Two Indian Kids Make Rubber Production’s Eco-Friendly Alternative And Win Google Prize

Harin - Jul 31, 2019, 1:04 pm IST


At the recent Google Science fair competition, 24 students from 14 countries participated in the finals where two Indian students won the top prizes.

Last year, Google held a Science Fair and challenged students around the world to take part in by inventing, code or building a solution to any existing problem.

Now, two Indian students won the top prizes in the competition.

google-science-fair
Google Science Fair.

Thousands of students but only 24 from 14 countries gathered at Google’s headquarters for the finals. They dealt with different problems, from sustainability to healthcare and accessibility.

Fionn Ferreira, an Irish student whose idea was to extract harmful microplastics from wastewater before it reaches the oceans, won the Grand Prize. Meanwhile, an Indonesian student Celestine Wenardy, with her non-invasive ways of testing blood glucose levels, won the Virgin Galactic Pioneer Award. Tuan Dolmen from Turkey figured out how to use tree vibrations to create energy took home the Scientific American Innovator Award.

The National Geographic Explorer Award went to AU Nachiketh and Aman KA, two Indian students, for developing an eco-friendly method for rubber coagulation.

Aman-Ka-And-Au-Nachiketh
Aman KA and AU Nachiketh.

Rubber can be found in different products globally. The pair’s eco-friendly way is to make use of a fruit called Bilimbi which is common in their hometown of Uppinangady in Karnataka. The fruit is generally known as a weed and is said to have medicinal value.

The students used this fruit’s extract to make a natural coagulating agent that is non-corrosive for rubber latex. They discovered that the rubber latex’s coagulated time is six hours faster than the available method involving formic acid. The current method also uses toxic chemicals like sodium methoxide, carbon monoxide, and methanol.

The important point is that the two students’ rubber has an equally good quality, which means they have succeeded in creating rubber production’s non-toxic alternative.

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