Wednesday, December 22, 2010
While sharing my experience with this book ‘SERENDIPITY:ACCIDENTAL DESCOVERIES IN SCIENCE’ written by ROYSTON M. ROBERTS, I would like to say that for me reading this book was utterly unceremonious as I was oblivious to such kind of any book in the market till my recent stay at space port of India@ SDSC SHAR. The book, with a catchy title could hold my attention effortlessly at the very first time when I darted a glance over it. Instantly I read few pages on my friend’s suggestion and found it an excellent book based on the breakthroughs in science which have in some way been fuelled by chance.
The book is collection of accidental discoveries in science which is of utmost importance in our daily lives like- Teflon, Velcro, nylon, x-rays, penicillin, safety glass, sugar substitutes, polyethylene, plastics etc. Other than this the book also tells about serendipitous experiences of scientists in the discovery of many revolutionary fundamental principles in science like Newton's theory of gravitation, the Big Bang theory of Creation, and the discovery of DNA. You will find it quit amusing as well as edifying to know the fortuitous connection between cowpox and smallpox by investigating the claim of a milkmaid who avoided smallpox illness in the barnyard, observing the fall of an apple and Newton’s law of gravitation, and many more. These stories clearly revels how the inquisitive human mind turns accident into discovery.
I strongly feel it a must read book especially for my peers of the scientific community and I am pretty sure that they will enjoy reading this book .Unlike novels which calls for reading in a single stretch or in minimum breaks to maintain the continuity, this book is having collection of independent stories which goes to maximum 10 pages, one can easily mange time for reading as per his choice. The book is readily available at VSSC Library.
Rubber Seed Oil – an alternate fuel
As a developing country, the fast depleting fuel resources are a cause of great concern to us. So exploring the feasibility of using any alternate fuel for automobiles can greatly contribute towards prolonging our available energy resources. The most critical threat is the scarcity of automobile fuels, which can deliver maximum efficiency and pollution free exhaust. As a result, the search for alternate fuel is guided not only by the limited resources of fossil fuels but also the pollution factor.
Research studies show that the Rubber seed oil can be used as an alternate fuel to diesel in combustion ignition engine.
Rubber seed oil
Rubber seed oil, which is highly yellow in colour, is a minor source of non-edible oil in
Rubber seeds are harvested from rubber tree, which is sturdy quick growing and tall. Rubber is traditionally grown in the hinterlands of the south west coast of
parts of Tamilnadu. Non-traditional areas where rubber is being cultivated includes North-eastern states, Karnataka, Goa, parts of Orissa, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Maharastra. The fruits nature and ripen during July / September months are picked up every day during this seed fall season. Seeds can also be collected by harvesting fruits at yellow brown colour stage and breaking them. Each seed weighs about 6 gm. They possess hard brown coat having characteristic mottling.
Rubber seed oil is used for making soaps and is a substitute for linseed oil in the paint manufacturing industry. Oxidised rubber seed oil is used as anti corrosive coatings, adhesives and resins coatings. Rubber seed oil with
For a long time, only small quantity of the rubber seeds produced in
The increase in price of non-edible oil after 1970 gave the necessary impetus to this industry. The rubber seed oil production industry is mainly concentrated in Tamilnadu and more particularly in and around Virudhunagar. The millers in Tamilnadu have been mainly processing groundnuts. These groundnut mills function after December while the rubber seed season in
A few units have also come up in Kerala in recent years. Some of the units processing Cashew kernel waste are located in and around Kollam. The market price of this oil at Tamilnadu is around Rs 25 per Kg.
Estimate of oil
The rubber seed contain an oily endo sperm. Generally 37% of the seed is shell and 63% kernel by weight. The oil content of air-dried kernel is about 47%. An estimated 45000 tones of rubber seed are produced during a normal year. Around 10% of the seeds are used in plantations. The oil content in the rubber seed is about 15% of the total weight of the seed. The annual production rubber seed oil is placed around 3500 tones.
Greater the percentage of carbon and hydrogen, better is the fuel in quality and calorific value since these two constituents are responsible for heat value. Nitrogen has no calorific value and hence its presence is undesirable. For a good fuel
The inherent properties of rubber seed oil make it suitable for use in diesel engines, as an alternate fuel. Rubber seed oil can be used as a fuel in rural area for agricultural and irrigation equipments.
Development and utilization of plant based seed oils in Indian rural areas will definitely assist in extending our crude oil reserves beyond the expected period of availability.
“Beep Beep”, the alarm in my mobile was giving out its wake up call faithfully at . Grumbling about its punctuality and persistence and cursing it for meticulously carrying out its duty, I sat up, rubbing my eyes and switched it off. Vaguely, I sensed the presence of butterflies in my stomach. As the slumber- induced fog in my brain cleared away gradually, the reason sprang to my mind- the day I had to go to school and conduct classes under the aegis of World Space Week ’10 celebrations of ISRO had dawned. Suddenly, I was wide awake. I had announced my willingness to be a resource person (as we are known) on a sudden whim. But once I was briefed about the activities to be carried out, I realised that earnest effort had to be put in to pull it off successfully. A refreshing shower and a quick bite later, I commenced the final stages of my preparation for the same. By the time I concluded a swift perusal of the slides in the presentation, the vehicle arranged for our journey had arrived at our doorstep. It had been pouring cats and dogs since daybreak. The LCD operator and two of my senior colleagues from LPSC, Manoj Sir and Venugopal Sir were picked up on the way. Being experienced, they put me at ease, sharing the anecdotes of previous years and counseling me on how to tackle the students’ doubts and queries.
Our first destination was Iqbal school at Peringammala., nestled between picturesque hills and lush forests. As our van rumbled along the winding, uphill road, I noticed the students glancing curiously at the flex board displayed on the vehicle and murmuring among themselves, “Look, ISRO people have come here.“ The Headmistress and teachers there accorded a war welcome to us. The screen and projector were set up. As soon as the laptop was turned on for a last minute scanning of the slides, the power supply went off. The laptop was entirely devoid of charge. The obliging teachers provided us with the school’s laptop, but unluckily, it was low on charge too. The school authorities informed us that this was a regular occurrence and that they were compelled to rely on generators to hold practical classes for the children. About an hour would lapse by the time a generator was procured and put into operation. Notwithstanding these setbacks, we resigned ourselves and decided to go ahead with our mission.
About 100 students (of classes 9 and 10) and teachers were crammed into a library room intended to accommodate not more than 40. Having completed schooling just 5 years ago myself, it was overwhelming to behold the adulation and anticipation of the pupils and their tutors. The fact that the prestige of our organisation was at stake gave me courage. After a formal welcome by the HM and a short introduction by Manoj sir, I plunged into the presentation nervously. My senior colleagues intervened whenever I encountered difficulties , in elucidating a point or was searching for the exact Malayalam translation for technical terms. It was transformed into an active, vociferous interaction between us and the students, awakening their interest and inquisitiveness. The responses to the queries thrown at them were highly enthusiastic. Manoj sir’s quick wit elicited quite a few laughs. The resumption of power supply was greeted with rapturous applause. As we wound up, many of the children had their eyes glued to the visuals on the slides.
Subsequently, there was a barrage of intelligent, thought- provoking doubts from the listeners- how is the launch vehicle controlled and commanded remotely at the launch pad? Beyond the atmosphere, what provides the reaction force for the rocket to proceed upwards? What are the cryo fuels used in our launch vehicles? – being a few samples. There were queries on the RSR launches and the admission procedure at IIST too. We collected the feedback form and set out for our next school, the
Unsure of the precise location, we went farther ahead and were ultimately guided correctly to the institution. About 200 students and teachers were seated in a large auditorium. Lady Luck smiled on us this time with the electricity authorities favouring us and the slide show was put up. Unfortunately, the microphone brought out by the authorities refused to co-operate and we had to strain our vocal chords yet again. One of the teachers delivered an excellent introduction on the observance of World Space Week. The video of C-11 (Chandrayaan) liftoff drew spontaneous appreciation from the young audience. Here too, the information imparted by us was received with immense interest and vigour. A smart girl stretched our thinking powers to the limit, probing us with numerous questions on the cosmos- regarding black holes, the theory of relativity, discovery of traces of fossil fuels on the moon Titan etc. The 15-year-old confessed to be an avid reader of Stephen Hawking, arousing our admiration with her insatiable quest for knowledge. A young man enquired,” Chechi, will you come next year also? The video was fantastic.” A few girls actually flanked us, clutching their notebooks and asking for our signatures. Almost embarrassed, I hastily scribbled ‘best wishes’, while trying to acquaint with all of them. With great pleasure and satisfaction, we bid adieu to the school and embarked on our sojourn back to the city.
Recalling this ‘lecture at schools’ programme fills my mind with elation each time. It is a glorious opportunity for us to reach out to and interact with budding scientists and engineers. Having been educated in a private school in the city, I had requested to be allotted schools in the rural suburbs of