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CSIR-SERC Develops Easy-to-Assemble Toilet

CSIR-Structural Engineering Research Centre (SERC), Chennai, has come up with a cost-effective toilet. The toilet is expected to be set up in those areas where toilet coverage is not available.

Salient Highlights

The cost-effective toilet will weigh less than 500kg and will have a life span of 25-30 years. It can be assembled in under five hours.

The toilet has been built with the help of the textile reinforced concrete (TRC) panels. The TRC panels has been developed by CSIR-SERC using textile reinforced concrete prototyping technology (TRCPT). CSIR-SERC had applied patent for this innovative all-in-one technology in 2014.

The same TRC panels can be used as doors, roofing, walls and even flooring. There is no need of any moulds to prepare these sheets. These sheets vary in thickness from 15mm to 25mm. The reinforcement makes use of glass textile mesh with a grained cementious binder. This will be corrosion-free and is capable of withstanding winds.


CSIR is an autonomous body and India’s premier research and development (R&D) organisation. It was established in 1942. It operates as an autonomous body registered under the Registration of Societies Act of 1860. It is mainly funded by the Union Ministry of Science and Technology. CSIR’s R&D activities include aerospace engineering, ocean sciences, structural engineering, metallurgy, life sciences, chemicals, mining, food, petroleum, leather, and environment.

CSIR-SERC is one of the national laboratories under the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) situated at Chennai. The laboratory has built expertise in analysis, design and testing of structures and structural components. Its services are sought by the union, state as well as the public and private sector undertakings.


Indian Girl Sahithi Pingali to get Planet Named after Her

Sahithi Pingali, a twelfth grader from Bengaluru will get a minor planet in Milky Way named after her as a reward for developing an integrated mobile phone app and lake monitoring kit to monitor pollution in water bodies.

Sahithi Pingali had presented her paper titled “An Innovative Crowdsourcing Approach to Monitoring Freshwater Bodies” at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF).  For her paper, she got second position and was presented three special awards in the Earth and Environment Sciences category. In addition, she has also won a gold medal at the International Sustainable World Engineering Energy Environment Project (ISWEEEP) for her research work on Varthur lake.

Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) is considered as the largest pre-college scientific research event in the world. ISEF has partnered with the Ceres Connection program of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Lincoln Laboratory which will identify a minor planet. The planets are named after the budding scientists in order to motivate them by giving a name in space.


Fact Box: Hottest Known Planet in Universe

Scientists have discovered the hottest known exoplanet, designated KELT-9b which is warmer than most stars in the universe. The study has been published in the journal Nature.

Exoplanet is a planet that does not orbit the Sun and instead orbits a different star, stellar remnant, or brown dwarf. They are also called as extrasolar planet.

Salient Highlights

  • The planet orbits a massive star KELT-9 every day and a half.
  • The planet’s day-side temperature is 4,326 degree Celsius and is only 926 degree Celsius cooler than the Sun.
  • The planet is located 650 light years from Earth and sports a giant, glowing gas tail like a comet.
  • The ultraviolet radiation experienced by the planet from its star KELT-9 is so fierce that the planet may be evaporating producing a glowing gas tail.
  • The Jupiter-like planet is 2.8 times more massive than Jupiter. However, it is only half as dense as that of the Jupiter.
  • Due to extreme radiation from its host star the atmosphere of the planet has puffed up like a balloon. It has been classified as a planet by considering its mass but its atmosphere is not similar to any other known planet.
  • Due to the bombardment of stellar radiation, the planet is very hot so much so that the  molecules such as water, carbon dioxide and methane can not form there.


The first planet outside our solar system was found out in 1995. With the help of NASA’s Kepler telescope, the discovery of planets has become easier. So far, astronomers have identified 52 potentially habitable planets and around 3,600 planets outside our solar system. With the launch of James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) by NASA in 2018, chances of studying planets and detecting a familiar atmosphere will increase manifold. JWST will succeed the Hubble space telescope.