NEW DELHI: Scientists at Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) have developed a specialised blue gel that primarily helps in insulation and heat exchange from outside extreme temperature.
Speaking to dna, Dr K Sivan, director of VSSC, said that “we needed a material to insulate our primary-stage rocket engines that are being sent into space, as the temperature on the outside is very high and if the insulation is missing, the engine would burn”.
“We have been having discussions on how we will be able to take this to the next level. We intend to create a jacket using this gel,” he said.
The invention could be path breaking for soldiers serving at high altitudes in Siachen. “Using this material, the jackets’ weight can be brought down to around 200 to 300 grams and shoes to around 800 grams,” said Dr Sivan. Currently, the white jackets and white shoes being used by the Indian Army weigh as much as three kilograms.
Until now, the Indian space missions had been purchasing insulation materials from other countries, which often meant paying foreign exchange and at times exorbitant amount because of opportunity costs.
This indigenously developed gel can act as a coolant and also provide thermal resistance. Having successfully made it, the development also gives a fillip to ‘Make In India’ initiative.
Since 1984 till November last year, a total of 869 Indian soldiers like Lance Naik Hanumanthappa Koppad have died in Siachen due to climatic conditions.
At the moment, the formula is classified and highly guarded. However, the world’s lightest synthetic material if opened for daily public usage can even cut down on power bills. A layer or a glaze on one’s window pane will bring down room temperature by cutting off heat thereby helping in saving electricity. In chilly temperatures, the effect will be opposite by keeping the interiors warm.
Talks are on for creating the products in Ahmedabad for commercial purposes, and get India to move from Make in India to Come, Innovate India.