A liquid that bounces, water that you can walk on and a fluid that dances – these are some of the materials created by the metallurgy students of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT-B) Bombay.
These students took everyday materials to create new substances with fascinating properties. Their work was displayed at the institute’s annual metallurgy festival, Padarth, two weeks ago.
“A lot of people lined up to try the ‘walk on water’ experience. It is very simple: When you shake a ketchup bottle, the pressure applied thins it and allows it to flow out. We reversed the principle so that when you apply pressure, the fluid thickens and can carry your body weight,” said Rahil Bharani, who was part of the project.
Bharani added that the material would soon be used for making body armour. “The current ceramic-based armour is not very flexible. With this, the person has the flexibility to move and it will solidify when the pressure of a bullet hits it,” he said.
A simple mixture of fevicol and borax created a substance akin to Flubber (from the popular Robin Williams film of the same name). Called ‘Silli putty’, the thick fluid can form puddles, bounce around and does not stick to the hand. “Children are most fascinated by silly putty. It was discovered in a factory when the two substances were mixed together by mistake,” said Geeta Monpara, who displayed silly putty at the festival.
Students also used a whole range of vegetables and flowers to create dyes to colour t-shirts. Visitors at the festival left behind their t-shirts for designing. “We have about 100 t-shirts to colour,” said Rishi Kumar. “We used grass for green, turmeric for yellow and beetroot for red.”