Engineering Innovation in India

Engineering Innovation in India

I. Indigenous Equipment Developed for Mechanical Recycling of Waste Thermoplastic Polymers to Composites

Indigenous equipment called single screw extruder developed for mechanical recycling through melt-mixing of waste thermoplastic polymers and inorganic particulate fillers can help manufacture and characterize polymer composites that can be molded to the required shape for making paver blocks, tiles, and bricks. At present, commercially available melt-mixing equipment are not designed for handling waste thermoplastic polymers that are often adhered by contaminants, as the barrel and screw system are not robust enough. IIT Bombay has developed an instrument named GolDN (pronounced as Golden) for melt-mixing of waste thermoplastic polymers and inorganic particulate fillers to manufacture polymer composites. It can carry out melt mixing as a continuous process, particularly in laboratory conditions, to replicate the real-life conditions as compared to other conventionally available instruments. The researchers at the institute considered some key parameters such as compression ratio and clearance depth to facilitate efficient mixing of waste polymers and fillers.The above technology, developed with the support of Department of Science and Technology (DST) through Waste Management Technologies, is now ready for commercialization for carrying out melt- mixing operations in a laboratory environment. It can bring down the cost of this instrument to INR 5 lakhs (by 6-8 times at least) by avoiding the complex design and operating tools and including the indigenous fabrication that are required. The researchers have also developed a TGeosA for obtaining thermogravimetric analyses of the polymer composites obtained from the melt mixing instrument. The setup facilitates a sample size as high as 200 g that can incorporate the heterogeneity aspect of the materials being tested.

Further, a pilot-scale setup for manufacturing polymer composites has been indigenously fabricated. This setup consists of a shredder, a mixer cum preheater, and an extruder to obtain the fresh binder filler composite to shred the plastic waste, mix and preheat plastic waste and IBPs, and melt plastic waste along with IBPs followed by conveying at the end, respectively. The technology developed by IIT Bombay in collaboration with Belagavi works of M/s. Hindalco Industries Ltd. (Industry collaborator) is at the TRL-09 and a field-scale plant has been set up.

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II. Chandrayaan-3 back on Earth! ISRO Confirms Controlled Disposal After Successful Mission

An LVM3 rocket carrying Chandrayaan 3 (Image: PTI)

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in November 2023 reported the uncontrolled re-entry of the cryogenic upper stage of the LVM3 M4 launch vehicle, which successfully placed the Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft into orbit on July 14 this year. The ISRO indicated that the probable impact area was anticipated to be over the North Pacific Ocean, and the final trajectory did not cross over India, as stated in their released statement. This rocket component formed part of the LVM-3 M4 launch vehicle and re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere at approximately 14:42 IST. The re-entry occurred within 124 days of its launch, complying entirely with the “25-year rule” for low-Earth orbit objects, as per the guidelines recommended by the Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee (IADC), ISRO affirmed. Following the Chandrayaan-3 injection, the upper stage underwent “passivation” to eliminate any remaining propellant and energy sources, adhering to space debris mitigation guidelines set by the United Nations and IADC. ”Passivation and post-mission disposal of this rocket body in adherence to the internationally accepted guidelines once again reaffirms India’s commitment to preserve the long-term sustainability of outer space activities,” the ISRO said in a statement.

About Chandrayaan-3

Chandrayaan-3 marks India’s third mission to the moon, aiming for a soft landing on its surface for the second time. Departing from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota on July 14, 2023, the spacecraft smoothly entered lunar orbit by August 5, 2023. The monumental moment arrived when the lander achieved a flawless touchdown near the lunar south pole on August 23, 2023.

 Chandrayaan-3 Key Objectives

-Showcase a secure and gentle landing on the lunar surface.

-Demonstrate rover mobility and exploration on the moon.

– Conduct on-site scientific experiments.

 Chandrayaan-3 Significant Discoveries

– Lunar Surface Temperature Surprise: ChaSTE recorded temperatures up to 70 degrees Celsius, challenging earlier expectations of 20 to 30 degrees Celsius.

– Confirmation of Lunar Surface Elements: The Pragyan rover’s Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy confirmed the presence of Sulphur near the lunar south pole. Additionally, it detected elements like Aluminium, Calcium, Iron, Chromium, Titanium, Manganese, Silicon, and Oxygen

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