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ISSN 0409-7467



15 FEBRUARY 2004



THE Central Salt & Marine Chemicals Research Institute (CSMCRI), Bhavnagar, has developed reverse osmosis (RO) membranes based on the state‑of‑the‑art thin film composite (TFC) membrane technology for desalination of brackish water. The inherent advantages of the TFC membrane are its non‑biodegradability, low compaction rate, and ability to work under a wide pH range, all of which have resulted in more robust and economical operation and longer membrane life. At present, CSMCRI membrane gives <95 per cent salt separation and 35‑40 gallons per square foot per day permeation rate under standard conditions of testing, making it ideally suited for brackish water applications.


CSMCRI has commissioned a one million litre per day desalination plant based on RO technique for treatment of tertiary treated sewage water at the Chennai Petroleum Corporation Ltd (CPCL), Chennai, in November 2003. Data on plant performance indicate that feed water is of salinity around 2000 ppm and 75% of the water is recovered in permeate. The unit was built at a cost of Rs 6 million, which includes Rs 400,000 for building renovation. The plant does not have a pretreatment system, normally required for RO, since pretreated water is available in the factory. CSMCRI could rightly feel proud for putting up such a large plant for the first time in its history. The plant is operating satisfactorily and the module performance is comparable to the state‑of‑the‑art ESPA‑3 membrane module (Hydronautics, USA). Efforts are being made to increase plant capacity from 1.0 MLD to 1.75 MLD. The project was initiated in 1996 and has been completed in three stages by installing 1000 LD, 40,000 LD and 1 MLD plants. This success has triggered CPCL and CSMCRI to develop a consolidated package for municipal wastewater treatment.



SARAS undergoing Ground Vibration Tests


SARAS is undergoing a wide variety of ground vibration tests (GVT). GVT are mandatory for newly developed aircraft to assess dynamic characteristics before the first flight. The results of the test, in terms of natural frequencies and the associated mode shapes and damping, are used to tune the mathematical (FEM) model of the aircraft to enable flutter prediction.


GVT is a long drawn procedure: the aircraft is instrumented with about 120 accelerometers for response. Four electrodynamic shakers (one each on wing tips, fuselage belly and horizontal tail) provide the excitation to the aircraft. A sixty channel SCADA-III system with CADAX software is used to give force input and acquire and analyse data in MIMO mode.


Two SARAS configurations - respectively in full fuel and zero fuel conditions - have been tested. Initially, an impact test was conducted with 120 response points to get rough estimate of frequencies and mode shapes. Additionally, independent shakes tests were carried out on two control surfaces - elevator and rudder - to ascertain their rotational and elastic modes. The rotational modes give a measure of the control circuit stiffness and the mass balancing of the control surfaces. These are important parameters that affect the flutter characteristics.


The GVT activity has spread over a period of 12 days so far. The initial data analysis indicated no major concern for initial flight configurations of the aircraft. A detailed analysis and FEM correlation would soon be carried out.



Corrosion‑resistant Thermal Coating for Hydroclave


THE Central Electrochemical Research Institute (CECRI), Karaikudi, has developed a new two‑pack thermal coating system which adheres well on moderately prepared surface and withstands high temperature, pressure and humid atmosphere. This coating system was tested on the hydroclave of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), Thiruvananthapuram, and gave excellent performance. VSSC has recommended this coating system to its new hydroclave supplier M/s Godrej & Boyce Pvt. Ltd, Mumbai, who has taken the process and used this coating for the hydroclave.


The two pack system of the coating comprises the base part, containing silicone modified epoxy resin with barrier pigments, and the hardener part, containing an inorganic cross‑linking agent. At the time of application these two parts are mixed in suitable proportions and applied. Metal spray coatings are normally used to protect steel structures from high temperature corrosion, and need special type of equipment for application. The new technology developed by CECRI overcomes these difficulties and protects the steel structures from high pressure, temperature and corrosive environment effectively. The cost of the newly developed coating works out to be cheaper than the metal spray coatings.


Further details can be had from: The Director, Central Electrochemical Research Institute, Karaikudi 630006, Tamilnadu.


Synthetic Refractory Products Through Thermal Plasma


REFRACTORY materials play a crucial role in the metallurgical, cement and glass industries where high temperature reduction, smelting and melting operations are involved. Magnesia, alumina, chrome and fire clay refractories are extensively used for these operations in furnaces and kilns. The refractories used in such applications should have properties like high melting point, chemical inertness, low thermal co‑efficient of expansion, low thermal conductivity, corrosion resistance to liquid slag and glass, thermal shock resistance, etc. The production of quality steels has made it imperative to carry out refining of liquid steel in ladles at high temperature for longer duration. Such advancement in production technology has forced the refractory manufacturers to produce quality materials and also develop alternatives to meet the demands of alloy producers. In this regard, magnesium‑aluminate (MgAl2O4 spinel) and fused cast hydration resistant lime refractory are some of the alternatives drawing the attention of researchers.


Magnesium‑aluminate, an MgAl2O4 spinel, is characterized by its high melting temperature (2100°C), high hardness (16.1 Gpa), resistance to chemical attack, low thermal co‑efficient of expansion and high thermal shock resistance. The spinel exhibits deformation under 0.2 MPa at 2000°C. It does not react with silica until 1737°C, CaO and MgO until 2000°C and a-Al2O3 until 1927°C. It can be used for all metals excepting the alkaline earth elements. Thus, the MgAl2O4 spinels have the desirable combination of mechanical, chemical and thermal properties both at ambient and high temperatures.


Magnesium aluminate spinel bodies are usually produced by processing ceramic powders. The reaction between magnesia and alumina is a counter diffusion process of Mg+2 and Al+3 ions and is accompanied by 5‑8% volume expansion, which hinders the process of densification; dense spinel bodies are required for applications in metallurgical, glass and cement industries. Thus, production of dense bodies is a two‑step process namely, calcination at high temperature for spinel formation and densification by sintering at higher temperature. The spinellization reaction commences at <800°C and is complete by 1400°C. The densification requires a sintering temperature of 1600°C and above.


The production of dense products of the required grain size by utilizing fully spinellized powders has its limitations. The Regional Research laboratory (RRL), Bhubaneswar, calcined a mixture of  hydroxide powders of aluminium and magnesium in the required composition to achieve 55‑70% spinellization. The calcined powder was successfully sintered to produce a maximum densification of 3.46 g/cm3. Attempts were made to add mineralizers like V2O5, Y2O3, NaCl, MgCl2, etc. to lower the calcination temperature and TiO2, B2O3, LiF, ZnF2, BaF2, CaF2, Fe2O3, CaO, etc. to lower the sintering temperature. Production of dense spinel bodies through controlled heating to achieve calcination and sintering in a single process step was also attempted, though not very successfully.


RRL‑Bhubaneswar and the Central Glass & Ceramic Research Institute (CGCRI), Kolkata, are presently collaborating in research investigations under the CSIR Task Force Project on production of dense spinel bodies by preparing spinels by melting the alumina and magnesia mixture in a plasma reactor. RRL‑Bhubaneswar has the necessary experience and expertise for the application of thermal plasma technology to metallurgy and material science. The institute is involved in related programmes for nearly the last two decades, which has resulted in the design and development of various extended arc plasma reactors.


As availability of high temperature and presence of ionic species in the plasma may enhance the spinellization process, the RRL is likely to come up with a viable technology for the application of thermal plasma to manufacture synthetic  refractory products.



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


THE technology licensed, sponsored/consultancy projects taken up and technical services rendered by the Central Electrochemical Research Institute (CECRI), Karaikudi, during September – October 2003 include:


Technology Licensed


Sponsored Projects


Consultancy Projects


Technical Services



Structural Engineering Research Centre, Chennai—R&D Highlights


THE R&D programmes at the Structural Engineering Research Centre (SERC), Chennai, pertain to Wind Engineering and Experimentation, Structural Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering; Fatigue and Fracture, Experimental Mechanics, Shock and Vibration; Steel Structures — Transmission Line Towers and Other Skeletal Structures; Computer‑aided Analysis, Design of Structures; Concrete Composites and Materials, Reinforced Concrete Structures; and Construction Engineering and Prestressed Concrete. During the year 2002‑03, the Centre pursued 10 sponsored, 10 grant‑in‑aid/collaborative project, in addition to several in‑house projects.  The Centre was awarded 72 consultancy and two tower testing assignments. The Centre has registered excellent progress in the bilateral collaborative projects with the Central Institute of Mathematics (ZAM), Germany and INTES, Germany, along with Indian partner company NIIT.


Ten technical know‑how were transferred/disseminated for industrial utilization, and three patents and one copyright were filed. The external cash flow of SERC during the year amounted to Rs 200 million.


Highlights of the major R&D programmes:


In the area of structural dynamics, a new project was taken up on vibration control of buildings and structures under seismic excitation. A methodology was developed for the design of elastometric base isolators, for seismic isolation of framed structures. The computer code, written based on this methodology, checks for over‑turning moment, stability of isolators subjected to lateral loads and accidental eccentricity. Typical buildings from single storey to seven storeys can be designed using the program.


The Centre took up investigations on across‑wind response of prismoidal structures, having different cross‑sectional shapes under atmospheric wind load. With a view to experimentally understand and analyze the across wind flow mechanism and aerodynamic forces acting on a square prism, a pressure measurement study on a 1:100 scale model of a square prism with an aspect ratio of four, was carried out in simulated open terrain conditions. Measurements were also taken on the across wind tip deflection of a flexibility object kept in the wake of the prism to determine the shedding frequency. The Strouhal number obtained was 0.09, which is in close agreement with literature reported values.


Assessment of wind induced pressures on tall buildings with complex plan shapes is important for design of such structures. A pressure measurement study was undertaken to experimentally evaluate the wind induced pressures on a 50‑storey tall building (1:250 scale model).


An analytical approach has been evolved for development of fatigue loading spectrum owing to wind. The method uses full‑scale measurements for prediction of the possible fatigue loading/damage. The number of cycles under different range of stresses per hour of exposure of the given structure, under specific mean wind speeds, are derived for use in design. The method has been used for the evaluation of fatigue cycles from the measured strain data of a wind mill support tower under various operating conditions of the wind turbine.


Modelling the hysteretic behaviour of structural elements under seismic loads is a major task in damage analysis of RC framed structures. Various hysteretic models have been reviewed and using the identified models, detailed non‑linear dynamic analyses were performed and failure patterns studied on a 4‑storeyed building and a 13‑storeyed building.


Floor response spectra have been generated at different floor nodes of a chosen model structure of a power plant structure. These floor response spectra can be used in the safe design of equipment/control panels located in the floor without any damage.


For the Rubber Board, Government of Kerala, design of rubber bearings for typical buildings of one‑storey to seven storeys has been completed. The buildings were assumed to be situated at Zone V, seismically very severe, as per the spectrum given in IS:1893‑2002 and with a peak ground acceleration of 0.36 g. Shear modulus of the rubber was assumed to 0.8 MPa with an allowable shear strain of 100%.




Clockwise from top left: Cyclic fracture test on carbon steel pipe;

Yielding type passive energy dissipation device undergoing test for seismic response reduction;

Seismic responce study on gypcrete modules ; A retrofitted beam

 (with steel jacketing) undergoing flexural load test; and Experimental study on a Lead Extrusion Damper device


A DST sponsored grant‑in‑aid project on seismic evaluation and retrofitting of existing multi‑storeyed buildings was taken up in October 2002. As one of the tasks envisaged under this project was to evaluate the efficiency of different retrofitting techniques, both steel jacketing and CFRP wrapping were used in retrofitting thirteen numbers of RC beams. The retrofitted beams were tested under flexural loading and the performance was compared with that prior to retrofitting.


Studies on fatigue and fracture behaviour of piping components were pursued. Non‑linear static finite element analysis of three carbon steel pipes with through‑wall circumferential crack was carried out, under four‑point bending, to obtain the crack initiation load. Twenty‑noded hexahedral iso‑parametric elements were used in the analytical model. The material non‑linearity was defined by stress‑strain values using Ramberg‑Osgood parameters for the pipe material.


The ductile fracture behaviour of 11 through‑wall circumferentially cracked pipes was studied under bending. The failure moments obtained in the experiments were compared with theoretical plastic collapse moment as well as those obtained by fracture mechanics based assessment procedures. The theoretical plastic collapse moment was calculated for each pipe using two different values of flows stress, namely, yield strength and the average of yield and ultimate strengths. It was observed that the moment capacity can be conservatively predicted if flow stress is considered as 0.435 times the sum of yield and ultimate strengths. The results of the experiments conducted by several investigators (reported in literature) on through‑wall circumferentially cracked pipes under 4‑point bending, and the results of the experiments carried out at SERC, were statistically analyzed for the maximum load capacity of these pipes. The frequency distribution of the experimental moment normalized by theoretical plastic collapse moment was studied.  Based on the study, the maximum load capacity of pipes having through‑wall circumferential crack was predicted for various percentage of confidence levels, which will be useful for design of piping components.


The project on the effect of fatigue on the performance of stand‑off and bracelet anodes on off‑shore jackets has been successfully completed for ONGC, IEOT, Panvel.


To explore the application of fiber optic sensors for the health monitoring of civil engineering structures, experimental studies were carried out for evolving suitable procedures for embedding fiber optic sensors in concrete structures. For the health monitoring of concrete structures, the most important and challenging task is the safe installation of fiber optic sensor inside the concrete for which three methods of encapsulation were investigated: (a) using a pair of acrylic sheets, (b) using liquid epoxy, and (c) using a pair of epoxy sheets. The comparison of strain responses, obtained from epoxy encapsulated fiber optic sensor and conventional strain gage, was found to be  fairly good.


SERC has undertaken the health monitoring of flyover bridge in Visakhapatnam Port Trust for the Port Trust authorities. One of the box girder spans of the bridge was instrumented with 20 surface mounting type vibrating wire strain sensors at two sections, one at the midspan and the other at 1/4th span. Temperature sensors were also mounted at the bottom of deck slab, to monitor temperature variation. For long term deflection monitoring of the box girder, five theodolite targets were fixed on the girder and the piers. The box girder was also instrumented with fiber optic strain sensors at a few locations.


A project was undertaken on `Fatigue crack growth behaviour of pressure vessel piping steel with part‑through cracks'. Fatigue crack growth tests on six notched plate specimens have been completed — four under pure membrane stresses and two under pure bending stresses. The tests under pure membrane stresses were carried out under a stress range of 187.29 MPa (15.21 MPa to 202.5 MPa). The tests under pure bending stresses were carried out under a stress range of 225 MPa (25 MPa to 250 MPa). During the fatigue tests, the number of cycles to crack initiation, through‑thickness crack and final failure or end of test have been recorded.


Towards evolving design and detailing of joints in transmission line towers using cold formed sections, analytical studies on lipped angle lap joints have been carried out, modeling the joints as thin plate elements. Experimental study has been carried out to examine the behaviour and the ultimate load carrying capacity of cold‑formed members of thickness less than 5 mm when these are exposed to static and axial tension. Bolted lap joint connection in cold‑formed lipped angle sections was tested, varying the parameters, such as, edge distance, washers and bolt staggering. It was found that joint slip occurred at 10 to 15 kN load, i.e., at 20 to 30% load for 1.5 d and 2.5 d specimens with bolts in the same line. For specimen with staggered bolts, the slip occurred at 20 kN load. It was concluded that for achieving maximum connection capacity in lap joint, the edge distance should be kept atleast equal to 2.5 d and the bolt holes be kept staggered.


Finite element analysis has been carried out on a typical transmission line tower bracing system with cold formed lipped angle sections, using 2D beam elements together with joint flexibility and employing the actual stress–strain curve obtained from coupon test on cold formed sections. Experiments were also carried out to understand the structural response of a transmission line tower X‑braced panel using cold formed sections, particularly to assess the end restraint factors of cold formed bracing members.


Under the inter‑lab collaborative project on damage tolerant evaluation of critical components/structures of SARAS aircraft, finite element model of the `Fuselage Stiffened Panel (FSP)' has been prepared, using ANSYS software. The FSP has been modeled such that all cutouts exhibit the same stress concentration factor (Kt) and be able to define crack along the centre line and through the first rivet point near the central cutout in the panel. Additional key points have been defined in the model along the proposed crack paths to take care of this aspect. Static analysis of this panel, subjected to unit edge pressure loading, has been conducted using ANSYS.


Strain life curve for 2024‑T4 aluminum alloy specimens was provided by the sponsor to evaluate crack initiation life of wing bottom skin panel under SARAS spectrum loading. A program module has been developed to represent the curve. This has been used along with the load cycles count based on rainflow counting technique to calculate the crack initiation life according to Miner's damage accumulation law.


Further progress has been made on computer aided analysis and optimal design of continuous prestressed concrete bridge girders. A super parametric finite elements methodology has been developed for evaluation of work equivalent nodal load vector owing to prestressing in a tendon, which is arbitrarily oriented in three‑dimensional space. Finite element formulation has also been developed for accounting for loss of prestress along the tendon geometry owing to curvature and wobble effect.


Formulations have been evolved for solution of incrementally launched bridges, using transfer matrix method. A sudy has been carried out for nose‑deck interaction with different influencing parameters which will help the designer in achieving economic sections of the concrete bridge deck as well as launching nose. It was observed that load and length ratios play key role during the launching whereas the stiffness ratio is not so critical.


Investigations were carried out on analytical studies on fracture behaviour of metallic structural components, taking into account the corrosion aspect. A linear damage function model has been proposed to predict the uniform corrosion rate for commonly used engineering materials in atmospheric and sea water environments. The model has provision to account for sensitivity factors, which depend on the corrosion  sensitivity of a metal to an agent. Relative humidity, airborne salinity, sulphur dioxide concentration and temperature are found to be the major influencing parameters for atmospheric corrosion, whereas salinity, dissolved oxygen velocity of flow, temperature and pH are considered as the major influencing parameters for sea water corrosion. The methodology integrates both laboratory data and field/site measurements of relevance. A frame work for implementing the model in an interactive and user‑friendly program environment has been formulated.


A reliability‑based model for corrosion pit growth based on Arrhenius law has been formulated and implemented. The pits have been assumed to be of hemispherical shape growing at constant rate in volume. Monte Carlo simulation technique has been used in the reliability analyses. The corrosion pit growth model has been updated to consider the influence of cyclic load by modeling the pit cross section as prolate spheroid.


A remaining life prediction model for variable amplitude loading, based on Wheeler and generalized Willenborg residual stress models has been formulated to account for crack growth retardation. The model has been validated with a typical problem of a plate having an edge crack and centre crack subjected to single tensile overload.


A program module has been developed to compute strain energy release rate (G), and stress intensity factor (SIF) for plate/shell panels subjected to bending loads and integrated with FINEART program. It is based on MVCCI approach for conducting fracture analysis of stiffened plate/shell panels. It has been validated in the case of free‑free cracked plate panels subjected to uniaxial tension‑moment and tension‑shear loading.


A project has been undertaken for development of efficient control algorithms for desired structure performance, employing parallel processing techniques. A control algorithm based on instantaneous optimal control methodology of Yang and his coworkers has been formulated. It employs the complete finite element model of framed structure and operates on the second order dynamic equilibrium equations. In order to account for the effect of time‑delays during actuator execution, computation for on‑line control, data acquisition and data communication, a predictive control algorithm has been adopted, which works on the principle of predicting the system responses a few time steps ahead and computes the actuator forces accordingly.


Realizing the importance of vulnerability analysis of framed structures against earthquakes, studies were taken up on development of stochastic models for seismic excitation, taking into account the uncertainties in geological and attenuation characteristics. Based on the studies, a methodology for generating acceleration response spectrum using fuzzy‑random models of earthquake ground motions has been proposed.


A framework consisting of finite element analysis, Monte Carlo simulation and reliability analysis has been proposed to estimate the reliability of reinforced concrete framed structures subjected to earthquakes. Reliability indices, against the limit state of overall drift, were computed for a typical reinforced concrete framed structure under stochastic seismic loading.


Studies on impact analysis and damage assessment of a ship have been conducted using different contact algorithms. Perforation on the ship owing to impact, residual velocity, energy and maximum axial displacement of the projectile were studied, for a range of impact velocities from 110 m/s to 660 m/s. An illustrative problem of a panel subjected to blast pulse of duration 20 ms was analyzed for obtaining internal blast pressure‑time history with a suitable algorithm developed for the purpose. The methodologies/techniques developed in this project will help in terms of reducing the amount of time and effort spent in conducting the FE analysis of structures subjected to impact/blast loads.


Further progress has been made towards developing a software package for the implementation of a scientific methodology to carry out risk‑informed in‑service inspection of safety related pipelines in power plants. A methodology has been developed for incorporating the results of in‑service inspection in the estimation of reliability of the pipelines against different degradation mechanisms.


Under the project for development of error estimator, adaptive mesh refinement, iterative solver techniques and parallelization on coupled SMP systems, undertaken in collaboration with the Central Institute for Applied Mathematics (ZAM), Juerich, Germany, a program module for error estimation based on super convergent patch recovery technique for 2‑D problems has been developed  and integrated with the FINEART program.


The XRAPS program has been updated by modification/addition of GUI for colour shading, degrees of freedom and arrows, iso‑shading, element shading and flat shading. The latest version of RAPS software has been installed using F90 compiler and successfully integrated with the XRAPS software. Appropriate changes/modifications have been effected in the FINEART program for integrated functioning of FINEART and RAPS/XRAPS programs. Data transfers between PERMAS and FINEART have been established and validated for 2‑D and 3‑D problems. The refinement strategies/algorithms developed in the project can significantly reduce the computational effort in a multi‑level adaptive cycle and generate reliable data on structural response.


The project on development of durable concretes with high volumes of cement replacement materials has been successfully completed, after conducting investigations on microstructure of concrete containing HVCRMs and self compacting concretes (SCC) containing HV‑CRMs. The micrographs obtained from Scanning Electron Microscope studies showed that the matrix of concretes containing HV‑CRMs was relatively more dense. The test results obtained from mercury intrusion porosimeter (MIP) showed that even though the total porosity was only marginally affected by the incorporation of HV‑CRMs, the relative proportion of smaller capillaries and gel pores ( <10 nm) increased. This was reflected in higher degree of impermeability observed in Germann Water Permeability and Rapid Chloride Permeability tests.


Using the particle packing concepts, the voids ratios of binary particulate mixtures were computed and a concrete mix design approach to determine optimized proportions of concrete ingredients for given properties of concrete (strength, workability) developed.


Studies were taken up on the microstructure of HPCs and structural behaviour of reinforced HPC members. The flexural behaviour of High Performance Reinforced Concrete Beams, were almost similar for concrete mixtures with and without ground granulated blast furnace slag (GGBS), both at cracking and at ultimate load stages. At ultimate stage, debonding of cement mortar matrix from the coarse aggregate was noticed in concrete mixtures designed for 60 MPa and 75 MPa strengths, more predominant in the case of GGBS based concrete mixtures.


A project was taken up to study the potential of Indian flyash to produce aggregates and also to develop concrete mixtures using these aggregates for structural applications.


Further progress has been achieved towards development and standardization of test procedures for performance evaluation of corrosion protection materials and techniques used for reinforced concrete structures. Six cylindrical specimens of grade M70 concrete (OPC) coated with concrete surface coating, and three uncoated specimens, were set to polarization with standardization parameters. Depassivation occurred after 118 days in uncoated specimen and the cracking occurred in 160 days. In the coated specimens, the depassivation did not occurr even after 205 days.


Potentio‑dynamic polarization experiments were conducted for performance evaluation of rebars. Two types of TMT, one CTD and MS rebar were considered. The potentio‑dynamics plot was obtained for all the samples, with four different percentages of chlorides, viz. 0.0, 0.6, 0.8 and 1.0% by weight and the rates of corrosion obtained.


Diffusion coefficients were obtained for ten mixes, using the diffusion cell. The diffusion coefficients were found to vary from 15.7 sq. mm/annum to 246.0 sq. mm/annum, depending on the type of mix and water content.


Experimental investigations were carried out on the structural performance of prestressed concrete flexural members, using high strength (HS) and high performance concrete (HPC). Design of I girder with M65 and M75 grades of concrete and design of pretensioned beams of 6.0 m span with the M55, M65 and M75 grades of HS and HPC were completed. In order to obtain data on the shear resistance and shear failure of girders, the web thickness has been kept minimal to ensure shear failure during the testing.


Algorithm was developed for design of PSC girders using different grades of high strength concrete, its influence on stresses in concrete, and calculations of flexural strength and shear strength of PSC girders as per codes of practice.


Three patent applications have been filed pertaining to the following innovative developments: `Unconfined shear strength based concrete setting time apparatus', `Method for in‑situ stress assessment in concrete structures by core drilling' and `Damper device with Hystertic Shear Polymer'. A computer software copyright has been filed on `COLD PRO – Cold Formed Sectional Properties Calculation'.



Origin, Diversity and Evolution of Mesozoic Vertebrate Groups in Indian Subcontinent and Their Palaeobiogeographic Relationships —Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize‑winner
Prof. G.V.R. Prasad's Work


PROF. G.V.R. Prasad, Department of Geology, University of Jammu, has been chosen, alongwith Prof. Kanchan Pandey of the Department of Earth Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, for the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize in Earth, Atmosphere, Ocean and Planetary Sciences, for the year 2003.


The research work of Prof. Prasad has received wide attention not only from palaeontologists and geologists, but also from molecular biologists and comparative anatomists as it addresses geological as well as problems related to the origin, diversity, and evolution of various Mesozoic (245 ‑ 65 million years before present) vertebrate groups in the Indian subcontinent and their palaeobiogeographic relationships. Prior to his work, little was known on the diversity, distribution, and biogeographic affinities of Mesozoic microvertebrate fauna. His work in the last two decades brought to our notice many new groups of vertebrates (discoglossid, hylid, leptodactylid and ranoid frogs, anguimorph lizards, nigerophiid snakes, iguanian lizards, sphenodontid reptiles, crocodiles, and palaeoryctoid and sudamericid mammals) previously unknown from the Indian subcontinent. Following are some of the major contributions made by him to the field of Earth Sciences.


His report of first Late Cretaceous (66 m.y.) tribosphenic (palaeoryctoid) mammals from India can be considered as a landmark discovery (Nature, 332(6164): 638‑640, 1988; J. Vert. Pal. 14(2):260‑277, 1994). Functional analysis of ankle bone morphology of these mammals of Laurasian affinity favoured the Indian subcontinent as the center of origin for archontans (an archaic group of mammals including tree shrews, flying lemurs, and early primates) (Journal of Palaeontology 68(4):892‑902, 1994). Prior to these finds, tribosphenic mammals were considered to be of Laurasian origin and the mammals of southern continents as descendants of Laurasian taxa. These Late Cretaceous (66 m.y.) mammals in conjunction with discoglossid frogs (C.R. Acad. Sci. Paris, Serie II, 313: 273‑278, 1991) and anguimorph lizards (Cretaceous Research 16:95‑107, 1995) of Laurasian affinity from the Upper Cretaceous sediments of India have introduced a new perspective to the Late Cretaceous biogeographic reconstructions of the Indian plate and as a consequence, the existence of faunal dispersal route between India/Asia in the Late Cretaceous/Early Palaeocene times across island‑arc systems has been visualized (Historical Biology 9:319‑334, 1995; Proc. Indian Nat. Sci. Acad. A, 3: 377‑396, 1999).


Based on simultaneous discovery of multituberculate‑like mammals of South American affinity from the Upper Cretaceous deposits of India and Madagascar, it was demonstrated that some of the Gondwanan mammals were cosmopolitan in distribution and a faunal dispersal corridor existed between South America and Indo‑Madagascar via Antarctica and Kerguelen Plateau (Nature 390: 504‑507, 1997).


His work on Deccan infra‑ and intertrappean biota supported 4‑5 m.y. duration for Deccan volcanism as indicated by palaeomagnetic and geochronological studies (Newsletters on Stratigraphy 31(1): 21‑32, 1994) and discounted catastrophic as well as volcanic models for Cretaceous‑Tertiary (K/T) boundary mass extinctions, at least in the Indian context. On the contrary, it has been suggested that a number of contemporaneous events, such as marine regressions and related climatic changes, extended periods of volcanism, and many local events may have contributed to the selective extinction of many groups of animals and plants at the K/T boundary (Journal of the Geological Society, London 152:289‑296, 1995).


It has also been demonstrated that the extinction of dinosaurs in the Indian subcontinent was independent of initiation of Deccan volcanism or bolide impact (Journal of Geological Society, London 157: 257‑260, 2000).


The latest discovery of docodonts, a primitive group of mammals from the Jurassic of India (Current Science 81(9):101‑104, 2001) can be considered as first of its kind from the former Gondwanaland. Before this, docodont mammals were supposed to have had Laurasian distribution, being restricted to Middle (160 m.y.) and Upper Jurassic (145 m.y.) strata of Europe and North America. Discovery of rare mammals with South African, NW African and European affinities (Geodiversitas 24(2): 445‑464, 2002) from the Jurassic of India has shown that Mesozoic mammals of India are much diversified than originally thought and maintained close biogeographic links with Africa and Eurasia.


The recent find of an iguanian lizard from the Jurassic of India, older by about 40 m.y. from the oldest known iguanian lizard from the Aptian‑Albian (Early Cretaceous, 115‑95 m.y.) deposits of Uzbekistan and Mongolia, removes the current basis for the hypothesis favouring a northern origin for this group. It also indicated that the origin and diversification of iguanian lizards occurred well before Early Jurassic, possibly in Late Triassic (Journal of Vertebrate Palaeontology 22(2): 299‑312, 2002).


Similarly, two new taxa of rhynchocephalian reptiles (sphenodontids) described for the first time from the Jurassic of India, have shown that sphenodontid reptiles were widely distributed in the Mesozoic deposits of the Gondwanan landmasses in marked contrast to their current restricted occurrence in New Zealand (Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 133: 309‑334, 2001).


Prof. Prasad [born 22 November 1958, Guntur (A.P.)] had his early education in Andhra Pradesh, did B.Sc. and M.Sc. from the Vikram University, M.P. (1979 & 1981 respectively) and Ph.D. from the Panjab University, Chandigarh (1986). He began his career as lecturer at Panjab University in January 1986 and moved to University of Jammu in the same year,  became Reader in 1992, and Professor in 1998.


Prof. Prasad has worked at several institutions in France, U.K. and Germany, which include: Université Montpellier II, Montpellier, France, and Pierre et Marie Curie Université (Paris VI), Paris, France (1990‑91); Sedgwick Museum, Cambridge University, Cambridge; and University College London, London, U.K. (1999‑2000); and Muséum National de Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France (2000); and Museum für Naturkunde der Humboldt Universität Zu Berlin, Berlin,Germany (2002).


He has research collaborations with Laboratoire de Paléontologie, Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle (MNHN), Paris; University College London, London; Humboldt Universität, Berlin; Field Museum, Chicago; Panjab University, Chandigarh; IIT, Roorkee; and Birbal Sahni Institute  of Palaeobotany, Lucknow.


Prof. Prasad is recipient of several honours and awards, which include: National Mineral Award (Government of India) (1994), National Geographic Field Grants (1995‑1998), University Grants Commission Research Award (1999‑2001), and L. Rama Rao Birth Centenary Award (2003).


He is a Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences, was Member of the Management Advisory Committee, DST Young Scientist Programme during 1999‑2003 and of the Executive Council of Palaeontological Society of India for the years 2002 and 2003.He has 55 publications in refereed journals (30 in foreign journals including 2 in Nature) and rest in Indian journals.



International Seminar on Testing and Certification of Ex Equipment


THE Central Mining Research Institute (CMRI), Dhanbad, organized the First International Seminar on Testing and Certification of Ex Equipment in Hazardous Areas – A global Approach (TECEX‑2003) during 4‑5 December 2003.




Prof. D.P. Singh (third from left) and Prof. D.D. Misra showing the certificates of recognition to

CMRI-FTL as a  Centre for Testing of Ex-equipment received from Det Norske Veritas ( DNV) at the

 International Seminar on Testing and Certification of Ex Equipment


Inaugurating the seminar, Prof. D.P. Singh, Vice Chancellor, Uttar Pradesh Rajarshi Tandon Open University, Allahabad and Chairman, CMRI Research Council, said, “Current thinking on Ex certification is undergoing a lot of change, particularly after the implementation of ATEX directives, in European Union countries.  These directives, though not applicable in India, have raised some fundamental questions as to whether the present Ex certification needs to be reviewed”.  He added, “As per these directives, the traditional items like flameproof, intrinsically safe equipment, etc. have been redefined to include flammable dusts as a possible source of hazards”.  He expressed that flameproof equipment would now be required to meet the dust proof category also and hence undergo surface temperature rise assessment to eliminate the possibility of dust ignition due to hot surface.  Appreciating the Ex equipment testing facilities of CMRI, Prof. Singh opined, “Dhanbad, which is still famous for coal mining, will be one day known as the Centre for Ex equipment Certification”.


Earlier, welcoming the guests and participants, Prof. D.D. Misra, Director, CMRI and Chairman of the organizing committee, TECEX 2003, said that this seminar would provide an ideal platform for manufacturers, consultants, construction companies, users, testing laboratories, third party certifiers and statutory bodies to share their experiences for increasing safety of the Ex equipment during use and maintenance.


Dr V.K. Singh, Head of the Mine Fire Section and Coordinator of the Flame & Explosion Laboratory of the institute as well as Convenor and Organizing Secretary of the TECEX‑2003, said, “Ex equipment play a vital role for safe operation of coal mines, oil & gas mines and installations, fertilizer factories, petrochemical industry, defence units and other places of work where hazardous areas are encountered.  With the rapid advancement of technology and increase in automation in industries, the time is now ripe to review the existing testing and certification procedures, introduction of new test facilities and harmonization of testing procedures for global acceptance.  This seminar would definitely go a long way in fulfillment of these objectives”.


On this occasion, Det Norske Veritas (DNV), Norway, accorded a formal recognition to the Flameproof Testing Laboratory of CMRI  (CMRI‑FTL) as Centre for Testing of Ex equipment as per ATEX directives.  This test certificate would help in the procurement of CE certificates and facilitate export of Ex equipment throughout the world.


Dr Arvind Kr. Singh, Head of the FLP Laboratory of CMRI, proposed a vote of thanks.  Concomitant to this seminar, an exhibition on Ex equipment was also organized, which offered an excellent opportunity to the manufacturers of such equipment to display their products.  At the same time, the users of these equipment also got a good chance to be acquainted with such products.  Fifteen manufacturing units participated in the exhibition.


The inaugural function was followed by Technical Sessions.  There were 15 keynote speakers.


Shri S.K. Pande, Chairman, General Council and Executive Board of the Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad, was the Chief Guest at the valedictory function.  Delivering the valedictory address, he opined, “Though it is impossible to make mining accident free, accidents can be reduced to the minimum by strict adherence to rules, regulations and norms framed by the concerned statutory bodies”.  According to him, as mines are very much prone to gas explosions, use of Ex equipment designed based on the contemporary technologies is essential to avoid accidents owing to gas explosion.  The importance of such equipment is increasing day by day with the increasing mining activities.  He expressed hope that the recommendations of this seminar would definitely go a long way in making improved Ex equipment and thereby help reduce accidents in mines.


Earlier, Prof. D.D. Misra  while delivering his welcome address, urged the manufacturers of Ex equipment to improve the quality of their products so that India can carve out a nitch in the world market of such equipment.


Shri B.C. Bhowmick, former Scientist, CMRI and Chairman of the Recommendation Committee, presented the recommendations of the seminar, and vote of thanks was proposed by Dr V.K. Singh


About 250 delegates representing 89 organizations spreading over 40 cities in 11 states took part in the seminar.


The following recommendations emerged from the deliberations of the seminar:


·  Temperature classification for Exd, Exi, Exe, Exn, Exp, etc, should be taken up even if the test is not requested by the manufacturer;



National Seminar on New Millennium Strategies on Quality, Safety and GMPs of Herbal Drugs/Products


THE National Botanical Research Institute (NBRI), Lucknow, organized a three‑day national seminar on `New Millennium Strategies for Quality, Safety and GMPs of Herbal Drugs/Products', in association with the Indian Society of Pharmacognosy and National Society of Ethnopharmacology, during 11‑13 November 2003. Shri Bachi Singh Rawat, Union Minister of State for  Science and Technology, inaugurated the seminar and also released the abstract book and the souvenir published on the occasion. The inaugural function was presided over by Dr Nityanand, ex‑Director, Central Drug Research Institute (CDRI), Lucknow. Dr P. Pushpangadan, Director, NBRI, delivered the welcome address. More than 200 delegates and guests from all over the country attended the seminar.



Shri Bachi Singh Rawat, Union Minister of State for Science and Technology,

delivering his inaugural address at the National Seminar on New Millennium Strategies

on Quality, Safety and GMPs of Herbal Drugs/Products


In his welcome address Dr Pushpangadan emphasized the need for developing standard and internationally acceptable herbal products. Dr Shanta Mehrotra, Head of Pharmacognosy and Ethnopharmacology Division, NBRI, gave an introduction of the background and  genesis of the seminar. Dr A.K.S. Rawat, Scientist, Pharmacognosy and Ethnopharmacology Division, NBRI and the Organising Secretary of the seminar, proposed the vote of thanks.


The seminar had ten scientific sessions, each dedicated to a renowned Indian scientist.  These sessions were named after Prof. K.N. Kaul, Dr T.N. Khoshoo, Dr C. Dwarikanath, Dr B. Mukherjee, Dr R.V. Sitholey, Dr L.D. Kapoor, Prof. Birbal Sahni, Col. R.N. Chopra, Vaidyaratnam P.S. Varier and Dr S.C. Dutta and the themes of the sessions were Biodiversity, Post‑harvest management/technology, Classical medicine, GMPs and SOPs of ASU drugs, Chemical standardization, Standardization and quality control, IPR sustainable utilization of herbal drugs, Pharmacology and toxicology, Status, utilization and scientific validation of medicinal plants and Quality evaluation of herbal drugs, respectively. More than 20 plenary lectures, 40 oral presentations and 80 poster presentations were held. The guest speakers of the plenary sessions included Dr R.B.S. Rawat, CEO, National Medicinal Plants Board; Dr R.L. Singh, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, UP; Dr Ashok Vaidya, Dr Nityanand, Dr S.S. Handa, Dr B.N. Dhawan, Dr Y.K. Gupta, Dr P. Pushpangadan, Dr A.K. Chauhan, Dr Madhav Karki, Dr S.S. Shukla, Dr Rakesh Tuli, Dr B.G. Nagavi, Shri Pramod Sharma, Dr G.C. Pareekh, Dr R.T. Sane, Dr R.K. Gupta, Dr Poonam Kakkar, Dr Shanta Mehrotra, Dr S.K. Tewari and Dr N.N. Mehrotra.


Governor of Uttar Pradesh Shri Vishnu Kant Shastri was the Chief Guest at the valedictory function which was presided over by Dr Y.K. Gupta, Director, ITRC, Lucknow.


Several recommendations were made during the deliberations at the seminar:


1.Quality, safety and efficacy of traditional medicine should be addressed at three levels, i.e. at    folklore level, household level and at the level of the organized systems of  medicine.

2. Government of India should encourage appropriate R&D through ISM&H and other organizations involved in traditional medicine to generate safety data on traditional medicine so that these can be easily patented and popularized in the world over.

3. The first and foremost action in quality control herbal drugs should be to develop methods for standardization of raw drugs, and common pharmacopoeia are required for all drugs.

4. Food, nutrition, personal hygiene and primary health care needs should be regulated through scientifically proven traditional medicine systems like Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani. The Ayurvedic medicines should also be subjected  to safety regulation using the modern scientific methods and tools.

5. Government Health Scheme should give equal weightage to traditional medicine and modern medicine. All government and private hospitals should have facilities for providing treatment in traditional as well as modern medicine. Basic training programme for Ayurvedic pharmacy should be organized. Government must increase the budget for indigenous systems of medicine to strengthen R&D.

6. There is an urgent need to establish an advanced centre for phytotoxicity studies. Limited toxicity or sub‑acute toxicity with organ function study should be carried out on those plants which have been in use for the last 30 years or more. This centre may be headed by a scientist administrator rather than a bureaucrat.

7. There should be more monographs on medicinal plants.

8. All available information may be compiled in the form of monographs on 32 plants identified by the Medicinal Plant Board, to have a very comprehensive document.

9. Organic farming methods for all the 32 selected medicinal plants may be developed and made available to farmers. All cultivation and production of medicinal plants and their products should be organic and a certification for the same may be instituted.

10. Children, right from their preparatory school, should be given a good exposure to medicinal plants, especially those found locally. They should also be taught about their medicinal value. School curriculum should have lessons on food, nutrition, hygiene and primary health, etc. There is an urgent need to include traditional medicine in the curriculum of modern medicine and vice‑versa, as practiced in China. Infrastructure for education of traditional medicine should be modernized as in the case of the modern medicine.



Workshop on Effluents from Metal Finishing Industries – Treatment and Recovery of Valuables


THE Central Electrochemical Research Institute (CECRI), Karaikudi, organized the title workshop during 18‑19 November 2003.


Inaugurating the workshop, Dr A.K. Shukla, Director, CECRI, stated that electroplating is an important aspect of electrochemistry practiced industrially by small and captive plating units. He stressed the importance of electroplating in enhancing aesthetic appeal, corrosion resistance and many functional applications. He also reiterated that the pollutants generated from the electroplating industry have to be treated to the zero discharge level.


Dr Jurgen Bischoff, Director, Indo‑German Environmental Programme – GTZ‑ASEM, New Delhi, in his special address highlighted the importance of Madurai city, a city planned in lotus shape, its heritage of 2500 years and visit of large number of tourists to this place. He viewed with concern the tremendous environmental problem the city is facing and the need for arriving at a solution to combat this growing menace.


Shri D.C. Sharma of Central Pollution Control Board, Bangalore, warned that unless we take suitable and concrete measures to control pollution, public at large will get enraged and the erring industries may be forced to close down. He referred to one such incident that has happened in Kerala recently. He urged the scientists and technologists to work out a viable solution to solve this problem and expressed his readiness to extend a helping hand in this regard.


Shri Vijaya Baskar, DE, TNPCB, Madurai, in his address referred to the recent Supreme Court order stating that hazardous industries without authorization certificate from Pollution Control Board will face closure within three weeks and those with certification but not compling with the stipulated norms, will lose their certification.


Shri M.P. Murugesan, President, Tamilnadu Metal Finishers Association, in his address referred to the help rendered by CECRI in setting up a Clean Technology Park at Madurai.


Earlier, Shri R.V. Alagesan, Scientist CECRI, while welcoming the guests and participants, outlined the need for such a workshop and its importance in the changing scanario. Dr A. Rajendran, Deputy Director, CECRI, in his presidential address, gave a brief account of CECRI's activities, the progress and achievements made in the area of electrochemical science and technology over the years.

Dr P. Thirunavukkarasu, Scientist, CECRI proposed a vote of thanks.


During the technical sessions, CECRI Scientists and special invitees delivered lectures and presented papers.


A panel discussion was held which concluded in recommending a suitable effluent treatment method for treating the effluents generated by small electroplating units at the Clean Technology Park. Dr Jurgen Bischoff chaired the session.



CMRI Paper bags IGS‑HEICO Biennial Award


A paper entitled `Effect of Repeated Cooling of Fracture Toughness of Rock' by Dr R.D. Dwivedi, Dr R.K. Goel, Dr A.K. Soni and Dr V.V.R. Prasad, Scientists, Central Mining Research Institute (CMRI), Dhanbad, has been adjudged as the best paper on `Rock Mechanics' published through the Indian Geotechnical Society. The paper published in the proceedings of IGC‑2002 (pp‑480‑485) has been selected for the IGS‑HEICO Biennial Award. The award carries a citation and a certificate.



Dr V. Prakash gets Kashalkar Memorial Award


DR V. Prakash, Director, Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI), Mysore, has been awarded the Kashalkar Memorial Award for 2002 by Shri J. Vasudevan, IAS, Secretary, Union Ministry of Food Processing Industries, on 23 December 2003, at New Delhi, for his distinguished services in the field of Food Processing. This award of the All India Food Processors `Association (AIFPA), New Delhi, carries a gold medal and a citation.


AIFPA instituted this award in 1962 in the memory of Shri Y. Kashalkar, with the support and goodwill of his sister; Shri Kashalkar devoted his whole life for the development of food processing industry in the country and organizing the industries under the banner of AIFPA. The award is given every year in recognistion of outstanding contributions and efforts in promoting the food processing sector in the country.



Dr P.P. Thomas awarded IIChE – Dorr Oliver Award for Excellence in Application of S&T to Rural Development


DR P.P. Thomas, Scientist, Process Engineering Division, Regional Research Laboratory (RRL), Thiruvananthapuram, has been awarded the Indian Institute of Chemical Engineering – Dorr Oliver Award for Excellence in Application of S & T to Rural Development, for 2003. The award was  presented to him during Chemcon‑2003 (Chemical Engineering Congress‑2003) held at RRL‑Bhubaneswar.


A B.Sc.. in Chemical Engineering from the Calicut University and M.S. and Ph.D. from IIT – Madras, Dr Thomas started his career in CSIR, at CFTRI‑Mysore in 1975 and later moved to RRL‑T in 1978. He has also been to Hokkaido National Industrial Research Institute, Sapporo, Japan, for a joint research programme on development of fluidized bed reactors.


The most remarkable contribution that has earned him the present honour is the leadership provided by him towards the rural development. The development of RRLT‑NC driers, right from idea conceiving stage to popularization stage, has been a very important achievement. The invention relating to the technology of reverse flow of hot air through the material to be dried unaided by fan/blower using the principles of natural convection led to the development of RRLT‑NC driers. A spectrum of drier models which are at present being used by farmers, cottage scale industrial units and even in household applications have been developed and commercialized. The new technology has several advantages over the conventional natural convection driers such as improved thermal efficiency, no chance of fire or generation of smoke in the drier chamber, simplicity in operation and minimum maintenance, suitability of using different hot air generation sources either singly or in integrated form, suitability of handling liquid products for drying, etc. At present different models of RRLT‑NC driers are being used for the drying of a variety of materials from coconuts to meat. A modified version of RRLT‑NC driers developed jointly with FRL, DRDO, Leh, was found to be very effective in the drying of apricot fruits in the Himalayan region. The differentt models of RRLT‑NC driers are well accepted by farmers and cottage scale industries in Kerala. The new invention has been a boon to several self help – self employment groups. Training classes were organized at RRL‑T for the benefit of users. Dissemination of the new invention was done by participating in different exhibitions, Kissan Melas, etc.