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CSIR NEWS

 

 

 

ISSN 0409-7467

VOLUME 54

NUMBER 16

30 AUGUST 2004

 

 

CGCRI develops High Alumina Ceramic Ferrules

CERAMIC Ferrules are installed in exchange tubes at Petroleum oil refineries in sulphur recovery units.  These are made of high purity aluminium oxide (more than 98%) with a sintered density of more than 3.7 g.cm3 and  water absorption is less than 0.01%.  The melting point of the material is 2050°C, while the safe working temperature is 1600°C.  In addition, the material is inherently hard (hardness: more than 16Gpa), abrasion resistant, withstands very high alkali and acid attack at room and elevated temperatures and therefore, is suitable for use under very stringent, corrosive and erosive atmosphere.

Until recently the ferrules were being imported and supplied to Mathura Refinery, Mathura, at the time of installation of Sulphur Recovery Units.  During its use, the component with close dimensional tolerance is exposed to different corrosive fumes, viz. SO2, SO3, H2S gases etc.  Since the product calls for reliable and stringent mechanical properties coupled with chemical inertness, dimensional accuracy and very high erosion resistance, Indian producers were not in a position to develop and supply the same.

The delay in importing the items at exorbitant cost was affecting the performance of the Sulphur Recovery Units of the Indian Oil Corporation Limited. Therefore, the Mathura Refinery approached the Central Glass and Ceramic Research Institute (CGCRI), Kolkata, to develop and supply the item for installation in the exchange tubes of the Sulphur Recovery Units. CGCRI took up this challenging task for development and supply of the item keeping in mind the strict delivery schedule.

 The major processing steps adopted are outlined below:

     ·    Processing of raw materials and preparation of body mix;

     ·    Isostatically pressing the above powder to obtain cylindrical shapes of the desired    

           dimension;

     ·    Pre‑sintering the pressed block to desired stiffness and subsequent turning to

           predetermined shape;

      ·    Firing of the finished ferrule at 1600°C;

      ·    Evaluation and characterization of properties.

After several trials, one particular composition was optimized for developing the ferrules with the desirable properties and necessary reliability.  The different process parameters were judiciously controlled to get fine grain size (average grain size <5m), which in turn improves mechanical properties to withstand high stress and strain encountered during the actual operation (bending strength more than 350 MPa). 

Some of the important properties of the sintered ferrule are given below:

          Serial No        Name of the tests                   Results

            01                    Water absorption                      0.005%

            02                    Bulk density                              3.78gm/cc

            03                    Vicker hardness (30kg)           More than 16 Gpa

                04                    Moh's hardness                       Between 9 and 10

            05                    Alumina (A12O3) content         98.88%

 

The work was originally undertaken on job contract basis. Seven hundred high‑alumina ferrules were developed and supplied to the Indian Oil Corporation Limited, Mathura Refinery, in the year 2003 within the stipulated time schedule.  The authorities expressed their satisfaction over the performance of the ferrules. As a result, CGCRI has bagged another prestigious order to supply an additional 500 units.  The work is now under progress and it is expected that this development‑cum‑supply order would be executed much before the specified time frame and that the import of these items in other Oil Refineries also would be permanently stopped.

Process Control Automation for Paper Converter Machine

IN any dynamic paper mill environment, which looks for expanded and enhanced machine capabilities, flexible process control systems have become very important. This is particularly true for the off‑line coating machines that have several complex operations. To optimize these operations, the Central Electronics Engineering Research Institute (CEERI), Pilani, has developed an electronic control system to handle control variables like coat weight, coat moisture, grade changes, machine speed, hood temperature etc.

The process control system developed for an off‑line coating machine can monitor coat weight, on either side of the sheet and control the moisture content in the finished product. The coat weight is directly measured and displayed, immediately after the coat station, irrespective of the raw paper basis weight. Control of moisture at each stage of coating operation minimizes energy required to produce acceptable quality in the final product. These sensors fixed on scanner frames continuously monitor/control these parameters through scanning operations at two different locations.

The control system will also monitor online, the roughness of the coated paper through an indigenously developed – optical roughness sensor, which can be installed on a super calendar machine. Further, the system has the required MIS to give the process information details. This DCS Electronic system has been developed to handle a wide range of control variables. The system has been successfully commissioned and installed at M/s Rohit Pulp & Paper Mills Ltd, Vapi, Gujarat.

The system has the following features:

      ·   DCS based Electronic system for online measurement of coat weight; coat moisture,   

           roughness, and sheet temperature, and control the paper converter process to improve

           the quality of the coated paper

      ·   Two scanning frames: one immediately after the coating station to measure the coat

           weight and another before rewinding to measure coat moisture and sheet temperature

           of the coated paper

      ·   Frame with Roughness sensor before the rewinding stage at the super calendar

           machine

      ·   Digital panel meter to indicate roughness value of the running coated paper

      ·   Monitoring of hood temperature, steam flow rate and steam temperature

      ·   User‑friendly human machine interface software

      ·   Display of real‑time trend and historical trend of all the parameters

      ·   All control and measurement information such as profiles, trends, sensor measurements

          and other process variables are clearly displayed dynamically on an operator work

          station

      ·  Windows NT based operator workstation with 19" colour monitor interfaced with DCS

          system through a Modbus communication

      ·  Reel and grade change report to determine if coat weight and moisture targets are

          being met

DCS System

SPECIFICATIONS

DCS System

      ·    Based on AC70 process controller

      ·    Supports 64 digital output, 64 digital input, 64 analog input, 32 analog output channels

      ·    Digital I/P rating – 24V. d.c. current sink

      ·    Digital O/P rating – 24V. d.c., max 0.5A d.c.

      ·    Analog I/P rating – 0(4)‑20 mA/0(2)‑10V

      ·    Analog O/O rating – 0(4)‑20 mA/14 bits

Coat Weight Sensor

      ·    Sensor type: Optical sensor                   

      ·    Source: Tungsten halogen lamp

      ·    Range: 0 to 20%

      ·    Output: 4‑20 mA/0‑10V

      ·    Accuracy: +/‑0.5%

      ·    Repeatability: +/‑0.2%

      ·    Oper. Temp: 0‑50 Deg C

 

Coat Weight Sensor

Coat Moisture Sensor

      ·    Sensor type: Optical sensor

      ·    Source: Tungsten halogen lamp

      ·    Range: 0‑20%

      ·    Output: 4‑20 mA/0‑10V

      ·    Accuracy: +/‑0.5%

      ·    Repeatability: +/‑0.2%

      ·    Oper. Temp: 0‑50 Deg C

Coat Moisture Sensor

Roughness/Smoothness Sensor

      ·    Sensor type: Opticalnon‑contact

      ·    Units: microns

      ·    Range: 1‑6 microns

      ·    Output: 4‑20 mA

      ·    Repeatability: +/‑0.25 micron

 

 

Technology licensed, Sponsored/Consultancy Projects taken up, Technical Services rendered, and Patents filed by CECRI

 

THE technology licensed, sponsored/consultancy projects taken up, technical services rendered and patents filed by the Central Electrochemical Research Institute (CECRI), Karaikudi, in the recent past include:

Technology licensed

      ·    Cement polymer composite coating system for corrosion protection of reinforcing and pre‑stressing steels — M/s Mahavir Chemicals; Lumpsum Premium: Rs 1000,000; Recurring Royalty: 2.5% on sale; Period of Licence: 7 years; Nature of Licence: Non exclusive

Sponsored projects

·        Maintenance of gold plating facility and plating on aluminium alloy component hardwares used in satellites — ISRO, Thiruvananthapuram (Rs 26,000)

·        Electrochemical technology for the removal of arsenic from drinking water — DST, New Delhi (Rs 1.00 million)

·        Fabrication and supply of 30 units of Mg-AgCl sea water activated batteries for power requirement — Aeronautical Development Establishment, Bangalore (Rs 40,000)

·        Feasibility study on electro-polishing of 202/304 grade stainless steel racks — M/s Tufflan India Interiors, Bangalore (Rs 25,000)

·        Development and delivery of diagnostic kit for rapid detection of anti-microbial agent — M/s Hindustan Lever Ltd, Mumbai (Rs 800,000) 

Consultancy Project

      ·    Advice on electro polishing of 304 stainless steel — M/s Sai Engineering, Thirumazhisai (Rs 80,000)

Technical Services

      ·    Testing of steel samples supplied by BHEL, Trichy (Rs 23,000)

      ·    Sampling and analysis of water drops generated along with auto exhaust emissions with reference to a few selected parameters — MR Thiyagarajan, Pondy (Rs 16,000)

      ·    Testing of non‑organo phosphonate samples for calcium carbonate formation control— NLC, Neyveli (Rs 43,000)

      ·    Testing of activated fly ash binder for its corrosion resistance — Associated Cement Company, Thane (Rs 29,000)

      ·    Testing of organo phosphonate samples for NLC, Neyveli (Rs 86,000)

      ·    Testing of 12V / 120 AH & 12 V / 5 AH lead acid stationary & motor cycle batteries — M/s Lucas Indian Services Ltd, Chennai (Rs 222,000)

      ·    Technical presentation and discussions on the CECRI process on Corrosion Resistant Portland Pozzalano Cement with the architects and engineers at Madurai — M/s Ultra Chemicals, Karaikudi (Rs 11,000)

Patents filed

      ·    A pH transmitter for online high current applications, No. 742/D/2003 — N.U. Nayak, R.H. Suresh Bapu, K. R. Ramakrishnan, P. Adaikkalam and G.N. Srinivasan

      ·    An activated fly ash blended cement composition having improved mechanical and corrosion resistance properties, No. 826/D/2003 — V. Saraswathy, S. Muralidharan, K. Thangavelu, S. Srinivasan and M. Raghavan

      ·    A process for the manufacturing activated fly ash with improved mechanical and corrosion resistance properties, No. 828/D/2003 — V. Saraswathy, S. Muralidharan, K. Thangavelu, S. Srinivasan and M. Raghavan

      ·    A process for the preparation of highly pure manganese sulphate electrolyte useful for electro deposition of highly pure electrolytic manganese dioxide, No. 1186/D/2003 — J.P.R. Raj, S. Kulandaisamy and K.V. Venkateswaran

      ·    A novel corrosion inhibiting synergistic admixture for mitigation of rebar corrosion in concrete structure, No. 1187/D/2003 — V. Saraswathy, S. Muralidharan, K. Thangavelu, S. Srinivasan and M. Raghavan

      ·    A process for the removal of corrosion products on tin and its alloy surfaces by 

           electrolytic cleaning using natural sea water, No. 150/D/2004 — R. Ravisankar, Y.V. 

           Soundararajan, G. Subramanian, S. Palraj, N.S. Rengaswamy and M. Raghavan

      ·    An electrochemical method for the removal of arsenate from drinking water, No. 151/D/2004 — S. Pushpavanam, G. Sozhan, S. Mohan and S. Vasudevan

      ·    A process for bonding of aluminium with stainless steel by electroplating, No. 152/D/2004 — Malathy Pushpavanam and C.H. Ramakrishna Rao

      ·    A process for the recovery of nickel and cadmium from spent nickel‑cadmium batteries, No. 172/D/2004 — P. Ramachandran, V. Nandhakumar and N. Sathaian     

      ·    A method for manufacturing membrane electrode for solid polymer electrolyte water electrolyser and membrane electrode made thereof, No. 326/D/2004 — S. Pushpavanam, G. Sozhan, S. Mohan, S. Vasudevan and Malathy Pushpavanam

      ·    A process for the recovery of metallic gold from gold containing scrap, No. 327/D/2004 — S. Kulandaisamy, J.P.R. Raj, P. Adaikkalam, G.N. Srinivasan and M. Raghavan.

 

Joint Collaboration

A project on `Development of Fuel Cells based on Hydrogen' has been undertaken along with the Institutional partners [NCL, CGCRI, IIP, CMERI, NPL, NAL, IICT, RRL (Bhopal), NML] under NMITLI Programme for four years with a grant of Rs 52.00 million exclusively for CECRI. Rs 22.00 million have been received towards first installment.

 

 

NGRI receives ISO 9001: 2000 Certificate

SHRI T.S.R. Krishna of M/s TUV presented the ISO 9001: 2000 certificate to Dr V. P. Dimri, Director, National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI), Hyderabad, in the presence of Dr R.A. Mashelkar, Director General, CSIR on 27 May 2004.

Dr V.P. Dimri welcomed Dr Mashelkar, and projected an account of R&D achievements and scientific output of NGRI before and after ISO certification. He apprised the DG with new initiatives of NGRI.

 

Dr V.P. Dimri, Director, NGRI, receiving ISO 9001: 2000 certificate from

Shri T. S.R. Krishna of M/s TUV in the presence of Dr R.A. Mashelkar, Director General, CSIR

 

Dr Mashelkar, while addressing the staff of NGRI, underlined the need for quality and said that quality must become a way of life in R&D. He said that CSIR is a national asset and moving up both in science and external cash flow. “This shows that we have done well both in research and business,” he said. He complimented Indian scientists and said that 19% of the patents granted in USA are from Indians. He emphasized the need for carrying out research keeping in view the priorities of India, which are relevant to the Indian industry.

 

Dr Mashelkar also visited Surface Geochemical Prospecting Lab and Luminescence (TI/OSL) dating laboratory at NGRI.

 

 

Fullerenes Boost Conversion of Light into Electricity

PALLIKARA K. Sudeep, Varkey P. James and K. George Thomas of the Regional Research Laboratory (RRL), Thiruvananthapuram, and Prashant V. Kamat of the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, United States, in their research article published in Proceedings of the Indian Academy of Science (Chem Sci) 115‑321 (2003) have reported that Fullerene molecules could be used as building blocks for artificial photosynthetic systems.  They have developed a crude device made of tiny fullerene clusters on film that generates current on exposure to light.

 

(A) Atomic force microscopy image of a dumbbell-shaped bis-fullerene derivative (top) deposited on a mica sheet.

 (B) Transmission electron micrograph of fullerene-aniline dyad(top) and a possible mechanism of

charge stabilization (bottom); hv indicates input of light energy

 The most abundant form of fullerenes is called buckminsterfullerene and it has 60 carbon atoms arranged in the shape of a football. Researchers at RRL‑Thiruvananthapuram have designed a dumbbell shaped bis‑fullerene molecule (Fig) by chemically linking two of these molecules together. When the bis‑fullerene molecules are placed one on top of the other, these grow from isolated nano clusters to elongated wire‑like structure containing closely linked spherical clusters that are optically transparent.

Thomas and his colleagues have reported different nanometer‑scale arrangements based on fullerene systems.  These include spherical clusters (based on molecules with just one fullerene) and structures of varying shapes, from elongated wires to entangled spheres, made up of molecules with two or three fullerenes.

When light falls on these fullerene clusters it results in the transfer of an electron from a donor group to a fullerene. Developing efficient artificial photosynthetic systems for energy conversion is a focus of research worldwide.  Because of the close network of fullerenes, the electron hops around from the parent fullerene to adjacent ones in the cluster, stabilizing the charge of the cluster. This means that the fullerene‑ nanocluster‑ based systems have the unique ability to trap the transferred electron for several microseconds. This mimics natural photosynthesis. Thomas has reported that clusters made from molecular systems containing two‑and three‑fullerene units have a better charge‑stabilizing ability than clusters of single‑fullerene systems.

Pallikara K. Sudeep and V.P. James, two of Thomas' graduate students have recently designed fullerene‑based systems using phenylacetylene as a rigid link, creating well‑defined and organized nanostructures.  The team is collaborating with Dr P.V. Kamat to find a way of using these nanostructured materials to convert solar energy into electricity.  It has been reported that their nanoscale fullerene films, deposited on tin oxide electrodes, are capable of delivering relatively large currents when used as a photo‑anode in a photo‑electrochemical cell.  The next step would be improvement of the photo‑conversion efficiency in these clustered systems.

 

 

Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh addresses CSIR Society Meeting

 

PRIME Minister of India Dr Manmohan Singh, who is also President of CSIR, presided over the CSIR Society Meeting held on 26 July 2004 and addressed the Society members. This was his first speech on Science & Technology after he took over as Prime Minister. The meeting was also attended by Shri Kapil Sibal, Minister of State for Science & Technology, Ocean Development; and Vice President of CSIR and Shri P. Chidambaram, Finance Minister

 

The speeches of the Prime Minister and the Minister of State for Science & Technology and Ocean Development are reproduced here:

 

 

Speech by the Prime Minister

Distinguished Members of the CSIR Society, Ladies and Gentlemen.

It gives me great pleasure to be with you at this meeting of the Society.  As many of you know, I have taken keen interest in the development of science & technology and scientific and industrial research in our country.  I would like to reassure you at the very outset that these areas will remain subjects of high priority for me and our government.

I will be seeking your advice and support with respect to policies and programmes in the area of science & technology and would appreciate your coming forward with practical ideas that we should give high priority to.

I would like to congratulate CSIR for the remarkable transformation into a performance driven and user focused organization. The entire CSIR family deserves to be complimented for achieving this feat.  It is particularly gratifying to see, from Dr Mashelkar's presentation, the accolades it has received from the business, the scientific community, and also the international management experts on this transformation.  I am also happy to hear that the CSIR's next phase of transformation will be driven by the recommendations made through the Kelkar Committee that was set up for the purpose.

CSIR is very fortunate to have Shri Kapil Sibal as the Minister of State for Science and Technology and also as the Vice‑President of CSIR.  Knowing his dynamism and vision, I am sure the process of the next phase of transformation of CSIR will be completed within the foreseeable future.  As the President of CSIR Society, I would like to extend my very best wishes for a glorious journey ahead for the CSIR family.

I am happy to see that CSIR is flying higher and further. I was particularly happy to get the news of the successful maiden flight of SARAS on 29th May, this year.  This aircraft has been indigenously designed and built by our own scientists and engineers. We are proud of this feat.  SARAS to me is not just an aircraft, it is a symbol of India's determination to use its technological prowess to create products that will be not only globally competitive but will also benefit the country at large. I am sure SARAS will herald the dawn of civil aviation industry in India. Going further, I hope SARAS would become a `brand name' for small aircrafts world over.

This CSIR Society meeting is taking place almost three months after our new Government has been in place. The Government has already announced the Common Minimum Programme (CMP) of the United Progressive Alliance on 27th May 2004.  As you will see, science and technology has been given a place of pride in this programme.  I would like to begin by emphasizing the new direction that science and technology has to take in future to make a greater difference to the lives of the Indian people.

CMP envisages that the UPA Government will follow the policies and introduce programmes that will strengthen India's vast science and technology infrastructure. We have also stressed that science and technology development and application missions will be launched in key areas covering both `global leadership' and `local transformation'.  I am happy to see from Dr Mashelkar's presentation that CSIR's programmes have focused on not only attaining `global leadership' but also on issues which have deep `local relevance'.

Our S&T system can play a decisive role only when it advances the well‑being of all sections of society, not just a privileged few.  It must play the bigger role of creating wealth for all, not just a selected few.  A theme that is close to my heart is on `making technologies work for the poor and the underprivileged'.  In other words, can we develop technologies, which will ameliorate the poverty, create jobs, remove the disease burden of the poor, and improve the overall quality of life?

Let us take a special issue of the disease burden of the poor. We have emphasized in CMP that UPA Government will take all steps to ensure availability of life saving drugs at reasonable prices. As was pointed out by Dr Mashelkar, the costs of development of new drugs have been soaring and, therefore, India must find out alternative paths for drug development. CSIR has had a track record of developing drugs for diseases of the poor including Malaria. It should continue its efforts further not only on innovative process chemistry but development of entirely new drugs.  The new IPR regime is going to put pressure on the Indian drug industry to develop new drugs.  CSIR should be a willing and active partner with Indian industry in this endeavour and especially focus on the diseases of the poor.

CSIR could do a lot in other sectors too. For example, CMP has focused on the housing for the weaker sections in rural areas.  Can we look at the use of new technologies for creating affordable housing for the poor? We have just witnessed the heart‑rending scenes when around 100 young children perished in Kumbakonam in Tamil Nadu. Can we not look at alternative technologies that will create safer fireproof structures, which are cost effective and affordable at the same time?  I am familiar with the good work that CSIR had done in Navodaya Vidyalaya in the past. However, I would like to see a CSIR that is sensitive to the happenings around, such as in Kumbakonam, and respond with speed and determination so that such tragedies do not occur.

Water is becoming a precious commodity.  I understand that in one of the early meetings of Scientific Advisory Committee to Prime Minister (SAC‑PM), Rajiv Gandhi had said, “John Kennedy set up a mission to send a man on the moon.  To me the equivalent mission is to take drinking water to 186000 villages in India”.  Rajiv Gandhi Mission was set up to achieve this objective. However, we are far away from fulfilling this dream of Rajivji. The scenes of women carrying water over a distance of a few kilometers are still common.  Can we not bring in new technologies to fulfill this mission? I am acutely aware of the fact that new technologies can do so much but nothing can be achieved without good delivery mechanisms. Technologists must integrate their efforts fully into such delivery mechanisms by partnering with other Ministries and Departments.  

Several of CSIR's core competencies can be used effectively to solve India's water related problems. The Government has declared its intention to establish desalination plants all along the Coromandel Coast starting with Chennai. I understand that CSIR has a great deal of expertise in desalination technologies.  I would like to see CSIR work in a true `Team India' fashion to provide all possible technological assistance so that we can meet these targets set up in CMP.

While addressing the conference of Chief Ministers on poverty alleviation and rural prosperity through Panchayat Raj that was held on 29th June 2004, I had suggested that our strategy for the rural development must be fashioned to unleash the productivity potential of our agriculture and its allied activities. I had stressed that technological possibilities to break new grounds in increasing productive capacity of small farms and small businesses need to be fully harnessed. We want to focus on employment intensive schemes in small‑scale industry.  We have decided to free this sector from Inspector Raj giving them full credit of technological and marketing support. I would like to see such technology being provided by CSIR.

I had also said that decentralized power in terms of local electricity generation and use can make the Gandhian vision of decentralized production not only an ethical idea but also a viable economic option. CSIR should develop and deliver such technologies so that we can achieve this objective.

There is a new, big opportunity in terms of the herbal wealth of people in tribal areas, which can greatly benefit from the attention now given by business to Non Timber Wood Products. Dr Mashelkar's presentation on CSIR's `bioactives network programme' by exploiting India's herbal wealth has demonstrated that value added therapeutics can be made through this approach.  Here is a possibility of the herbal wealth of the people in tribal areas leading to the creation of economic wealth for the people.  CSIR needs to redouble this effort, which can bring in a new societal transformation.

It was Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, who had realized the crucial role of science and technology in nation building in post‑independent India. He had once said, “it is an inherent obligation of a great country like India with its traditions of scholarship and original thinking and its great cultural heritage to participate fully in the march of science, which is probably mankind's greatest enterprise today”. I wish to assure the eminent members of the CSIR Society that this Government will do its best to see that the Indian participation in this great march of science is supported most enthusiastically and vigorously.

The Government will not shy away from investing in science and technology research and development provided what we do improves the quality of life of our people and makes our country move self‑reliant.  Equally our focus must be on making our industry more globally competitive.

I wish the society well in its work.

Thank you.

Speech by the Minister of State for Science & Technology and Ocean Development

Hon'ble Prime Minister, a warm welcome to you.  It is a matter of pride for us that you are the President of the CSIR Society.  In the short span of two months that this Government has been in power, you have set new paradigms—giving India a new vision through the Common Minimum Programme.  The good of the common man is central to all that our Government stands for.  You have given the common man hope for the future. We look forward to your guidance to the CSIR family.  We would like the CSIR to be instrumental in realizing the aspirations of the people of India.

I will also like to extend a warm welcome to my good friend and the Hon'ble Finance Minister, Mr Chidambaram.  I also welcome all the eminent members of the Society.

I am proud and fortunate to be the Vice‑President of CSIR. I have been working with Dr Mashelkar and his team closely. I have been visiting CSIR laboratories and meeting young members of this unique family.   I am happy to notice the commitment and passion with which members of the family view their responsibilities.  This makes me feel optimistic about the future of CSIR.

The exemplary leadership provided by Dr Mashelkar has transformed the CSIR into a unique entity that is truly making a difference to the lives of ordinary Indians.  Perhaps the common man is not aware of this extraordinary contribution.  When a farmer uses a Swaraj or Sonalika tractor, he does not know that it is designed by CMERI. When a mother gives Amul baby food to her child, she does not know that the product is developed by CFTRI. When a doctor prescribes E‑MAL to a patient suffering from cerebral Malaria, he does not realize the role of CDRI. When a paternity dispute is solved by using DNA finger printing technique, little does one realize that it was pioneered in India by CCMB. When 650 million voters receive indelible ink marks, they hardly realize that the original technology was developed by NPL. All this represents path‑breaking activities of CSIR laboratories.

One of our first endeavours, therefore, is to make people aware of what CSIR is all about.  As CSIR's proud Vice‑President, I would like to communicate with people‑not only to showcase CSIR's achievements but the contributions of the scientific fraternity in my Ministry to the developmental goals that we are committed to realize.  That is why every month, I meet the press not just to inform but also be open to public audit.  We will also explore other means of communication with the people.  We must communicate both with the urban elite and the rural poor.

Over the last two months, we have introspected.  We are not asking what the nation can do for CSIR, but what we in CSIR can do for the nation. The CMP has been studied in depth by the CSIR family. Each CSIR laboratory has had detailed brain storming to see what it can contribute to the CMP. On 20th and 21st August, I and all the Directors of CSIR are meeting in Bangalore to draw out a detailed plan on what CSIR can do in critical sectors of water, health, energy, environment, housing and so on. It will not only be a 'Team CSIR' effort—it will be a 'Team India' effort. Let me cite one example. Our FM, following the declaration in the CMP, announced the intention of setting up desalination plants for drinking water around the Coromandel Coast. Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) and CSIR's CSMCRI have had several meetings to make a technology offering to fulfill this objective—both have complementary strengths in desalination technology. By the end of August, we will have lined up a few major initiatives with detailed implementation plans that we would like to present to our Hon'ble Prime Minister.

CSIR's transformation in the decade of nineties is admired worldwide. Dr Mashelkar in his presentation will give you a glimpse of this. Recently, my friend and senior colleague, Mr Sharad Pawer has been having consultations with some of us to see as to how we can help him restructure, reform and revitalize ICAR by using our own successful experiments in CSIR. We will be delighted to help, of course, in every possible way. But we will go beyond that. I have had a discussion with Dr Swaminathan. We are now working on a plan to mitigate the distress of farmers by forging a partnership between ICAR, CSIR, DST, DBT and others.

We believe that CSIR has yet to achieve its real potential. We must do that quickly.  We attempted to address this question by setting up a Committee under Dr Kelkar, with eminent economists, scientists and administrators as its members. The Committee has submitted its report. A presentation was made to me by the Kelkar Committee. Its findings are revealing and encouraging.  Many of its recommendations are topical, timely and, if implemented, would propel CSIR to become a vibrant prime mover of the National Innovation system. I intend to help and guide CSIR to implement the Kelkar Committee report.

Finally, let me recollect with pride the maiden flight of SARAS that took place on 29th May 2004. The entire nation was proud of 'TEAM SARAS'.  They deserve our congratulations. 

I once again thank the Hon'ble Prime Minister for his gracious presence today. I now invite Dr Mashelkar to make his presentation on the ongoing journey of the CSIR.  I believe that its activities will kindle hope in future generations.

 
Dr R. A. Mashelkar inaugurates Solvent Recovery Facility at IIP

DR R. A. Mashelkar, Director General, CSIR, inaugurated a specially created unit for `Upgradation of FCC Recycle Oil Through Solvent Extraction' at Indian Institute of Petroleum (IIP) on 19 May 2004 in presence of Dr M. O. Garg, Director, IIP.

The unit has been designed with a new glass packed extraction column of more height and more number of stages along with solvent recovery unit. This will help to process/solvent extract a wide variety of feedstocks viz. Lube Distillates, FCC Clarified Oils, VRSD distillate etc., and recover high‑purity extraction solvent quickly in an energy‑efficient way.

Dr R. A. Mashelkar inaugurating Solvent Recovery Facility at IIP

Funded by Centre for High Technology (CHT) and partially by HPCL, IIP along with CPCL, HPCL and EIL is working on this project with an objective of solvent extraction of FCC clarified oil to produce saturates rich in raffinate for use as better quality FCC feed and aromatic enriched extract for use as high aromaticity Carbon Black Feedstock (CBFS).

IIP along with CHT, HPCL, CPCL and EIL is aggressively pursuing the marketing of this technology globally.

 

 

Dr R.A. Mashelkar launches the Web Site on FlyAsh Utilization at CBRI

DR R.A, Mashelkar, Director General, CSIR, launched the Web Site on Fly Ash Utilization prepared by the Central Building Research Institute (CBRI), Roorkee, at the request of Ministry of Environment & Forest under World Bank assisted Environment Management Capacity Building Training Assistance (EMCBTA) programme. He also chaired a meeting of Senior Scientists. Dr Mashelkar took keen interest in the ongoing Research and Development activities of the institute. X‑ray diffraction equipment, vital for mineralogical & micro‑crystalline phase characterization of clay, industrial wastes, cement, aggregates, sand, sluge, fibre composites etc were shown to him. The Scanning Electron Microscope was also shown in operational mode with focus on its application in the morphological & durability studies of building materials and systems. The technology packages for the utilization of fly ash in building bricks through manual as well as semi‑mechanized process also attracted his attention. Design and development of improved brick kiln with very low quantity of air pollutants from the kiln stack is one of the major contributions of the institute. Over 3000 brick kilns owners have adopted the improved design during the past couple of years. There was a detailed discussion on the ongoing CSIR‑KVIC and CSIR Network programme on new building materials.

Earlier, Shri V.K. Mathur, Director, CBRI, briefed him about the major achievements of the institute and informed that the institute has been net working with the building material and construction industries in finding appropriate and economic solutions to the problem of Rural and urban housing, Foundations, Structures, Building materials, Energy conservation and Fire safety.

During his visit to Structural Engineering Division of the institute Shri Mathur informed Dr Mashelkar about CBRI contribution in Metro Rail Project for prevention of collapse of old and dilapidated buildings owing to excessive settlement and tunneling operations along Metro Corridor. He was also shown the seismic microzonation project activities in the earthquake and landslide prone areas. He was informed about the seismic microzonation study in Delhi where a network of 16 digital Strong Motion Accelerographs (SMAs) have been installed by CBRI. The network of SMAs has provided vital information of 22 actual earthquakes (12 distant and 10 local) since May 1997. Dr Mashelkar also showed keen interest in the project on the Dynamic testing of building frames in the heavy testing laboratory of the institute. The recently completed project of core support model structure's strength testing sponsored by Indira Gandhi Centre of Atomic Research, Kalpakkam, was also shown to him.

Dr Mashelkar inaugurated the newly constructed hall of the institute's canteen and interacted with the staff. Later, he addressed the staff in CBRI auditorium. He was accorded warm welcome by the  scientific community. Shri Mathur welcomed the DG by means of power point presentation specially designed in his honour. Shri Mathur thanked him for his visit of the institute and highlighted the progress of ongoing projects in the fields of Disaster Mitigation, Structures & Foundations, Architecture & Habitat Planning and New Building Materials.

Dr Mashelkar in his address to the scientists appreciated the activities and progress of the institute. He appreciated the noticeable change and working environment in CBRI. He said that there is a need for adoption of new work culture, to survive in the present competitive work environment. He told that the modernization should be carried out not only to the laboratories or equipment but also to the individual's thinking. Dr Mashelkar noted that the efforts of CBRI have been consolidated and the things are moving in the right direction. He felt that CBRI should handle projects scientifically in greater depths with results having greater impact. Dr Mashelkar emphasized the importance of bringing unity for facing the future challenges. He assured that days are not far when India will become a developed and  strong nation. Lastly, Dr Mashelkar presented best paper awards and technology transfer awards to the scientists of the institute.

Shri Mathur, assured DG that his advice and guidance would be followed. CBRI is marching ahead and will still perform better in future. He thanked Dr Mashelkar for his unique speech and address which evoked spark in CBRI scientific community and boosted the morale of CBRI staff.

RRL‑Jorhat celebrates Foundation Day

THE Regional Research Laboratory (RRL), Jorhat, recently celebrated its 43rd foundation day. The function was attended by a large number of distinguished invitees, guests, students and teachers besides the S&T staff members of RRL, Jorhat. Prominent among them were Prof. G.L. Kaul, Vice Chancellor, Agricultural University, Jorhat; Shri D. Mahanta, District Judge of Jorhat; Shri Bhart Bhusan Dhar, Conservator of Forest; Shri Prafulla Rajguru, Editor, North East Times and so on.

Padma Bhushan Prof. P. Chandra Sekharan, the former Pro  Vice Chancellor of National Law University, Jodhpur, who was the Chief Guest, delivered the Foundation Day lecture on `Impact of Science in Crime Investigation'.  Prof. Chandra Sekharan in his lecture explained very elaborately with video slide projection about the intricacies of the scientific principles and scientific methodologies involved in a crime investigation with some well‑known case studies. Scientific crime investigations are distinctly different from other types of investigations like interrogations by the intelligence officials, etc., and so far as the evidences in court are concerned, the scientific evidence always plays a very vital role for arriving at the correct decision. He also mentioned that there is tremendous scope for undertaking R&D in this new branch of science for its further development. Citing two examples, viz. Rajiv Gandhi assassination case and the theft of Pathur Nataraja Idol case at Royal High Court, London, he said that the evidence which he provided had helped solve the cases. Prof. Chandra Sekharan has provided scientific evidences in more than 1,00,000 cases and he has the distinction of expanding the only Forensic laboratory in Tamil Nadu which has several regional and mobile laboratories. Due to the efforts of Prof. Chandra Sekharan, a postgraduate diploma in Forensic Engineering in Anna University, a two‑year MDS in Forensic Odontologyat MGR Medical University were started in the country. Prof. Chandra Sekharan also inaugurated the newly installed Integrated Service Digital Network (ISDN) of the laboratory and formally released the Annual Report of the laboratory for the year 2002‑2003.

Thanking Prof. Chandra Sekharan for his illuminating lecture, Dr P.G. Rao, Director, RRL‑Jorhat, said that the lecture has provided an insight into the new emerging area of research for the future scientists. He said that science is a way of life and at present there are no barriers between the various disciplines of science nor would be any in future; because various disciplines of science have become more interdependent than ever before. "The exciting Foundation Day lecture of Prof. Chandra Sekharan highlighted this fact". Dr Rao pointed out that the purpose behind the celebration of Foundation Day  was basically to have an introspection into the past and present and charter a course for the future so that the laboratory can have a solid footing in the march of its progress. In this connection he also highlighted some of the notable achievements made by the laboratory during the course of its existence.

Earlier, Shri J. Parasar, the Controller of Administration, RRL, Jorhat, welcomed the august gathering and spoke briefly about the achievements of the laboratory.

As a part of the programme, competition was held among the members of staff for `Best Scientific Presentation' which was decided by a panel of external judges appointed for the purpose and the winners were awarded. Certificates of appreciation were also awarded to a number of staff and a number of departments for rendering exemplary services. Awards were also presented to the staff who excelled in terms of obtaining patents, best research paper with high impact factor, highest ECF generation, best technology transfer and best rural development/societal benefit activities during the year 2003. Twenty retired colleagues who superannuated during the period from 1993 to 1996 were given warm  felicitation for contributions made by them for the growth and development of the laboratory.

 

World Environment Day Celebrations at NEERI

THE theme of this year's World Environment Day Celebrations was: `Wanted! Seas and Oceans: Dead or Alive'?

At the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), Nagpur, Prof. O.P. Mathur who holds the IDFC Chair in Urban Economics and Finance at the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP) New Delhi, was the Chief Guest and Shri M.N. Chaini, President, Corporate Affairs, Reliance Industries Limited, presided over the function.

Shri Chaini, in his Presidential address, stressed on a three pronged strategy for development. He said that economic growth should always go hand in hand with social progress and concern for environment and natural resources. Expressing his commitment to development, Shri Chaini said that industrial development should never be at the cost of environment. He said that man has destroyed the basic elements on which life depends. This being a millennium of development and scientific breakthroughs, a lot can be expected in all the fields, Shri Chaini said. He further said that the entire production and consumption process should safeguard human environment. Shri Chaini lamented that although lot of thought is given to devise new approaches for conservation of environment, very little is put into practice. He stressed on the concept of waste reduction, waste recycling, and prevention and management of water pollution.

Prof. Mathur in his lecture said that globalization has had its advantages but it also has many disadvantages and the worst is that it has broken the boundaries of ecosystem between different countries. He expressed the concern over buying a variety of products at the cost of our environment. Stressing upon the need to strike a balance in exploitation of the present and future ecosystem, Prof. Mathur expressed concern over its mismanagement. Touching on the issue of property rights on the ecosystem, Prof. Mathur said that resources should be exploited only after proper assessment and calculation so that the present and future generations get their due share. Citing example of Bhopal Gas Tragedy, he said that people still complain of depression, fatigue and neurological problems which shows the extent of damage which can be caused due to lack of proper environment protection. Prof. Mathur said that entire world ecosystem is under severe pressure from the human element. About 52% of agricultural land in the world is degraded, 46% of forest cover is lost, 75% of fisheries are over exploited. The level of pollution is so high that around seven lakh people die of water‑borne diseases every year. Also, the pressure of increasing human population, over 80 million people every year, is adding to the misery.

Earlier, Dr Sukumar Devotta, Director, NEERI, in his Introductory address on the theme of World Environment Day – `Wanted! Seas and Oceans: Dead or Alive?' stressed that most people are still unaware about the magnitude of the damage that the rising levels of seas and oceans can cause owing to global warming. He further said that although seas have an extraordinary assimilative capacity, world over a large number of dead spots have been created in them, basically owing to human intervention. Dr Devotta stressed on the need for better environment management which is the responsibility of every individual on earth and not merely environmentalists.

Dr Atya Kapley compered the programme and Dr S.P. Pande proposed a vote of thanks.

 

 

Dr R. Chidambaram delivers National Technology Day Lecture at NGRI

DR R. Chidambaram, Principal Scientific Advisor, Government of India, delivered the National Technology Day Lecture on, `The Indian S & T System: Need for Coherent Synergy' at the National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI), Hyderabad.

Dr R. Chidambaram delivering the National Technology Day Lecture at NGRI

In his lecture he pointed out that India is a self‑reliant nation and independent in its nuclear programme whereas other countries are interdependent and that India has the largest Thorium resources. Stressing the importance of advanced research he stated that the research results should be useful to society and its development. He opined that economic development and scientific advancement are essential to become a developed country. He mentioned that the per capita electricity consumption and female literacy are two important yardsticks for measuring the development of any nation.

Earlier, Dr V. P. Dimri, Director NGRI, welcomed the Chief Guest and introduced him to the audience.

 

 

IIP Foundation Day Lecture

DR R.A. Mashelkar, Director General, CSIR, and internationally renowned scientist delivered IIP Foundation Day lecture.

Dr  Mashelkar stressed the need to ensure the relevance of CSIR laboratories in the country amid the changing development scenario in the country.  He said that the 21st Century would be the 'Century'  of the mind and of knowledge and could easily belong to India

The subject of his lecture 'Change' covered a wide spectrum of issues and centred around the society. "At the CSIR, the ambience and ambitions have changed over the past decade and we are catching up, on speed and direction”, said Dr Mashelkar.

He talked at length about the Saras project  the National Aerospace  Laboratories of (NAL), Bangalore. This aircraft has state‑of‑the‑art technology and is a multipurpose aircraft which can be used for carrying passengers, cargo and even as an ambulance. The aircraft has been developed by CSIR in collaboration with Hindustan Aeronauticals Ltd, can land on short runways.  The Indian Air Force has expressed confidence in CSIR technology and has already placed order for six Saras aircraft.  It is an attractive aircraft for several sectors, and in the Uttaranchal context, Saras is likely to give the tourism sector a boost.

“I am dangerously optimistic about India as it is a young nation. It's a great time to be an Indian and even more, to be in India”, said Dr Mashelkar who was honoured with Padmashri in 1991 and Padma Bhushan in 2000 in recognition of his contributions to nation building.  He said that thousands of young Indians were returning now from various countries to work in their own country.  It is the beginning of the reversal of brain‑drain.

Dr Mashelkar had visited CBRI, Roorkee, earlier on his way to Dehra Dun.  He planted a 'Rudraksh' tree in the IIP campus.

'Vikalp' IIP's inhouse journal was released by Dr Mashelkar on the occasion.  Dr Mashelkar gave away prizes to winners of the 'Logo' and 'Slogan' competition on the occasion.  In the 'Logo' category, the first prize was bagged by Shri Pritam Singh, the second prize by Shri Sanjay Pokhriyal, special prizes were announced for Dr. H.B. Goyal, Shri Nishan Singh and Shri Vishwendra Dogra.

In the 'Slogan” category, Dr. H.B. Goyal bagged the first prize, Shri Vikram Singh Rawat, the second prize and Dr. Y.K. Sharma, the third.

Earlier Dr. M.O. Garg, Director, IIP welcomed Dr Mashelkar. IIP Staff Club, IIP Ladies Club, IIP Employees Consumer Co‑operative Society, IIP SC/ST Employees Welfare Society, IIP Research Scholars Club and IIP Vedic Samiti also welcomed Dr Mashelkar by presenting bouquets.

In addition to  the staff of IIP in full strength including some of the retired officers, employees and scientists, Dr S.J. Chopra, Chancellor of the University of Petroleum and Energy Studies, and retired scientists from IIP Dr Himmat Singh, Dr K.K. Bhattacharya, Dr K.S. Jauhri and Shri G.N. Kulsreshtha were also present on the occasion.

 

Shri V. K. Mathur delivers Special Lecture on Seismic Microzonation of Delhi, Jabalpur and Dehra Dun as impacted by the Bhuj Earthquake

SHRI V. K. Mathur, Director, Central Building Research Institute (CBRI) Roorkee, delivered a special lecture on Seismic Microzonation of Delhi, Jabalpur, and Dehra Dun as impacted by the Bhuj earthquake, at an International Conference on `Case Histories in Geotechnical Engineering' held at New York in the recent past. His presentation was well received and appreciated by participants as it is considered an important step taken by CBRI in the emerging areas of Disaster Mitigation as a consequence of recent earthquakes in India.

Shri Mathur was also invited by the Manufactured Housing Research Alliance (MHRA), New York, to present a country report on Industrialised Housing in India at the International Conference on `Factory Built Prefabricated Housing' recently held at Las Vegas, USA.

The inputs provided by Shri Mathur are being considered as important agenda for the forthcoming `International Conference on Industrialized Housing' scheduled to be held in March 2005 in USA.

Significantly, CBRI has recently taken an initiative to work on Industrialized Housing projects and has bagged a project costing Rs 10.6 million from the Department of Science & Technology (DST), New Delhi.    

 

 

Dr S.N. Bhattacharyya gets EMBO Fellowship

 

DR S. N. Bhattacharyya, Senior Research Fellow, Indian Institute of Chemical Biology (IICB), Kolkata, has been awarded the prestigious European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) long-term fellowship to carry out his postdoctoral studies in Europe. He will be joining Prof. Witold Filipowicz's lab at Friedrich Miescher Institute (FMI), Novartis Research Foundation; Basel, Switzerland and will be working on the role of micro-RNA and micro-RNP complexes in mammalian cells. This fellowship has been offered to the top 5% of the more than 1800 applicants from all over the world and only after a critical evaluation by an expert committee consisting of top ten European molecular biologists from United Kingdom, Germany, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden, France, Italy, Israel and Russia.

 

 

Global Appreciation for RRL's Innovation

 

THE Third World Network of Scientific Organisation (TWNSO) in collaboration with UNDP Special Unit for Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries has launched a project that aims to identify and publish innovative case studies for the development of pharmaceutical products from medicinal plants. The Regional Research Laboratory (RRL), Jorhat, was chosen amongst the bests of the world class institutions to participate in the network of centres of excellence. RRL's innovation `Chiraly Pure Arteether: A Potent Antimalarial Drug from Artemisinin obtained from Artemesia annua Å a naturally occurring medicinal plant', which was evolved by Dr N.C. Barua and his group in the Natural Products Chemistry Division found prestigious placement in the said global forum. According to a WHO report, over 40% of the world population is exposed to the risk of malaria with a global death rate of over 3.5 million per year. Resistance of the malaria parasite to chemo therapeutic agents such as chloroquin has alarmingly increased for which development of new therapeutic agents were of very urgent need. The new antimalarial agent artemisinin, derived from Chinese medicinal plant A. annua is associated with several drawbacks for which artemisinin is no more used clinically. The ether derivatives of dihydro artemisinin such as arteether and artemether are however much better drugs than artemisinin. Arteether is a more preferred drug because of nurotoxicity associated with artemether. Synthesis of arteether and artemisinin results a mixture of the corresponding  a &bisomers; of which the crystalline b isomers is the actual drug. As these isomers are difficult to separate, WHO recommended a 40:60 mixture of a&bisomers for clinical use. The laboratory has developed a very efficient and ecofriendly process for production of the desired isomer of arteether with 78% yield in clinically pure form. The process was released to a private party for commercial production. So far, no other party has commercialized clinically pure b-Arteether. Because the laboratory was selected to prepare a full-length report on the subject, a stipend of US$1000 was granted to RRL upon publication of the case study monograph with the directive to so prepare the report that others may learn from its experience. Also, Dr Barua visited Trieste, Italy, recently to participate in an international workshop of TWNSO to share experience on the use of phyto-pharmacuticals from medicinal plants, with the international community.

 

 

Dr B.M. Choudary bags AP Scientist Award‑2004

 

DR B.M. Choudary, Head, Inorganic & Physical Chemistry Division of Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT), Hyderabad ,has been honoured with the prestigious `Andhra Pradesh Scientist Award‑2004' by the State Council of Science & Technology (Environment, Forests, Science & Technology Department, Government of Andhra Pradesh) in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the field of Chemistry. Dr Choudary has designed and developed solid acid and solid base catalysts having high density acid sites or basic sites as applicable, which perform nitration and acylation of arenas, respectively, with high para selectivity and C‑C bond formation and epoxidation reactions respectively with unprecedented activity.

Dr Choudary has published 140 articles in highly reputed journals with high impact factor that include all the top journals in chemistry. In addition, 57 patents have been granted to him by the US, Europe and Japan. His group endeavours have spun off several eco‑ economical technologies such as p‑methoxyacetophenone, tetrabromobisphenol‑A, nitrotoluences and benzaldehyde.