Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Oven friendly pots in the making

Chennai, February 25:  In a marriage between traditional expertise and cutting-edge technology the potters of Kanyakumari and researchers of IIT-Madras and Central Institute of Glass and Ceramics (CIGC) in Kolkata, are engaged in designing a clay vessel that could be used in a microwave oven. 

A sample clay vessel, created after several deliberations between the scientists and potters, was tested in the CIGC lab two weeks ago and gave positive results. Now potters in Kanyakumari expect the government to help them by funding the trial production of the clay ware.

In order to revitalise the business of potters and also to reach clay products to the urban markets, P. Bagavatheeswaran, director of centre for social development, a voluntary organisation that works with potters in Kanyakumari, approached the RuTAG (Rural Technology Action Group) in IIT-Madras in 2011. Based on his request, researchers in IIT-M took a shot and involved CIGC scientists to design the microwave clay ware.
Scientists sweated it out to arrive at the right combination of clay materials to design the vessel, which will be compatible for use in microwave ovens. Giving details of the project, Bagavatheeswaran said, "I witnessed the lab test of oven-friendly clay vessel in the last week of January 2014 at the CIGC lab. I am impressed and hopeful that this project would help the potter's community." He said, "We need funds for trial production. Based on response from users, the clay ware would be modified. Scientists have agreed to help us in designing the final product."
Speaking to me, S.Gopalakrishnan, project consultant of RuTAG, said, "This oven-friendly clay vessel will be a sure hit in city markets. Scientists had tried out various combinations of clay and other materials to create this vessel. Commercial production of oven-friendly clay ware is an immediate solution to improve the livelihood of scores of potters and also for many urbanities who want to avoid plastics."