IIT tech can help people turn waste into bricks and tiles

Imagine turning plastic waste into useful products like tiles and bricks. Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Roorkee, have developed a technology that will help people do just this.
All you need is polymer substance (HDPE or high density polyethylene material), some fibrous substance and a chemical developed at the Institute. People can use just about any plastic waste – old or broken plastic buckets, used pipes, bottles or mobile covers. For the fibrous substance, anything that is fibrous can be used - wheat, rice and corn straws or jute, coir, hemp fibres or even human hair.
“The technology is very simple. A person has to just heat up a mixture (up to 110 to 140 degrees) of plastic and fibrous materials in a mould with the chemical and then let it cool for some time. A nice tile or a brick would be ready for use,” said Shishir Sinha, Head of the Department of Chemical Engineering at the Institute, while speaking to India Science Wire.
The proprietary chemical developed by the research group is an organic chemical based on olefins. It helps bind the polymer and fibre materials to form the composites. “We have developed this chemical by using domestically available ingredients. It would cost only around Rs. 50 per 100 gram. This means people in villages will be able to produce a set of 10 one sq ft tiles at a cost of just about Rs 100.”
The technology, Dr Sinha noted, could be used with any material including waste.The research group has been focusing on using human hair as raw material for fibrous content. “Human hair has high tensile strength, is light weight and is completely bio-degradable. Products made out of hair fibre reinforced HDPE composites have been found to be highly resistant to corrosion and have good mechanical properties,” he explained.
He said he and his team focused on human hair mainly because it is one material that will be available in plenty in any villages and hamlets including those with the most poor. They just lay scattered, sometime even clogging drains and water bodies. 
“We wanted to ensure that at least some of the work we do could be of use to the poorest of the poor. This technology would help achieve that," he added.
 (India Science Wire)
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New memory device to boost miniaturization of digital gizmos

Scientists at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Roorkee, have developed a high density memory device that promises to provide high speed data reading and writing even while requiring extraordinarily low power to operate it.
The new type of memory could potentially be used in future memory chips for digital devices like smartphones and tablets, as well as for large data storage. It may also find applications in memory-intensive computing tasks like video and multimedia signal processing, pattern recognition, virtual reality, and machine learning.
In order to move towards further miniaturization of digital devices, scientists have been looking for new materials and processes including quantum mechanical phenomenon. Novel materials and material combinations are needed to fabricate what are called tunnel junctions with improved functionalities. 
One such potential contender is the Multiferroic Tunnel Junction (MFTJ)—a device made up of two ferromagnetic metal layers set apart by an ultrathin ferroelectric barrier. The aim is to obtain multiple logic states or precisely what is called ‘four logic levels’.
Researchers in the past have been able to achieve the four logic states, but these logic states have to be distinguishable and separable. The team at IIT,Roorkee, has achieved this. It has developed Ferromagnetic Shape Memory Alloy (FSMA)-based MFTJ nonvolatile memory device. 
“Our memory device has shown tremendous improvement of near 140 per cent in the memory function,” Prof. Davinder Kaur, who has developed the device along with her research student Kirandeep Singh, told India Science Wire.
One of the key features of the device is that it shows a ‘four logic state’ resistance at room temperature that can be tuned both by electric as well as magnetic field. Further, it utilizes voltage instead of large electric current to switch the magnetic bits and write data into memory. Hence it is more energy efficient and dense and can bring down the cost per bit. The researchers have published their findings in journal Applied Physics Letters.
(India Science Wire)

Earthquake alert system in Uttarakhand to be expanded

The India Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee is setting up a network of 100 earthquake sensors between Chamoli and Dharchula in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand as part of an exercise to provide an alert in case of any high magnitude earthquake occurs in the Himalayas.
The project, supported by the Uttarakhand government, includes installation of sirens in the state government’s Emergency Operation Centres at Dehradun and all district headquarters. It builds upon the existing network of 84 sensors between Uttarkashi and Chamoli in the Garhwal region put in place as part of a pilot project supported by the Ministry of Earth Sciences.
Speaking to India Science Wire, Prof. M.L.Sharma of the Department of Earthquake Engineering at IIT Roorkee and Principal Investigator of the project, said the deployment of additional sensors will go a long way in providing protection not only to the people of Uttarakhand but also those living further down south.
“Data compiled over the last two centuries has shown that large magnitude earthquakes have occurred in different regions of the Himalayas except one segment in its central part. It is called Central Seismic Gap. Scientists apprehend that it has potential to generate a major earthquake and that it is overdue.
"Areas within a radius of 200 km from the Gap could be vulnerable and these include Chandigarh, Delhi, Lucknow, Patna and other parts of the highly populated Indo-Gangetic Plain, apart from Uttarakhand itself,” Sharma said.
The new 100 sensors along with the existing 84 spread over a distance of 200 km would cover the Gap area and help monitor the seismic activity there. The sensors will stream data in real-time basis to a server at the Institute using network of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) and SWAN network of the Uttarakhand government. The computer will process the data and issue an alert immediately. 
When an earthquake occurs, different types of waves with different velocities are generated. P-waves travel the fastest at a speed of 5 to 6 km per second followed by S-waves which move at a speed of about 3 km per second. But P-wave itself is slower than electromagnetic wave transmitted through telephone. The sensors would send out a signal to the Institute through telephone towers of BSNL as soon as a P-wave is detected.
Dr. Sharma said Dehradun would get a lead time of about 10 seconds. “It may not be much. Not all may be in a position to respond that quickly. But, at least measures could be in place for the immediate shut down of hazardous units."
IIT Roorkee, he said, was working on scaling up the alert system to cover cities like Delhi and Chandigarh which were in the vulnerable zone. Delhi, for instance, could get a lead time of 70 to 80 seconds. The system is being designed to issue an alarm for any earthquake with a magnitude of over 6 on the Richter scale.
(India Science Wire)

RailTel, IIT Roorkee to set up Telecom Centre of Excellence

The public sector RailTel Corporation today signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Roorkee for etablishing a Telecom Centre of Excellence (TCOE).
The RailTel IIT Roorkee Centre of Excellence in Telecom (RICET) will be the eighth TCOE in the country.
The MoU was signed in the presence of Union Minister for Communications & Information Technology Kapil Sibal.
RailTel will fund the TCOE through 100 per cent budgetary support over a five-year period for carrying out research and development activities in the field of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and Broadband Applications.

ADB to provide $100m loan for sustainable urban services in five Uttarakhand towns


The Government yesterday signed an agreement for a $100 million loan with the Manila-based Asian Development Bank (ADB) as the second tranche of the Uttarakhand Urban Sector Development Investment Programme which will support rehabilitation and expansion of basic urban infrastructure in five major urban centers of Uttarakhand and ensure sustainable municipal service delivery.

An official press release said the project would supplement the urban infrastructure programme already initiated under the first tranche in Dehradun, Haridwar and Nainital and will be extended to cover in addition Haldwani, Roorkee and Ramnagar towns specially for improving the water supply infrastructure that will benefit about 800,000 residents. 
A comprehensive sewerage system will also be developed under the project, which will provide improved sanitation facilities to about 100,000 residents of Roorkee town, it said.
The documents were signed by Dr. Anup Wadhawan, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs on behalf of Government of India, Mr. Hun Kim, Country Director of ADB’s India Resident Mission on behalf of ADB and Mr. M.H. Khan, Secretary (UD) on behalf of Government of Uttarakhand.
Ms Radhika Jha, Project Director and Dr. Anwar A. Khan, Deputy Programme Director from Uttarakhand Government were part of the loan signing team. 
Dr. Wadhawan said that it is important for urban infrastructure to keep pace with population levels and its future growth. The project will address this objective and help alleviate infrastructure deficiencies, tap economic potential, and improve the living environment, he said.
Mr. Hun said that the project will improve the quality life and employment opportunities for the people living in five project towns. It will also improve the ability of participating institutions to manage sector reforms and deliver better services. The contribution of tourism in the state economy is significant, so upgrades to key infrastructure will also help draw visitors and generate more employment opportunities. 
The second tranche loan from the ADB’s Ordinary Capital Resources has a 25-year term including a grace period of five years, commitment charges of 0.15% and interest rate to be determined in accordance with ADB’s LIBOR-based lending facility. The Government of India will provide counterpart funds of $42.86 million for a total second tranche project investment cost of $142.86 million. 

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Deputy Jailor shot dead in front of house in Roorkee Jail

In a daring attack, three motorcycle-borne youths shot dead the Deputy Jailor of Roorkee Jail, Narendra Singh, from close range in front of his house in the jail premises and fled away today.

Man accused of 1992 murder of Indian family in Dubai sentenced to death

A CBI court in Ahmedabad has convicted Ravjibhai Manubhai Pawar of the murder of his Indian employer and four other members of his family in Dubai in 1992 and sentenced him to death.

A press release from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) said that its investigations had shown that Pawar, while working as a domestic servant in Dubai, had kileld Mr Ramesh K Sagar and four others of Mr Sagar's family on January 4, 1992.

He was also accused of rape and of stealing household articles, including clothes, ornaments and cash.

Pawar feld from Dubai on January 5 and came to India. On the basis of an Interpol alert, he was nabbed on January 10 by the Gujarat police and a first information report (FIR)was registered.

Since the accused was an Indian national and the offence took place outside India, the case was entrusted to the CBI. The Dubai Police had also registered an FIR and collected evidence, which was used by the CBI during investigation and trial of the case, the release said.

The chargesheet was filed on January 23, 1992 in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Chikhli. The trial court found him guilty and convicted him.

The case was registered by the CBI, Ahmedabad (now Gandhinagar) Branch on April 27, 1992 on the basis of the request and consent of the Government of Gujarat for futher investigation of the case filed at the Chikhli Police Station, the release added.


Pak, African devotees among over 2 lakh attending Piran Urs

Lakhs of pilgrims from across the country as well as from Pakistan and South Africa, are thronging the famous Piran Kariyar Dargah in Roorkee on the occasion of the annual Piran Urs.

The main Urs (festival) of the ongoing "Badi Roshni" (major illumination), was held last night at the Dargah as part of the festival, which would go on till February 20.

A group of 187 pilgrims or "Jayareens" from Pakistan also attended the Piran Urs. They reached Kaliyar Dargah by Lahore Express amid tight security from Roorkee railway station along with two officials of the Embassy.

Regional Director, CO Roorkee Kamlesh Upadhyay said at least two lakh "Jayareens" had reached the Dargah yesterday. Most of them were from Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar and also South Africa.

The Pakistani "Jayareens" were thrilled to participate in the "Badi Roshni," Mr Upadhyay said.

Tight police arrangements have been made to ensure safe conduct of the occasion, he added.


Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee

Has roots in the Roorkee College, the first Engineering College in British India, later the University of Roorkee, India's first engineering university, elevated to an IIT in 2002

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