Mechanical Engineering Optional Course For UPSC

How to prepare for mechanical engineering optional subject for UPSC?

UPSC offers engineering subjects as an optional subject for the preparation of UPSC mains examination, these subjects are ordered under engineering that includes mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and civil engineering. all these three are the core branches of Engineering a candidate should know that if they have graduated in the subjects then only they should select the subjects as an optional any candidate can opt for any of the subjects with a proper interest in a general case there are very few takers for mechanical engineering optional subject for UPSC examination most of the candidates who have taken engineering subjects are in Engineering services. In this article, we are going to discuss the mechanical engineering optional subject for the UPSC examination. You will get all the required information in this article.

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UPSC mechanical engineering optional subject 

Paper 1


Mechanics Mechanics of rigid bodies Equations of equilibrium in space and its application, first and second moments of area, simple problems on friction, kinematics of particles for plane motion, elementary particle dynamics.
  Mechanics of deformable bodies Generalized Hooke’s law and its application, design problems on axial stress, shear stress and bearing stress, material properties for dynamic loading, bending shear and stresses in beams, determination of principal stresses and strains – analytical and graphical, compound and combined stresses, bi-axial stresses – thin-walled pressure vessel, material behavior and design factors for the dynamic load, design of circular shafts for bending and torsional load only, deflection of the beam for statically determinate problems, theories of failure.
Engineering Materials:   Basic concepts on the structure of solids, common ferrous and non-ferrous materials and their applications, heat-treatment of steels, non-metals- plastics, ceramics, composite materials, and nano-materials.
Theory of Machines:   Kinematic and dynamic analysis of plane mechanisms. Cams, Gears and epicyclic gear trains, flywheels, governors, balancing of rigid rotors, balancing of single and multi-cylinder engines, linear vibration analysis of mechanical systems (single degree of freedom), Critical speeds, and whirling of shafts.
Manufacturing Science Manufacturing Process Machine tool engineering – Merchant’s force analysis, Taylor’s tool life equation, conventional machining, NC and CNC machining process, jigs, and fixtures. Non-conventional machining – EDM, ECM, ultrasonic, water jet machining, etc, application of lasers and plasmas, energy rate calculations. Forming and welding processes- standard processes. Metrology – the concept of fits and tolerances, tools and gauges, comparators, an inspection of length, position, profile, and surface finish.
  Manufacturing Management System design: factory location- simple OR models, plant layout – methods based, applications of engineering economic analysis and break-even analysis for product selection, process selection, and capacity planning, predetermined time standards. System planning, forecasting methods based on regression and decomposition, design and balancing of multi-model and stochastic assembly lines, inventory management – probabilistic inventory models for order time and order quantity determination, JIT systems, strategic sourcing, managing inter plant logistics. System operations and control: Scheduling algorithms for job shops, applications of statistical methods for product and process quality control – applications of control charts for mean, range, percent defective, number of defects and defects per unit, quality cost systems, management of resources, organizations, and risks in projects. System improvement: Implementation of systems, such as total quality management, developing and managing flexible, lean, and agile organizations.


Paper 2


Thermodynamics, Gas Dynamics and Turbine The basic concept of the first –law and second law of Thermodynamics, the concept of entropy and reversibility, availability and unavailability, and irreversibility.
Classification and properties of fluids, incompressible and compressible fluids flow, the effect of Mach number and compressibility, continuity momentum and energy equations, normal and oblique shocks, one-dimensional isentropic flow, the flow of fluids in a duct with frictions that transfer.
Flow-through fans, blowers, and compressors, axial and centrifugal flow configuration, design of fans and compressors, single problems compress and turbine cascade, open and closed cycle gas turbines, work done in the gas turbine, reheat, and regenerators.
Heat Transfer Conduction heat transfer- general conduction equation – Laplace, Poisson, and Fourier equations, Fourier law of conduction, one-dimensional steady-state heat conduction applied to the simple wall, solid and hollow cylinder & spheres.
Convection heat transfer- Newton’s law of convection, free and forced convection, heat transfer during the laminar and turbulent flow of an incompressible fluid over a flat plate, concepts of Nusselt number, hydrodynamic and thermal boundary layer their thickness, Prandtl number, the analogy between heat and momentum transfer- Reynolds, Colbum, Prandtl analogies, heat transfer during laminar and turbulent flow through horizontal tubes, free convection from horizontal and vertical plates.
Black body radiation – basic radiation laws such as Stefan-Boltzman, Planck distribution, Wein’s displacement, etc.
Basic heat exchanger analysis, classification of heat exchangers.
I .C. Engines Classification, thermodynamic cycles of operation, determination of brake power, indicated power, mechanical efficiency, heat balance sheet, interpretation of performance characteristics, petrol, gas, and diesel engines.
Combustion in SI and CI engines, normal and abnormal combustion, the effect of working parameters on knocking, reduction of knocking, Forms of the combustion chamber for SI and CI engines, rating of fuels, additives, emission
Different systems of IC engines- fuels, lubricating, cooling, and transmission systems. Alternate fuels in IC engines.
Steam Engineering Steam generation- modified Rankine cycle analysis, Modern steam boilers, steam at critical and supercritical pressures, draught equipment, natural and artificial draught, boiler fuels solid, liquid, and gaseous fuels. Steam turbines – principle, types, compounding, impulse and reaction turbines, axial thrust.
Steam nozzles- a flow of steam in the convergent and divergent nozzle, pressure at throat for maximum discharge with different initial steam conditions such as wet, saturated, and superheated, the effect of variation of back pressure, the supersaturated flow of steam in nozzles, Wilson line.
Rankine cycle with internal and external irreversibility, reheat factor, reheating and regeneration, methods of governing, back pressure, and pass-out turbines.
Steam power plants – combined cycle power generation, heat recovery steam generators (HRSG) fired, and unfired, co-generation plants.
Refrigeration and air-conditioning Vapor compression refrigeration cycle – cycle on p-H & T-s diagrams, eco-friendly refrigerants – R134a,123, Systems like evaporators, condensers, compressor, expansion devices. Simple vapor absorption systems.
Psychrometry – properties, processes, charts, sensible heating and cooling, humidification and dehumidification, effective temperature, air-conditioning load calculation, simple duct design.


What are the advantages and disadvantages of choosing mechanical engineering?

Following are the advantages of opting for mechanical engineering optional subject for UPSC:- 

  • Mechanical engineering is objective in nature. 
  • The candidates who have studied this subject for four years in their graduation are very familiar with the subject.
  • The difficulty level of questions asked in this paper is not that high. It is similar to the level of graduation.

Following are the disadvantages of opting for mechanical engineering optional subject:- 

  • This subject has a vast syllabus and the candidate needs to study for a longer time than other subjects. 
  • There is a decent overlap in the syllabus of the humanities subject but in mechanical engineering.
  • There is no scope for an overlap list of books for mechanical engineering optional subjects.

Resource books that a candidate can use for the preparation of mechanical engineering as an optional subject

Since there is not too much difference in the syllabus of mechanical engineering for Indian Engineering services and Indian administrative service. Here we are providing you with a list of the best books for the preparation of the UPSC examination with mechanical engineering as an optional subject.

  1. Fundamentals of Classed Thermodynamics – Van Wylen
  2. Engineering Heat Transfer – Gupta Prakash
  3. Heat and Mass Transfer – R. Yadav
  4. Energy Conversion – Sukhamoy
  5. Theory of Mechanism and Mechanics – Jagdish Lal.
  6. Engineering Mechanics of Solids – Popov E
  7. Manufacturing Science – Ghosh and Malik
  8. Manufacturing Technology – P N Rao
  9. Production Management – R K Jain
  10. Principles of Manufacturing Material & Process – Campbeu
  11. Environmental Pollution Central Engineering C S Rao
  12. Surveying and Leveling – TP Kanetkar
  13. Heat Conversion – Arora & Domkundwar
  14. Manufacturing Science – R K Jain
  15. Thermodynamics – R Yadav Theory of Mechanics – S S Rattan

What is the best preparation strategy for mechanical engineering optional subjects?

Following are some of the points that a candidate should keep in mind while preparing for mechanical engineering optional subject for UPSC:- 

  • Firstly a candidate should know what kind of questions are being asked in the examinations and they should refer to the previous year’s question papers and analyze them thoroughly. 
  • Next, the candidate should start studying the theoretical aspects of the syllabus from the standard books and the notes that are available after this the candidate should start solving different numerical problems.
  • The candidate should start solving the solved examples from the standard textbooks so that they can prepare better.
  • Lastly and most importantly the candidate should revise on a regular basis so that they can have good knowledge about what they have studied and how much they have learned.

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