Sunday, 10 August 2014

Your HOME a Science lab - “Bring out the Scientist in YOU”

Your HOME a Science lab - “Bring out the Scientist in YOU”
Where a wall is a Thermostat and Stabilizer sets curd
The coolest switch ever!
In my view, most of the refrigerators in this world are built for lefthanders!
I have modified (since 1996) my regular refrigerator to save electricity and enhance operational convenience! ‘Normal’ refrigerators have the doors hinged on the right side, which means you need to open the door by grabbing the handle with your right hand.

As most of us are right-handed, we don’t use our left hand to put in or remove containers/ fruits/ veggies. In the bargain, we tend to open the door wider than necessary and allow our right hand to do the job. In the modified refrigerator, I have merely switched the hinges of the door to the left and the handle to the right! Each time you open the door of a refrigerator, cooling is lost and electricity is wasted. With the modified refrigerator without any additional equipment up to 20 per cent electricity is saved.
Back to basics: Paint the town white to save power
On a clear day, a conventional dark roof can get significantly hotter than the outside air. A clean white roof, by comparison, is only marginally warmer than the ambient air. “A white roof brings down the temperature inside the house by at least two degrees,’’ The direct benefit of a cool roof is the saving in power consumption.
The relative temperature inside the house with white roof is lower.  A cooler roof means that the space beneath the roof needs less electricity for air conditioning, saving money and avoiding emissions of CO2 and other pollutants back at the power plant. Any bright white exterior paint, suitable for external walls, is what you need to paint your roof, may be once in 8 to 10 years.
Rat-trap walls
You’ve learnt about thermal control in Science class, haven’t you? Now here’s how you can put theory to practice and live the ‘cool’ life? Rat-trap walls in your house not only save costs (they save 40 per cent of bricks during construction), they also offer thermal comfort.
 It’s a common-sense design, where bricks are placed on edge instead of laying them flat. So, a 9-inch wall will have a 3-inch gap. The air gap inside the wall which is not visible from outside, works as an insulator; that means during summer, the heat outside will not permeate within and the house will remain cool. And in winter, the heat within stays trapped and keeps the house warm. This design is like a double-walled thermos flask, which keeps coffee hot and ice-cream cold. Rat-trap walls can also be the load-bearing ones, making pillars unnecessary.
Get your voltage stabilizer to set curd and ferment batter
If you have many voltage stabilizers in your house — one for your fridge, one for your music system and so on, here’s how you can make them work hard! Voltage stabilizers have built-in transformers that generate plenty of mild heat round the clock.
This heat can be used to set curd or ferment idli / dosa batter, especially in winter. Place a bowl of milk with the starter, or dosa / idli batter next to the voltage stabilizer, leave it all night and enjoy the surprise benefits. I even leave coconut oil bottles near these stabilizers in winter, and save myself the trouble of wrestling with the bottle for a few drops of oil! You don’t need to heat and disfigure the bottle or waste hot water to melt the oil inside.
Mirror, mirror on the wall...
Urbanization means that built-up area is increasing and open spaces, like courtyards, in houses are a thing of the past. Most modern apartments or houses have very few gaps for light and air to enter the house. So there are several nooks and crannies which never ever see natural sunlight! Don’t lose heart. Look for a place inside your house which gets bright sunlight and place a plain or acrylic mirror close to it. This mirror reflects sunlight from the source (a window or a skylight) and focuses it on the dingy corners. Without using artificial light, you can light up the dark recesses of your house.

Not a pipe dream, anymore!
Did you know that PVC or HDPE pipes are better than metal pipes for plumbing? Metal pipes tend to corrode and encourage scaling or salt deposits on the inner walls of the pipe. This blocks water flow over a period of time, leading to more electricity being consumed to pump the same quantity of water. PVC/ HDPE pipes are cheaper, they have a longer life and they come in the form of rolls, so they are convenient to fix.

No entry to cockroaches inside your house!
Normally cockroaches breed inside the sewage pipe line below the road running underground in front of your house.
They get entry to your house as the sewage lines are directly connected to your bath, toilet and other waste water outlets. A smart way to avoid the entry of cockroaches to your house is to cut the main drain pipe going out of your house and create a U water trap. Cockroaches cannot swim through 6 to 8 inches of waste water always standing in the U trap. 

Many more to come…….. allow the scientist inside you to think... 

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Mr Shivakumar has several publications and significant number of patents, which are under commercial exploitation to benefit the society. His research experience spans over several fields and areas in applied sciences. He has a "National Award" to his credit, awarded by the Union Government of India in the year 2001 for one of his innovations. He was awarded the "Citizen Extraordinary" by Rotary International in the year 2007. The First Innovation award "Ammulya 2012" for two of his patents was awarded by Government of Karnataka in addition to other state awards and recognitions.