Disaster Management Current Affairs

IISER Scientists develop Gelator to remove oil from spills

Scientists from the Indian Institute of Science, Education and Research (IISER), Thiruvananthapuram have developed gelator that can suck up oil and congeal it.

The gelator is hydrophobic material that has property of oleilophilic (oil-loving) and takes up oil when it comes in contact with it. It can be used to recover marine oil spills with a simple, efficient and cost-effective method.

Key Facts

The gelator is developed using a cheap raw material mannitol and cellulose pulp through a one-step process. In this process the mannitol gets adsorbed on the cellulose fibre through hydrogen bonding. The adsorption process changes the cellulose matrix from being very hydrophilic (water-loving) to hydrophobic (water repelling).

The property of gelator to self-assemble to form micro fibres makes congealing of oil possible and the oil loses its fluidity and gets trapped within the entangled fibrous network to form a rigid gel. Gelation essentially turns the liquid oil into semi-solid and this allows congealed oil to be simply scooped out using a scoop or a sieve.

During the studies, it was found that the gelator was able to absorb and congeal 16 times its own weight of oil. Even, the absorbed oil can be recovered by applying pressure or fractionated by a simple distillation process.

Applications: Gelator can also serve as a more efficient, quick and cost-effective way for absorption of crude oil from the sea following marine spill. Unlike other alternatives, the gelator can be easily applied over oil-water mixture and no solvent is needed for spraying it thus making it environment friendly.

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Government launches India Quake app for earthquake parameter dissemination

The Union Ministry of Earth Science has launched India Quake application on the occasion of its foundation day.

The mobile app has been developed by the National Centre for Seismology (NCS) for automatic dissemination of earthquake parameter (location, time and magnitude) after the occurrence of earthquakes

Key Features of India Quake app

The App facilitates information dissemination faster with no restrictions on the number of recipients. It will provide real time earthquake location information on mobile of the user. It also will help in reducing panic amongst people during an earthquake.

The app will notify two categories of events scrutinized and unscrutinized. Unscrutinized earthquake events are those whose parameters have been estimated automatically by the software using the incoming waveform data from remote stations. In the case of scrutinized events category, the unscrutinized will be scrutinized and confirmed by the NCS.

Background

The National Centre for Seismology (NCS) under the Ministry of Earth Science operates national seismological network with 84 stations. These stations are connected to NCS headquarter for real time data communication through VSAT.

In case of an earthquake, NCS locate these stations using data from its network and disseminate earthquake parameters to all concerned government departments and other stake holders through email, SMS and fax.  However this causes some delay in dissemination and also restricts the number of recipients.  India Quake app will overcome this problem.

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