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Engineering

Moisture accelerates degradation of electric insulators, claims new study

Moisture in the atmosphere can expedite degradation of insulators that protect the long conductor or wires which transmit electricity from place to place, a study has found. The study was conducted by researchers from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.
Current carrying conductors, like the wires that supply electricity to our homes, experience partial arcs or corona discharges near the vicinity of high voltage conductors. Corona discharges, as they are called, appear as blue light in the air surrounding the medium, and may also produce some sound.

How are Indian cities coping with high levels of travel demand?

Indian cities have had a high growth in population due to urbanisation which has lead to a sudden growth in travel demand.
Researchers from IISc studied on travel and mobility patterns in five cities -- Delhi, Bangalore, Indore, Guwahati and Lucknow -- by collecting data about different aspects of travel: demographics, economy, transport demand and supply as well as transport policy and transport costs.

BMTC Network Optimizations Could Save Crores

The Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) can save a whopping Rs. 2.7 crores per annum in just one of its divisions by simply reducing “dead kilometers” in its routes, a new study has claimed. This study was conducted by a team of researchers from the Department of Civil Engineering at IISc, under the leadership of Prof. T G Sitharam. The team collected data on the daily schedules of Air Conditioned (A/C) buses operated by BMTC, their respective trip sheets, routes, information about depots and operating costs with an objective to minimize the total non-revenue generating distance traveled by all these buses of BMTC.

Special release: The right of way to pedestrians and cyclists

Don’t trade an arm and a leg to escape a traffic snarl, just use them. Research finds that a shift to walking and cycling can send the banks ringing from saved fuel, emission, congestion and accident costs. They also point to distances that people prefer to walk or cycle, which can guide the development of infrastructure encouraging a shift to non-motorized transport.

SPECIAL STORY: Earthquake-proofing the world’s highest railway bridge

In early August 2004, the Indian Railways embarked on one of its most ambitious projects. The project, declared a national project, was the construction of a new railway line from the town of Udhampur to Baramulla district in Jammu, India. The project involves constructing a number of tunnels and bridges, culminating in the construction of a new steel arch bridge over the deep gorge of the river Chenab. Once completed, the Chenab Bridge, at a height of 360m above the river bed, would be the world’s highest railway bridge, a title currently held by the Biepanjiang Bridge in Guizhou province of China.

Building in Potential Seismic Zones

Earthquakes have long been one of the most devastating natural calamities to property and life. On closer inspection, however, we see that it’s not the quake itself that causes the damage, but the falling structures and debris and the landslides and tsunamis triggered by the shaking that pose a threat. It is imperative to build structures that can withstand these vibrations of the earth, especially in areas prone to earthquakes, called “potential seismic zones”.

Dr Aditya Kanade: Making hand-held computation and computer education accessible to all

The current age is called the “Information Age”. People want “information” on their fingertips. Information here may mean a variety of things: mails and messages, news, financial transactions, railway bookings and more. Some people may also need more specialized or personalized forms of information. However, in a developing country like India, not everyone can afford a personal computer with internet access. On the other hand, India has also seen a remarkable proliferation of mobile phones across much of the society, and across most age groups. The new generation of such phones, called smartphones, not only provide regular internet access, but also a platform for users to create new programs (popularly called “App”s) for specialized and personalized services. Dr. Aditya Kanade, Scientist and Assistant Professor of Computer Science in Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore is working on the design and implementation issues of smartphone apps. In his words, the widespread adoption of smartphones is a step at democratizing information access.

A permeable reactive barrier to remove harmful nitrates from pit toilet leachate

While the Indian government is promoting the No toilet, No bride campaign, especially in rural areas, little attention is given to the design and construction of pit latrines. Many studies have shown evidences of nitrate contamination into groundwater through infiltration of pit toilet leachate; not many, however, have worked on effective solutions. In this context, a study from the Department of Civil Engineering and Centre for Sustainable Technologies at IISc proposes using a permeable reactive barrier (PRB) containing Bentonite-Enhanced Sand (BES) for removing nitrates in pit toilet leachate.

A new method to design artificial honeycombs

We have all seen what honeycombs look like, and the more fortunate among us have slurped honey off them too. What we don’t know is, honeybees have somehow hit upon the most efficient structure possible. Artificial structures that are built like a honeycomb allow us to achieve maximum stability at minimal cost, using minimal material. Researchers at the Aerospace Engineering Department, IISc, have come up with a novel method of designing the peculiar geometric configuration of honeycombs.

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