IIT-M to help potters design microwave-friendly wares

Researchers of the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras will help potters in Tiruvallur to design microwavable products.

The IIT-M signed an agreement with the Indian Oil Corporation Limited’s corporate social responsibility arm on Thursday to take the idea forward.

Abhijit Deshpande, in-charge of the Rural Technology Action Group at the institute, is working on an idea provided by Centre for Social Development, a Nagercoil-based non-governmental organisation.

The aim is to equip traditional potters with tools and skills to develop a range of microwavable clay products. Mr. Deshpande said the RUTAG had supported scientists at the Central Glass Research Institute in Kolkata. It was extending that experience to the pottery project.“We are only enabling the potter. The IOCL will provide the financial support for the project,” he said. At Tiruvallur, a common facility would be set up and the potters would be provided the skill sets and the equipment. “We will do the handholding initially in terms of marketing. Our idea is to make clay products a lot more affordable,” Mr. Deshpande said.

Composition of clay

The institute has tweaked the composition of the clay to make the surface of the utensils less porous so that they can be used in microwaves. The institute will be part of the project for two years till the production is up and running.

Bhagavathee Swaran of the CSD mooted the idea, harking back to his early training as a potter. He will offer the technical support with respect to mould design and identifying the potters who require the intervention.

The NGO has done the preliminary survey and settled on Gummidipoondi and adjacent blocks. But the location for setting up the unit is yet to be finalised, Mr. Swaran said. “We can establish a new unit with production technology and product design. We need the State government’s support to take it forward,” he noted.

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Printable version | Apr 3, 2020 5:52:29 AM |

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