For a UPSC CSE aspirant, the optional subject is also an important subject. In the UPSC mains exam, optional marks have two papers, Paper 1 and Paper 2. Each paper is of 250 marks which makes a total of 500 marks. The UPSC optional subject list contains 48 subjects in total, one of which is Mechanical Engineering.





1. Theory of Machines:

  • Kinematic and dynamic analysis of planar mechanisms
  • Hydrodynamic bearings
  • Cams, gear trains, and gears, Flywheels, Balancing of rigid rotors, Governors, balancing of single and multicylinder engines, Linear vibration analysis of mechanical systems (single degree and two degrees of freedom), Automatic Controls, Belts and chain drives, Critical speeds and whirling of shafts

2. Mechanics of Solids:

  • Stress and strain in two dimensions
  • Principal stresses and strains, Stress-strain relations, uniaxial loading, thermal stresses, Mohr’s construction, linear elastic materials isotropy, and isotropy
  • Torsion of shafts, helical springs
  • Beams: Bending moment and shear force diagrams, bending stresses and deflection of beams, Shear stress distribution
  • Combined stresses, Thick, and thin-walled pressure vessels
  • Struts and columns, Strain energy concepts, and theories of failure
  • Rotation discs. Shrink fits.

3. Engineering Materials:

  • Basic concepts on structure of solids, Crystalline materials, Defects in crystalline materials, Alloy and binary phase diagrams, structure and properties of common engineering materials
  • Heat treatment of steels
  • Plastics, Ceramics, and composite Materials, common applications of various materials.

4. Manufacturing Science:

  • Marchant’s force analysis, Taylor’s tool life equation, machinability and machining economics, Rigid, small and flexible automation, NC, CNC
  • Recent machining methods- EDM, ECM, and ultrasonics
  • High energy rate forming
  • Application of plasmas and lasers, analysis of forming processes
  • Jigs, fixtures, tools and gauges, Inspection of length, profile, position, and surface finish

5. Manufacturing management:

  • Production Planning and Control, Forecasting-Moving average, exponential smoothing, Operationssheduling
  • Product development
  • Assembly line balancing
  • Breakeven analysis, Capacity planning
  • CPM and PERT
  • EOQ model
  • Control Operations: Inventory control-ABC analysis
  • Materials requirement planning
  • Job design, Job standards, work measurement, Quality management-Quality control
  • Transportation and assignment models
  • Operations research: Linear programming-Graphical and Simplex methods
  • Single server queuing model
  • Value Engineering: Value analysis, for Value/ cost
  • Total quality management and forecasting techniques
  • Project management

6. Elements of Computation:

  • Computer Organisation, Flowcharting
  • Features of Common Computer Languages-FORTRAN d BaseIII, Lotus 1-2-3 C and elementary programming


1. Thermodynamics:

  • Basic concept
  • Open and closed systems
  • Applications of Thermodynamic Laws
  • Clapeyron equation
  • Gas equation
  • Availability, Irreversibility, and Tds relations.

2. I.C. Engines, Fuels, and Combustion:

  • Spark ignition and compression ignition engines, Two-stroke engines, Four-stroke engine, mechanical, thermal, and volumetric efficiency, Heat balance
  • The combustion process in C.I. and S.I. engines, preignition detonation in S.I. engine Diesel knock in C.I.engine
  • Alternate fuels Carburation and Fuel injection, Engine emissions, and control
  • Choice of engine fuels, Octane, and Cetane ratings
  • Solid, liquid, and gaseous fuels, stoichiometric air requirements and excess air factor, fuel gas analysis, higher and lower calorific values, and their measurements

3. Heat Transfer, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning:

  • One and two-dimensional heat conduction
  • Heat transfer from extended surfaces, heat transfer by forced and free convection
  • Fundamentals for diffusive and connective mass transfer, Radiation laws, heat exchange between black and non-black surfaces, Network Analysis
  • Heat exchangers
  • Heat pump refrigeration cycles and systems, Condensers, evaporators, and expansion devices and controls
  • Properties and choice of refrigerant, Refrigeration Systems, and components, psychometrics, comfort indices, cooling loading calculations, solar refrigeration.

4. Turbo-machines and Power Plants:

  • Adiabatic and Isentropic flow, Fanno lines, Rayleghlines
  • Continuity, momentum, and Energy Equations
  • Theory and design of axial flow turbines and compressors, Flow-through turbo-machine Balde, cascades, centrifugal compressor
  • Selection of site for steam, hydro, nuclear and stand-by power plants, selection base and peak load power plants Modern Highpressure, High duty boilers, Draft and dust removal equipment, Fuel and cooling water systems, heat balance, station, and plant heat rates, operation and maintenance of various power plants, preventive maintenance, the economics of power generation
  • Dimensional analysis and modeling

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