gave a brief introduction to the various centres of excellence established at the university. By giving an outlay of the initiatives such as research collaborations with AIIMS Mangalagiri, SVMC Tirupati, and multiple other programmes like the University Distinguished Lecture Series, he shed light on the steps taken by the institution to promote research and development activities across the region. Prof Narayana Rao solicited collaboration with IIT Hyderabad, particularly in the areas of Artificial Intelligence (AI), additive manufacturing of bio-implants, and battery electrodes for Li-ion batteries.

SRM AP is known for its resources and facilities for pioneering research with the support of global leaders and SME’s while sticking to compliance and international regulations. Obtaining research excellence in every field of study has been a mission of the university. Recently, 50 MSc students from the Department of Chemistry, KBN College, Vijayawada, visited our university to explore the analytical and research facilities available here.

The research areas handled by the Department of Chemistry of SRM AP include the disciplines of chemical sciences, ranging from organic, inorganic, and physical, to theoretical or computational chemistry. The department’s highly disciplinary and collaborative environment is indeed inspiring, and it continues to grab attention. The strong interactions of the university with other premier institutions across India and around the world refine the quality of analytical and research facilities available here. The students from KBN college eagerly interacted with the faculty members and research scholars. Dr Mahesh Kumar Ravva and Dr Rajapandiyan, Faculty members, coordinated the visit.

The SRM University-AP team met Dr. Tata Narasinga Rao, Director, International Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy and New Materials (ARCI, Hyderabad) on 7 April 2022, Thursday. ARCI is an internationally acknowledged autonomous body under the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India. Ten professors, led by SRM University Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Prof. D Narayana Rao, went to Hyderabad to meet the ARCI Director. Projects related to key advanced materials in the field of scientific research were discussed during the meeting. Discussions were held on research projects related to additive (3D) manufacturing, solar energy materials, automotive energy and nanomaterials. The SRM AP Professors; Prof. D Narayana Rao, Prof. G S Vinod Kumar and Prof. Ranjit Thapa explained the key points of the research to the ARCI Director. During the event, an understanding was reached on issues such as research partnership between the two organisations and the design of research facilities. Director Dr. Tata Narasinga Rao assured that ARCI would extend full cooperation in areas such as research assistance in the selected fields and provide other facilities. Prof. Narayana Rao affirmed that ARCI has agreed to provide necessary funds for the development of solid electrolytes used to manufacture Lithium Ion batteries.