How did you end up in such an offbeat, unconventional and uncommon career?

Sundar’s passion for Coastal Engineering began in University when he earned his Bachelors in Civil Engineering from Delhi College of Engineering and a Masters in Ocean Engineering from IIT Madras, India followed by a PhD in Civil Engineering (Ocean Waves, Waves-Structure interaction) from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. His PhD research was focused on the topic of wave impact forces on cylinders. A paper presented on this work at the International Society of Offshore and Polar Engineers Conference in Singapore won the best paper award.

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What do you do?

The primary focus of my work at is to provide structural engineers with data on the effects of ocean wave interaction with offshore and coastal structures such as oil platforms and breakwaters. Typically, this involves the use of both numerical and experimental methods, depending on the complexity of the problem

Tell us about some of your work

Sundar’s recent project with Ausenco on the Mina de Cobre terminal in Panama is one of his most unforgettable projects to date. The work for this project covered diverse coastal engineering topics such as bathymetry surveys, wave and current measurement in the field, numerical modelling of wave transformation, breakwater design and scale model testing, prediction of long-term sediment transport, prediction of thermal plume mixing from a cooling water outfall, prediction of extreme wave events and development of design criteria, and prediction of moored ship motions and berth downtime. Sundar installed a wave buoy and anemometers at the berth location to measure wave and wind data in real-time for the planning of critical marine construction operations. He has been able to work on this project during the course of almost ten years from the greenfield stage, all the way to the project completion and commissioning phase.

How does your work benefit the industry?

Numerical methods have the advantage of lower cost, increased flexibility, and faster turnaround times from problem definition to results. Since their needs are very specific, and are not fully addressed by commercially available software, Sandwell has written their own in-house Wave3D code to model wave interaction with large offshore platforms. The accuracy of the code has been verified against results from experimental tests in wave basins