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"The need for specialization" - SOP for Ph.D. in mechanical engineering

pesarak8 1 / 2  
Jan 19, 2011   #1
Dear all, this is my SOP draft, please let me now about the corrections it needs and your comments to make it eye catching and persuasive...

7 years of study and research in Mechanical Engineering has made me an eager supporter of this major. I have selected thermal-fluid field because, first of all, it gives me an impression of being dynamic and flowing. Moreover, in my perspective, thermal-fluid mechanics is one of the most promising fields of science because it has a wide range of application from renewable energies to bio-mechanics. It goes without saying that each of these subjects will play a drastic role in the future world and any achievement in these areas will directly result in contributions to welfare for mankind. Besides, this means that there will be excellent job opportunities in both academic and industrial environments for a researcher in this field. Therefore, I wish to pursue a Ph.D. degree in Mechanical Engineering with an emphasis in thermal-fluids.

Upon obtaining a high rank among over a million participants of the intensely competitive Nationwide University Entrance Exam in Iran, I chose Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, an accredited university with a prestigious engineering school (the third oldest university in the country which is among the top 5).

During the undergraduate years at the university, I learned the basics of mechanics. Besides, I tried to take courses in diverse branches of the applied mechanics to get familiar with different aspects and applications of this major. Taking courses like: Internal Combustion Engines, Fundamentals of Aerodynamics, HVAC and turbo-machinery opened my perspective as a mechanical engineer and served me to comprehend the fundamentals of Mechanical engineering. I obtained valuable set of experiences through doing various projects as parts of these courses. For instance, I designed and calculated the plans of a floor heating system for my father's house as a project in HVAC course. At that time this system was not common in our country and when I put those plans into practice in our house later, many people were attracted by the idea. Accordingly, I chose to simulate the turbulent free convection and radiative heat transfer in a room equipped with floor heating system by means of FLUENT commercial code as my B.Sc. thesis.

In the last year during the bachelor's, I participated in the nationwide entrance exam for M.Sc. program and ranked among the top 2% of nearly 10'000 participants. This rank would allow me to choose from a wide range of universities. However, I again selected the Ferdowsi University of Mashhad where I was familiar with the faculty members working in the field of thermofluids and I knew about their high potentials to conduct post-graduate research.

Starting the M.Sc. program, I referred to Dr. Mohammad Passandideh Fard for supervision and he accepted me as one of his two M.Sc. students. He is an active and knowledgeable professor who has accomplished his Ph.D. and postdoctoral programs at the University of Toronto and one of the reasons why I have chosen the U of T is his advice and favorable experience of study and research at that university.

During the first year of the M.Sc. program, I chose the Electrowetting phenomenon as the subject of my seminar course. Throughout the studies for my seminar, which earned me a grade of 18.5 out of 20, I was fascinated by the idea of using the electrostatic force to move a liquid or to make desired changes in the shape of a liquid/gas free surface. Although this subject is not new, the devices which work based on the electrostatic force to perform various fluidic operations are new matters of interest. To further investigate the idea, we arranged a joint research project in cooperation with another M.Sc. student in which we developed a numerical model that can simulate axisymmetric and unsteady free surface flows of a perfectly conductive liquid under an electrostatic field. We presented the results in three international conferences and submitted a paper to the Journal of Computational Physics.

Now, I am working on my thesis in which my objective is to change the method of application of surface forces, like surface tension or electrostatic forces, in the RIPPLE code. I am thinking of using the exact location of the interface while solving for the pressure field and considering the pressure jump as a boundary condition on the interface. This will enhance the accuracy of the simulations and avoid spurious currents near the free surface. I am expected to graduate in a few months from now.

Since the first year of the M.Sc. program, I ran a small company in which I used to carry out research projects for my clients who were mostly undergraduate students. In most cases they gave me a journal paper on the numerical simulation of a thermofluidic problem; I replicated the simulation and provide them with the resulting data files. Although the material income was not considerable, dealing with diverse problems and trying to solve them showed me the beauty and value of the research as a profession.

In fact applying a systematic and algorithmic method for solving the problems has been one of my main educational goals throughout all the related researches and projects. I learned how to approach, organize and solve problems logically and in the most efficient and scientific way and now I am prepared to apply this method in my future researches and projects.

My resolute intention for future is to become a research professional at an academic or commercial research-oriented organization. In fact I think it is the art of a successful and apt researcher to apply numerical simulations properly in designing and implementing practical systems. Obviously, becoming skillful in both of these areas is far from being called an easy job, and in addition to a huge amount of effort and devotion, requires the supervision of experienced advisers and also considerable facilities. I do believe that these are the factors that make me interested in U of T to be an ideal place for my Ph.D. program, with its rich and honorable history, highly knowledgeable faculty, and well-funded experimental facilities. Besides, the dynamic and innovative atmosphere of U of T and diversity of the student body will open my mind to new ideas and new ways of doing things. I am sure in this environment I will be able to exploit my potential to the fullest.

Through studying various publications, I have gathered that a number of renowned faculty members in mechanical department are working on the research frontiers of fluid and thermal sciences whose interests match closely with mine. For instance, the paper entitled "On a three-dimensional volume tracking model of droplet impact" by professors Bussmann, Mostaghimi and Chandra as well as Dr. Bussmann's Ph.D. thesis served me as references to understand the details of the VOF method; the papers published by Dr. Ashgriz on Interface pressure force calculation for front capturing methods were so inspiring for my M.Sc thesis or Dr. Ben Mrad and Dr. Sullivan's publications on investigation of an electrified fluid interface were helpful to me during my work on electrospry simulation. I am eager to cooperate in a project in the field of Multiphase flows under the supervision of one of these professors.

I look forward to being an active contributing member of the student community at U of T.
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Jan 21, 2011   #2
Okay, I am going to give you tough criticism, because I think I can help you gain an important insight right now...
Specialization is important because this is an era of multiplicity, enormity. It is an era in which only the best can be competitive. The same is true for sentences in an essay. Do not keep any weak sentences:

Therefore, I am enthusiastically applying to the University of Toronto for the Ph.D. program. obvious.

The whole first paragraph does nothing for the reader. It is a whole paragraph that does nothing but tell the reader your choice of major.

to change the method of application of surface forces, like surface tension or electrostatic forces, in Ripple code. --can you be more specific about what you are doing? I think this will impress the reader a lot if you can make her/him understand your project.

My resolute intention for future is to become a research professional at an academic or commercial, research-oriented organization. In fact I think it is the art of a successful and apt researcher to apply numerical simulations...----this is very good. Right here, I start to see YOUR philosophy. I want to see more of this at the beginning of the essay. In the intro paragraph, tell the reader what all of this means. What can you tell us about your personal ideas about your chosen field? It is not enough to say it is challenging, or that it has a range of applications. You have to tell the reader about something you want to do, some theme they can associate with you. All the examples are strong and impressive... very good accomplishments, but as an ESSAY this is supposed to take the reader on a trip to explore ONE BIG CONCEPT. So, what is your theme, your concept? Use the intro and conclusion of the essay to explain it.


of experienced advisers and also ...
OP pesarak8 1 / 2  
Jan 22, 2011   #3
Dear Kevin, Thanks a lot for your "tough criticism". It showed me the right way to start my essay and proceed in an impressive manner and have it free of weak sentences.

I still appreciate any other comments

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