Cheap tech to absorb toxic elements from water developed at IIT Delhi

  • Shradha Chettri, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Apr 10, 2015 16:31 IST

As government and different stakeholders have been trying to device ways to save rivers in the city from getting polluted, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi scholars have come up with a technology that can easily absorb toxic elements and allow only treated water to get discharged into the river.

Unlike the present available technology, this material uses cheap nano materials that are readily available. Using starch and other chemicals, the material can be either coated in the pipes of the factories that release effluents or can be placed it as a gauge at the pipe's openings.

"Starch as you know is very cheap and very small amount of it is used to make this material. As per the experiment we have done this material absorb 95% of the toxic metals, which will help a lot in saving the aquatic life," said Arabinda Baruah, research scholar from Department of Chemistry IIT-D.

According to the research scholars, this would be a very useful in polymer, textile and the leather factories.

This project will be displayed during the IIT-Open House-- an annual event of the institute which showcases innovative project on April 18.

While one project looks at cleaning the rivers, the other project called "immuno magnetic cell capture" will help in the healthcare sector, making diagnosis of typhoid faster and cheaper.

At present it takes 72 hours to determine whether a person is suffering from typhoid, this device developed at IIT-D will help diagnostic possible in just six hours.

"Bacterial infections like cholera, diarrhoeal disease are major cause of death due to lack of clean water and sanitation. Existing methods does not make possible diagnostic easy, because of which many people consume antibiotics easily available but our device will detect infection early and also reduce cost," said Ravikrishnan Elangovan, assistant professor from the department of bio-chemical engineering and biotechnology.

Developed with the help of two other professors from different department and PhD scholars, it is a portable device which will detect infection by testing stool and blood.

"When now diagnosis cost Rs.500, with this device it will not be more than Rs.200. It will also work on battery in places where electricity is a problem," said Vivekanandan Perumal, assistant professor of school of biological sciences.

This device has already been patented and the ones who have innovated also want it to be taken to a commercial level.

While this can be utilized for larger good, the Open House will also showcase the project by Virendra Kumar Sharma, who makes bells, pens, perfume bottles out of glass blowing.

"Normally laboratory instruments are made from glass blowing due to high cost of the glasses, but other things I have learnt over the years," said Sharma, who has been working at IIT-D for over 30 years now.

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