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Throughout its scientific and industrial history, France has always placed a high priority on engineering education, as substantiated by a long tradition of excellence within the Grandes Ecoles. The GEM network (Groupe des Ecoles des Mines) is certainly a prime example of the French system, which has earned an international reputation. With more than 250 partnerships with universities all over the world, the GEM is also a very active educational partner in India.
(Published on September 2008 – JEC Magazine #43)
PROF. PATRICIA KRAWCZAK, PROFESSOR & HEAD
DR. STÉPHANE PANIER, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR
DEPARTMENT OF POLYMERS & COMPOSITES TECHNOLOGY & MECHANICAL ENGINEERING ECOLE DESMINES DE DOUAI
Designed to educate top-level engineers, the GEM network brings together seven prestigious French engineering colleges. These teach a comprehensive range of science and technology subjects that address the industry’s requirements, to a total of some 7,000 students, including 20% from abroad. Of the 2,200 graduates per year, 250 are PhDs. The GEM network is also an outstanding research centre comprising 43 research labs and more than 1,000 faculty members. It generates more than 15% of the total turnover derived from research contracts signed with the industrial sector in France.
Educational and R&D cooperation in India
The GEM network has already signed institutional agreements with some of the most prestigious Indian institutions offering outstanding academic and research excellence. The agreements facilitate both student exchanges and the mobility of teaching staff on both sides. A notable one is with the Indian Institutes of Technology New Delhi, Kanpur, and Roorkee. Other GEM partners are the University of Pune, the Vishwakarma Institute of Technology (VIT), and the Netaji Subhas Institute of Technology (NSIT). Among other things, these educational partnerships give Indian Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech) students a chance to earn a French engineering degree (Master’s level) through a two-year study programme in one of the seven Ecoles des Mines. Several other cooperation schemes have been established in the field of R&D for industrial applications. In the field of composite materials, for example, the Department of Polymers and Composites Technology & Mechanical Engineering at the Ecole des Mines de Douai (EMD) and the Indian Institute of Technology of Delhi have undertaken two joint activities.
www.iitd.ernet.in/center/itmmec/ and www.iitd.ernet.in/center/cpse/
The first one involves Professor Jayashree Bijwe from IIT Delhi’s Centre for Industrial Tribology, Machine Dynamics & Maintenance Engineering, and EMD’s Assistant Professor Stéphane Panier in the co-supervision of PhD research on the fatigue and wear mechanisms of fabricreinforced composites. The goal is to establish a correlation between the fatigue strength and wear resistance of customformulated high-performance composite materials developed and manufactured at IIT Delhi. Professor Bijwe points out some key scientific and technical issues: “At present, we don’t have the necessary facilities to test the fatigue strength of bidirectionally reinforced composites in IIT Delhi and the nearby institutes. We need expertise for modelling and correlating wear performance with fatigue strength, and such an expertise is not available within the group that works on polymer tribology at ITMMEC. This is important because, although the selected sliding conditions are conducive for adhesive or fretting wear of composites, fatigue wear definitely takes place simultaneously if the component is slid for long time. Since fatigue strength correlates with fatigue wear, this can be incorporated in the wear equation to get a realistic representation of total wear”. The fatigue tests will be performed at EMD and the wear investigations at IIT Delhi.
According to S. Panier, such cooperation stems from the fact that “tribology is a multi-physical science requiring in-depth knowledge of various domains. Similarly, composite damage is complex to study. The ultimate failure of composite materials results from interactions between different types of damage occurring at different scales (micro to macro), hence the necessity to bring together the skills of our two institutes”. The second activity involves Professor Bijwe and Professor Anup K. Ghosh from IIT Delhi’s Centre for Polymer Science & Engineering, working with EMD’s Assistant Professor J. Soulestin and Professor Marie-France Lacrampe in a cooperation scheme that is part of a Master’s student’s project on thermoplastic nanocomposites. The research work is divided between India and France.
In keeping with the above-mentioned activities, upcoming goals are to increase both the number of joint R&D projects and their scope, and to involve French and Indian industrial partners. A French-Indian GEM-IITD seminar will be organised in New Delhi on September 24-26, 2008 for this purpose.