Mechanical engineering student imagines 3D printing as a key to sustainability
We’re happy to introduce Amal Rai, a student worker for the Format and Curriculum team at the Graduate College! This second-year mechanical engineering student is passionate about utilizing 3D printing for long-term sustainability solutions. In this conversation he discusses the importance of staying organized, setting achievable goals and how he unwinds during the semester!
Please tell us about your academic and professional background.
Hi, my name is Amal Rai, I’m a second-year master’s student, specializing in mechanical engineering. I began my academic journey from Amity University in Noida, India, where I pursued my undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering. After graduation, I moved to Toulouse, France to pursue Aerospace Engineering at the prestigious Institut Supérieur de l'Aéronautique et de l'Espace. My reason for coming to ASU is the incredible research in sustainable and green technologies in mechanical engineering.
What’s something you learned during your professional or academic journey that surprised you or changed your perspective?
I have learned that being organized and having a structured schedule can help you tackle the most cumbersome problems in engineering and life. I knew this when I started researching at a lab here as a Sun Devil. It surprised me because my conventional thinking was that one needs to be very smart to tackle problems in engineering and if you are not, you may have to rely on others for help.
What types of problems do you work on and why do you think they are important?
Currently, I am working on VAT photopolymerization, one type of 3D printing I am trying to print using metal powder and optimize the print speed and quality. This technology, called CLIP, aims to revolutionize the VPP type of 3D printing. Before this project, last semester, I worked on a project that aimed to produce a more efficient and powerful Lithium-ion battery; I got the Masters Opportunity for Research in Engineering (MORE) award from School for Engineering of Matter, Transport and Energy.
How did you become involved in this work? What inspired you?
The reason for getting involved was my drive to get professional lab experience, which would prepare me for a PhD in mechanical engineering. This experience taught me how to work with senior PhD students, perform effective research, prepare professional research posters and write a journal paper. My desire is to contribute towards a more sustainable and greener tomorrow and to see 3D printing being used widely for manufacturing complex parts.
How have you interacted with the Graduate College? Is there an event, initiative or funding opportunity you’re excited about?
I work at the Graduate College as a student worker in the Format and Curriculum team. I received MORE funding through ASU, which I was excited about from the start of my academic journey.
What advice do you have for students interested in your field or higher education?
I advise students going for higher education to have a goal in mind; it does not have to be too specific, but it should be achievable – this helps keep the motivation alive even during trying times. Another piece of advice would be to get yourself organized. Intelligence will take you so far; getting organized will take you further! Organization brings a positive attitude, helps you achieve things one at a time and, last but not least, enables you to stay in a successful position.
What are your relaxation practices to recharge during the semester?
During the semester, I like to hit the gym regularly and go to group wellness classes of high-intensity cardio and strength training. I also like to go on hikes and long drives to beautiful places in Arizona! All of this helps me keep my stress levels in check.
What are some of your long-term professional goals?
My long-term professional goal is to work in sustainable space exploration. I believe humanity is interplanetary, which calls for all of us to join hands and collaborate to build a stronger future for ourselves by venturing out to other habitable places. I want to be a mechanical engineer in this domain.