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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A day before UPSC-Engineering Services Exam

One of the toughest day- if I can recall. IES exam is spread on three days -Friday, Saturday & Sunday to test your abilities through 5 papers- GAT, Paper-I (Obj), Paper-II (Obj), Conventional Paper-I, Conventional Paper-II. Torture continues till Sunday !

When I concluded my preparations, I had no idea whether I would be able to make it to the elite list of IES qualifiers. But to some extent I was satisfied with my performance, this I thought made me comfortable. Never ever think of end results- just have faith in you and your capabilities which you have build through the preparations in the last 6-7 months or so. 

During the preparations I had prepared two small notebooks in which I used to write important concepts and formula to revise them frequently. But before exam day when you have to solve Conventional Papers that too in Mechanical Engineering that too for Engineering Services- everything seems inadequate and so was my note book. I read it, re-read it and kept it aside and started thinking of how to consolidate my thinking process and how to manage my time well during the exam. 

A day before exam you cant do more than this. We can just calm our soul to perform. But in an competitive scenario even a topper (like me) is not sure of his performance. I simply revised my notes whatever I could, and then thought of reading the inspirational and motivational stories through internet and blogs. I always used to motivate myself by reading blogs and success stories of past IES toppers, that is why I have started writing my personalized experiences for future IES aspirants.

Examination begins with GAT on first day -hence load was not much but vastness of General Studies always affects the confidence since I never prepared for Civil Services because for me- remaining in Technical Services of the same level appealed more rather than doing something not of my area. However, as I was comfortable with General English and Vocabulary part -my stress for GAT was relatively less. 

Bottom line is -never leave anything to study till the exam day. Optimally your preparations, your test series etc -should finish a week before the exam. Nothing should be tested in those last days and one should avoid discussions with so called bright well prepared candidates who would do nothing good to you but there is chance that you may get disappointed of not knowing something just before the exam !

So just chill and relax, listen to music, spend time with your loved ones and crack the exam. 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Best Analysis of UPSC IES Exam- Helpful for IES 2015 and others

I present you all with the very best analysis of IES 2009 toppers. Their marks, no of correct questions and their portfolio of scores in various subjects. This will make the complex and hazy picture- ultra clear.

This is what I did in very first month of my preparations after cramming the syllabus and before making strategies for cracking the exam.
    IES-2009 SCORES OF TOP 20          
1 119 105 114 338 106 122 228 566 106 672
2 116 145 104 365 71 113 184 549 120 669
3 100 106 99 305 90 117 207 512 140 652
4 159 134 127 420 56 85 141 561 80 641
5 124 102 85 311 94 117 211 522 116 638
6 132 118 89 339 69 138 207 546 90 636
7 101 122 119 342 78 95 173 515 116 631
8 81 101 80 262 114 138 252 514 110 624
9 129 117 81 327 95 77 172 499 124 623
10 137 97 101 335 76 106 182 517 104 621
Avg Q 70 68 60 2Q 3Q 530 110 640
MAX  95 86 76 3Q 3.5Q 566 140 672
MIN  48 58 48   1.5Q 2Q   499 80 621
11 124 116 88 64 108 511 120 620
12 106 106 86 82 100 480 140 620
13 96 107 113 71 119 506 110 616
14 102 108 101 51 118 480 132 612
15 152 107 92 96 94 501 110 611
16 114 103 83 89 133 522 88 610
17 129 96 102 53 100 480 130 610
18 87 127 103 58 112 487 120 607
19 124 99 107 76 91 497 110 607
20 131 121 81 82 90 505 100 605
Avg Q 70 65 57 2 3 496.9 116 611.8
MAX  91 76 68 2.5 3.5 522 140 620
MIN  52 58 48 1.5 2.5 480 88 605


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

My Interview with a Publisher

Indian Engineering Services Exam 2012: Successful Candidate Interview: AIR 14

Name: Anurag Pandey
Exam: UPSC-IES  (Engg Services Exam)
Rank: 14
No. of Attempts: 01
Educational Background: BE-Mechanical
Work Background: Working with a Maharatna PSU
QWere you working while preparing for IES?
A. Yes, I was working full time for 7 satisfied years when I thought of writing this exam. Sounds weird, yes it is. It happened just because I needed a safe and powerful shift in my career which I could not get in my prima-facie safe and well paid job.
Q. Self preparations or attended classes? How did you go about it?
A. Being in a job for a long time I was preoccupied with my job right from 7 am till 6 pm. With barely a few hours at my disposal, going for coaching was out of question so I prepared myself. I simply managed my 3-4 hours time and prioritized the areas of study required to crack the exam.
Q. What materials/books did you use to prepare yourself?
A. I used my college notes as a base to put myself in first gear and as time progressed the right books started falling in at the right time and I could do well. Few books that I followed are as under:
  • Thermodynamics: Nag,
  • IC Engines: Nag & other by Mathur
  • Heat Transfer: Gupta & Prakash, Sukhatme
  • RAC: Khurmi
  • FM: Bansal, Frank White
  • Compressible flow: Yahya
  • TOM: Ambekar, Ghosh & Malik,
  • Vibrations: Grover
  • Design : Shigley
  • SOM: Popov
  • Materials: Callister
  • Production: HMT Handbook, Kapakjian
  • Industrial: Internet & OR by Khanna Publishers
Q. Did you have any strategies while studying?
A. Strategies: First go through the syllabus 10 times and memorize it after that analyse last 10 years question papers to understand where and how much to go in each topic. After that, two types of preparations- for objective (exhaustive) and for conventionals (selective based on individual strengths). Believe me it works!! It worked for me after 7 year gap of regular studies.
Q. How did you prepare for the interview? What sort of question were asked?
A. Interview: No serious preparations just prepare about yourself and about the company you work for. What is tested in interviews in your ability to handle situations and your confidence. Keep it high always!
Q. Did you get the service of your choice after your exam?
A. Yes, I have got service of my choice-the topmost Engineering Service of India: Indian Railways  (IRSME).

NanoComposites in Tennis Balls

Nano composites consists of nano sized particles embedded in some type of matrix -are group of promising new materials being infused in some of our modern technologies. 

One type of nano composites is currently being used in high performance tennis balls. These balls retain their original pressure and bounce twice as long as conventional ones. Air permeation through walls is inhibited by a factor of two due to presence of a flexible and very thin (10 to 50 microns) nanocomposite barrier coating that covers the inner core.

This nanocomposite coating consists of matrix of butyl rubber, within which is embedded thin platelets of vermiculite, a natural clay mineral. The vermiculite platelets exists as single molecule thin sheets- on the order of nano meter thick-that have a very high aspect ratio. 

Furthermore vermiculite platelets are exfoliated that is they remain separated from each other. Also within the butyl rubber, the vermiculite platelets are aligned such that all their lateral axes lie in the same plane; and throughout this barrier coating there are multiple layers of these platelets. 

The presence of vermiculite platelets accounts for the ability of the nanocomposite coating to more effectively retain air pressure within the tennis balls. These platelets act as multi layer barrier to the diffusion of air molecules and slow down the diffusion rate. 

Technique commercially exploited  by Wilson Sporting Goods Company in their Double Core tennis balls. 

Sunday, August 31, 2014

My UPSC Engineering Services (IES) Interview

More than a year back I had an extraordinary opportunity to attend the so-called sacred and tough UPSC Interview board after clearing the gruelling written exam (in Gen Category- its always gruesome) . Since I was pretty excited about it and hence planned it well also. I booked a good hotel in the vicinity of UPSC and checked in to it a day before to settle in there. Since I was in job and had nobody to guide me, my plannings and preparations were all mine and since it made me successful I now think yes they were right. 

I got up early that day had morning ablutions and got ready in ultra formal attire ! Light blue shirt and dark color trousers and a matching tie. I was looking as if I am heading towards my meeting as I usually do when in BHEL but this time it was something different- that was my rendezvous with UPSC ! 

I reached the venue quite early to see many veterans ( multiple timers) discussing what was asked last year and what mistakes they committed and how they were screwed. I had no idea as I never ever gave it a thought and that too I was busy with my cushy job. Many of them were referring to their notes as if it was their viva voce exam. I separated myself from the junta had a cup of coffee and headed towards the main entrance. We were adviced to deposit our cell phones, ball pens, wallet everything as a security measure. 

We then entered a big hall and made to site in groups of 7 on a round table and a babu came with an indifferent mood and gave us few forms to be filled and collected our original mark sheets. He was working as if he had applied for a leave that day and couldn't get it because of us and hence he was looking angry with us. While filling the form I just glanced around to have a look and discovered that engineering students of our country are quite serious- they were like reading their notes, referring to latest news and were fidgety as if they are going to be ragged inside. May be , May be not- I thought and continued with what I was doing. 

Moments after doc verification we were told about our boards-I was in Manbir Singh's Board. Again some veteran confirmed me that he is usually cool . I sipped a glass of water while looking at the UPSC building-very nicely maintained. I was eagerly waiting for my turn and after an hour I got my turn and I was asked to move and sit outside the Manbir's office while tea was served to board members-it was 3 PM then. I thought I got ready at 8 AM and still waiting to have my drama unfold as to why I chose IES after working so long in a Maharatna PSU to join something at half the salary. I was worried for this question only..with this thought I entered the room- What a room, age old office, high elevation ceiling, Chairperson sitting precisely at the centre of the semicircular arch of the board members and I was supposed to traverse a straight line to sit on my chair placed precisely at the centre. Meanwhile I also observed that there were 4 other members sitting equally divided on both sides of the Manbir Singh. 

I was oozing with confidence but with a thought of as to why I left BHEL,I walked upto my chair and wished all of them and I was watching 3 of the other members observing me as to how I am walking the ramp ! 

As soon as I settled I observed Manbir Singh was sitting slightly higher elevation than other 4 members may be to have birds eye view ..he he..

Let us call members as M1, M2 on left , C as Manbir , M3 ,M4 on right, sitting in a perfect semi circular arch.

C: So Mr Pandey, you are making a great sacrifice-leaving BHEL after such a long time why ?
Me: I defended with my usual thoughts

C: So you think this is nice job ..
Me: Defended diplomatically -he was looking happy and satisfied.

C: What is the scenario of our Power Sector ?
Me: PhD in it and explained him completely

C: So you are in favor of Hydro Power ?
Me: Defended and explained in a balanced manner.

C: How is BHEL doing and how you rate it ?
Me: 9/10 and its doing extremely good. 

C: Then why are you leaving it ?
Me: Defended with my reasons.

He indicated other members to continue by looking at members at his left..
M4: What was your profile and what were you doing there ?

M3: Okay you have experience of Production also, how do you cut thick plates, what is that machine called ?
M3 & M4 -continue with many production related questions and BHEL infra

M2: Can you tell something about NC Programming and its coding ?

M1: Why do you think BHEL is not able to complete its orders in time ?
Had long discussion on it.

M2: What do you think India should do to have electricity for all and what is NEP ?

M4: Tell me about -Project Plannning -PERT & CPM

C: Why you want to join IRSS ( my first choice)

then questions on Industrial Engineering

After about 40 minutes C indicated that we are done with our process, I said thanks to all and moved out  and took a big breath ! 

I think it was a good experience -it was a discussion to asses you a person. Ability to handle pressure, ability to answer smartly and to judge your ability to stay clam by posing a cool body language. 

I got selected in UPSC-IES 2012 with All India Rank :14

FORTRAN Yearwise Questions -IES

Which one of the following statements about
FORTRAN is not correct?
a. GO TO 999
c. PRINT 999
d. DIMENSION A (999)
119. If A is greater than B then it is expressed in
a. A > B
c. A.GT.B
d. AGT.B
87. The arithmetic expression 2.4**3.0 will be
computed by the FORTRAN compiler as:
a. 2.4*2.4*2.4
b. 103.0 log 102.4
c. e3.0 log e2.4
d. 2.4*2.4*3.0
58. Given J = 2, K = –4, A = –5, B = 0.4, C =
What are the values of the FORTRAN
JIP = J*K + J**K, IVAL = A + B + C ?
a. 15.3 and 5.9, respectively
b. –7.83 and 5.9, respectively
c. –7.83 and 5, respectively
d. –8 and 5, respectively
60. The initial contents of an array A are:
A= [2 7 8 6 15 14 0 50 3]
What would be the contents of the array A
after executing the following segment of
the FORTRAN code?
DO 35 J = 1, T,1
A(J) = A(J+2)
A(J+1) = TEMP
a. A= [7 2 8 6 14 15 50 0 3]
b. A= [8 6 2 7 0 50 15 14 3]
c. A = [8 6 15 14 0 50 3 7 2]
d. A= [0 2 3 6 7 8 14 15 50]
61. Match List I (Illegal Statement) with List
II (Reason) and select the correct answer
using the code given below:
List I
A. READ*,(A(I),I=(0,5)
B. READ*,(A(I,J), I=1,10),J= 1,8)
C. IF (2.GE. B) THEN B=0
D. IF (A+B)GN.(C+D) THEN TOT= 100
List II
1. Mismatched parenthesis
2. Invalid operator
3. Illegal subscript
4. Mismatched data types
a. 4 1 3 2
b. 3 2 4 1
c. 4 2 3 1
d. 3 1 4 2
30. I = 1,3,4,2,6,5
K(I) = 100, 52, 300, 51, 600
Select the correct FORTRAN read
statement from the following:
a. READ(I, K(I),L = 1, 6)
b. READ(L, K(I), I = 1, 6)
c. READ(I, K(L), L = 1, 6)
d. READ(L, K(L), L = 1, 6)
59. Assertion (A): Function statements in a
FORTRAN program is given in terms of
Reason (R): Function statements in a
FORTRAN program can be shared by two
subroutines in a program.


FORTRAN @ Glance
Declarations Syntax:
·   The type declaration statement indicates the type and name of the variable or constant (note the two colons between the type and the name of the variable or constant). Named constants must be declared with the parameter attribute:
real, parameter:: pi = 3.1415927
·   Like named constants, variables must be declared at the beginning of a program (or subprogram) in a type declaration statement:
integer :: total
real :: average1, average2! this declares 2 real values
complex :: cx
logical :: done
character(len=80) :: line ! a string consisting of 80 characters
·      Constants can be assigned trivially to the complex number cx:
cx = (1.0, 2.0)! cx = 1.0 + 2.0i
If you need to assign variables to cx, you need to use cmplx:
cx = cmplx (1.0/2.0, -3.0) ! cx = 0.5 – 3.0i
cx = cmplx (x, y) ! cx = x + yi
The function cmplxis one of the intrinsic functions
·      Arrays
real, dimension(5) :: vector! 1-dim.real array containing 5 elements
integer, dimension (3, 3) :: matrix ! 2-dim.integer array
The individual elements of arrays can be referenced by specifying their subscripts
Ievector(1), vector(2), vector(3) are individual elements of the array “dimension”
dimension(1,1), dimension (2,3) etc

·      The array vector could also have been declared with explicit lower bounds:
real, dimension (1:5) :: vector
All the following type declaration statements are legal:
real, dimension (-10:8) :: a1! 1-dim array with 19 elements
integer, dimension (-3:3, -20:0, 1:2, 6, 2, 5:6, 2) :: grid1 ! 7-dim array
·      The number of elements of the integer array grid1 is 7 x 21 x 2 x 6 x 2 x 2 x 2 = 14112.
·      Character strings                    character (len=80) :: name
name = “Tanja”
name(1:3) would yield the substring “Tan”
A single character must be referenced in a similar way:
name(2:2) yields the character “a”

If the lower subscript is omitted, it is assumed to be one, and if the upper subscript is omitted, it is supposed to be the length of the string.
name (:3) ! yields “Tan”
name (3:) ! yields “nja”
name (:) ! yields “Tanja”

·      Fortran allows implicit typing, which means that variables do not have to be declared. If a variable is not declared, the first letter of its name determines its type: if the name of the variable starts with i, j, k, l, m, or n, it is considered to be an integer, in all other cases it is considered to be a real. However, it is good programming practice to declare all variables at the beginning of the program. The statement
implicit none

print*, “The number pi = “, pi                    ! Output print
read*, x, y, z                                                  !Input read

·      A function returns a single quantity (of any type, including array), and should, in principle, not modify any of its arguments
·      Intent
Fortran allows the specification of the “intention” with which arguments are used in the procedure:
intent (in): Arguments are only used, and not changed
intent (out): Arguments are overwritten
intent (inout): Arguments are used and overwritten
Consider the following example:
subroutineintent_example (a, b, c)
implicit none
! dummy arguments
real, intent (in) :: a
real, intent (out) :: b
real, intent (inout) :: c
b = 2 * a                          ! b modified
c = c + a * 2.0                ! sued and modified

end subroutine intent_example

Saturday, August 30, 2014

IES -Operation difficulties in centrifugal pumps (Common Question )

This is common question asked in UPSC ESE regarding centrifugal pump in Assertion-Reason format. Have a look...

a)   Pump fails to pump the fluid.
Cause &  Remedial Measures
1) Improper priming due to leakage of foot valve or incomplete filling.
   Repair or replace the foot valve, prime completely.

2) Head more than design head 
Reduce the head or change the pump

3) Clogging of impeller, suction pipe or strainer 
Clean the suspected part

4) Suction lift may be excessive
Reduce the height of pump above the sump

5) Speed more than design speed
Connect another prime mover of higher speed

6) Direction of rotation of impeller is wrong
Change the direction.

B) Pump does not give the required capacity
a) Leakage of air through the suction pipeor through the gland packingStop the leakage
 b) Damage to some parts of the pump bywear & tear Replace the damaged parts
c) Clogging of impeller passagesClean the impeller

C) Pump has poor efficiency
a) Higher than design speed Reduce the speed
b) Low head & higher dischargeReduce the discharge
c) Impeller touching, the casing orimproper alignment of shaft Carryout the necessary repair.

D) Pump stops working
-Suction lift is high
-Air entry into Pipe

Thursday, August 28, 2014

UPSC IES -Nuclear Tech Solved Questions

Past IES Questions –Nuclear Tech (Solved)
With Detailed explanations and notes which I prepared for my exam. Keep reading, keep testing.

24. The energy produced by 4-5 tons of high grade coal is equivalent to the energy produced
(A) 1 kg of Uranium (B) 1 gram of Uranium
(C) 100 grams of Uranium (D) 10 grams of Uranium

Fact: A kilogram of uranium-235 (U-235) converted via nuclear processes releases approximately three million times more energy than a kilogram of coal burned conventionally (7.2 × 1013 joules per kilogram of uranium-235 versus 2.4 × 107 joules per kilogram of coal).[

25. Enriched Uranium is one in which
(A) Percentage of U235 has been artificially increased
(B) Percentage of U238 has been artificially increased
(C) Percentage of U234 has been artificially increased
(D) Extra energy is pumped from outside

26. Which one of the following statements is not correct ?
(A) Fusion is the combination of heavy nuclei of elements resulting in the release of heat energy
(B) Neutron bombardment is the most common and practiced method of initiation of reaction in fission materials
(C) When the multiplication factor is greater than 1, the chain reaction is uncontrollable
(D) The reactor produces , , and neutron radiations. Of all these radiation is the
most dangerous

27. The reflectivity in a reactor depends upon
(A) Geometry of the reflector (B) Energy of neutrons (C) Properties of reflector (D) All of these

28. Shielding in a nuclear power plant is done
(A) To protect against neutron and gamma rays
(B) To absorb excess neutrons
(C) To slow down the speed of fast moving neutrons
(D) To return the neutrons back into the core of the reactor

Q Moderator in nuclear power plant is used to : slow down the fast moving neutrons

Q With natural Uranium : Heavy Water , solid Graphite & Beryllium are used as moderators

Q Radiations against which shielding is to be given are (in nuclear plant)  : neutron & gamma

Q Moderator : Beryllium & Heavy Water

Q Fertile : U233, Atomic No –No of protons, Mass defect: binding energy, scattering: new born fission neutron have energy varying between 0.075 to 17Mev. During travel, they collide with other nuclei and slow down. This is scattering.

Q Energy released during fission of U235 is 193 MEV (say 200Mev)

Q. Gas cooled reactor: CO2 as Coolant & Graphite as moderator  [ both enriched & natural uranium used]
For fast reactors : best coolants are liquid metals such as sodium. Added advantage they can be used unpressurized as their boiling pt at atm pressure are very high.

CANDU type reactors use Heavy water as moderator

Q Fissile material: Pu-239, Pu-241, U-233,235,239 etc
    Fertile : Th-232, U-234,238,Pu 238,Pu240, Cadmium : Poison
·       Poison Fact: In other reactors the coolant acts as a poison by absorbing neutrons in the same way that the control rods do. In these reactors power output can be increased by heating the coolant, which makes it a less dense poison. Poison; Boron in the form of boric acid
·       A neutron poison (also called a 'neutron absorber' or a 'nuclear poison') is a substance with a large neutron absorption cross-section in applications, such as nuclear reactors[1]. In such applications, absorbing neutrons is normally an undesirable effect. However neutron-absorbing materials, also called poisons, are intentionally inserted into some types of reactors in order to lower the high reactivity of their initial fresh fuel load..
·       The capture of neutrons by short half-life fission products is known as reactor poisoning; neutron capture by long-lived or stable fission products is called reactor slagging.
·       Light water reactors (BWR, PWR) and heavy water reactors (HWR) operate with "thermal" neutrons, whereas breeder reactors operate with "fast" neutrons.
·       Control Rods: Silver (80%) , Indium (15%) & Cadmium (5%) alloys.
·       Liquid Metal Fast Breeder Reactor (LMFBR)  :This is a reactor design that is cooled by liquid metal, totally unmoderated, and produces more fuel than it consumes. They are said to "breed" fuel, because they produce fissionable fuel during operation because of neutron capture.
·        Moderators: Water, Heavy water, Graphite, Beryllium, Lithium.
·       In a nuclear reactor, the neutron population at any instant is a function of the rate of neutron production (due to fission processes) and the rate of neutron losses (via non-fission absorption mechanisms and leakage from the system). When a reactor’s neutron population remains steady from one generation to the next (creating as many new neutrons as are lost), the fission chain reaction is self-sustaining and the reactor's condition is referred to as "critical". When the reactor’s neutron production exceeds losses, characterized by increasing power level, it is considered "supercritical", and; when losses dominate, it is considered "subcritical" and exhibits decreasing power.

Q  CANDU  type reactor using natural uranium finds extensive use because:
·       Heavy water used both as coolant and moderator
·       Cost of fuel is much lower than in pressurized water or boiling water reactor,
·       Small leakage of heavy water does not affect the performance of the reactor substantially,
·       Fuel consumption is low coz of use of heavy water.

Q U-233 –prepared fuel, U-235: primary fuel, graphite: moderator, control rod: cadmium

Q In gas cooled thermal reactor: CO2 used as coolant and Graphite used as moderator
Fast reactors using enriched uranium fuel donot require a moderator
In fast reactors, liquid sodium is used as coolant

Q Thermal efficiency of a nuclear power plant using boiling water reactor is higher than of a plant using pressurized water reactor

R: in former, steam is directly allowed to be generated in the reactor itself, in latter steam is generated in a separate boiler by heat exchanger device using water of primary circuit which absorbs the fission energy.

CANDU advantages:

§ The main advantage of heavy water moderator over light water is reduced absorption of the neutrons that sustain the chain reaction

§ The low 235U density in natural uranium also implies that less of the fuel will be consumed

§ CANDU most of the moderator is at lower temperatures than in other designs, reducing the spread of speeds and the overall speed of the moderator particles. This means most of the neutrons will end up at a lower energy and be more likely to cause fission, so CANDU not only "burns" natural uranium, but it does so more effectively as well.
§ Major advantage to the heavy water design; it not only requires less fuel, but as the fuel does not have to be enriched, it is much less expensive as well.
§ A further unique feature of heavy-water moderation is the greater stability of the chain reaction. This is due to the relatively low binding energy of the deuterium nucleus (2.2 MeV), leading to some energetic neutrons and especially gamma rays breaking the nuclei apart and producing extra neutrons