Tech Talks - February, 2013
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The Strength of Tea
by Prof. Dibakar Sen

About the speaker: Prof. Dibakar Sen is a professor at the Center for Product design and manufacture and at the Mechanical Engineering department of the Indian Institute of Science

Abstract: Tea makes you elated. Tea makes friends. Tea is the friend in solitude! However, this lecture is not about the psyco-physio-sociological aspects of tea. It is about a more mundane and mechanical aspect of tea. While designing a tea plucking machine, we came to a point when we needed data on the mechanical properties of tea shoots. Without reliable data we could over-design a machine, making it too heavy and hence unusable by the man in the fields. If it is under-designed, it would be useless any way. Unlike engineering materials, the properties of a shoot depends on varieties of factors. Some of these factors that influenced the design of a in-situ strength-measuring mechanical-instrument will be discussed in this talk. A single tea shoot can take more than 10 Kg force to shear! They can be as thick as 3.5mm. How to deliver large force in a machine that has significant displacement, is the engineering challenge. The solution involves choice of a simple mechanism and a clever embodiment. The instrument is operated by fingers. The objective of the presentation is to demonstrate how understanding of both object and subject are necessary for a successful engineering design. The chosen example highlights the importance of understanding the fundamental principles and use of the first principles in design.

Date: 19th February, 2013

Venue:
Jed-i Learning Centre,
Century Quadra(3rd floor),
Malleswaram.

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