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Saturday, May 31, 2014

MATERIAL SPECIAL................ New self-healing plastics developed through crosslinking reaction

MATERIAL SPECIAL New self-healing plastics developed through crosslinking reaction

Self-healing materials can repair themselves by restoring their initial molecular structure after the damage. Scientists of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and Evonik Industries have developed a chemical crosslinking reaction that ensures good short-term healing properties of the material under mild heating. The research results have now been published in the Advanced Materials journal. The KIT group headed by Christopher Barner-Kowollik uses the possibility of crosslinking functionalized fibres or small molecules by a reversible chemical reaction for the production of self-healing materials. These so-called switchable networks can be decomposed into their initial constituents and reassembled again after the damage. The advantage is that the self-healing mechanism can be initiated any time by heat, light or by the addition of a chemical substance. "Our method does not need any catalyst, no additive is required," Prof. Barner-Kowollik says.
Excellent healing properties in few minutes
It took about four years of research for the working group of Barner-Kowollik, together with the Project House Composites of Creavis, the strategic innovation unit of Evonik, to develop a novel polymer network. At comparably low temperatures from 50°C to 120°C, the network exhibits excellent healing properties within a few minutes. Reducing the time needed for healing and optimizing the external conditions, under which the healing process takes place, are the major challenges of research relating to self-healing materials. Using the healing cycle developed by them, the KIT researchers have found a large number of intermolecular compounds that close again within a very short term during cooling.
Mechanical tests, such as tensile and viscosity tests, confirmed that the original properties of the material can be restored completely. "We succeeded in demonstrating that test specimens after first healing were bound even more strongly than before," Barner-Kowollik says.
The self-healing properties can be transferred to a large range of plastics known. Apart from self-healing, the material is given another advantageous property: As flowability is enhanced at higher temperatures, the material can be molded well. A potential field of application lies in the production of fiber-reinforced plastics components for automotive and aircraft industries.

CHWKLY 140422

APPS SPECIAL.................... Get Your Groove

APPS SPECIAL Get Your Groove

From clearing inboxes and sifting out things in your phone to blitzkrieg typing, these apps are all about professional efficiency

Wave To Get To Inbox Zero
If you tend to collect a nice mess in your Inbox, you need help! Else, you'll constantly find yourself drawing a blank when someone asks why you didn't answer mail or keep wondering where that important email went. Mailbox comes to the rescue. A veteran on the iOS, it's finally on the Google Play Store, for free. The app — with its convenient interface — lets you organise your mail with gestures. A simple swipe allows you to archive, delete, add to a list, snooze for later, etc. This gets more specific over time. Make a habit of it, and soon your Inbox will get to that coveted size zero that is so prized in the corporate world. Simply, Mailbox turns your Inbox into a task manager. This one is for those who have a lot of stuff on their Android phones or for anyone who gets frustrated looking for things that just can't be found in a hurry.

The Google For Your Phone
Our smartphones are like the humungous bags we used to carry, in which one would spend several minutes trying to fish out that one thing. Fear not, SRCH2 is a free app that very quickly looks for anything on your device. Ideally, it could have done with an interesting widget, but you can also just park it at the bottom row of apps on the home screen for quick access. One tap will open a browser-like interface. Search for a contact, app, music, photos, messages, documents or something on the Web. The results are instant and some are actionable such as calling or messaging a contact. When you search for a contact, you get a little bit of the recent history of interactions because messages etc., also show up. If I have a crib against this app, it's just that I think it could have been much more elegant.

Need For Speed? Get Swift About It

On an Android device, you can use Swiftkey, Swype or any other gazillion apps to type at top speed. Even the default Android keyboard has its speed tricks. It's Apple that has lagged in the text input department because Apple tightly controls the system to ensure a constant-safe experience. Finally, an Android favourite, Swiftkey, turned up on the App Store and though it can't be a part of the overall iOS system, you can use it separately and even sync it with the popular Evernote. You get the high-speed predictive text without losing the look and feel of Apple's environment. Turn an iPad to landscape and use both hands to type much faster and more accurately, or go one-handed on an iPhone and text away without mistakes. Some note-taking apps do include predictive text, but Swiftkey is a proven productivity enhancer.

Mala Bhargava BW 140519



Grads of 37% B-schools start on salary less than Rs 3L/year: Study

A recent study has punctured the myth that a B-school degree guarantees a fat pay packet. The average annual salary offered to students during placements in close to 40% B-schools in the country is less than Rs 3 lakh, it has revealed.

Students from just 1% of the 4,500 institutes across the country -the top business schools that command Rs 12-15 lakh as course fees -are offered an annual salary upwards of Rs 9 lakh during campus placement.

The country's MBA dream, says the Crisil Research report, is fading fast as there is more awareness about the (lack of) quality , infrastructure and decreasing return on investment.

Around 37% of the Bschools were placed in the bottom, with many failing sometimes failing to place a single student. The average annual salary for those more fortunate is Rs 3 lakh. The largest chunk of B-schools --around 52%--falls in the Tier-III category of the study , with an average annual salary of Rs 3-5 lakh. That apart, just 60-80% of students in this category are offered jobs during campus placements.

For the study , Crisil graded B-schools into four categories based on parameters such as occupancy rate, number of students placed, average annual salaries offered and average course fees charged.

The seat occupancy rate is the worst in the 37% institutes that fall in Tier-IV . It is understandable, given that several fail to place any student some years; some, though, manage to place up to 60% of a batch.

The report predicts an improvement in the occupancy rate in the next two years, though, as several “B-grade Bschools“ are shutting shop.

“The number of B-schools in the country swelled to an estimated 4,500 in 2012-13 from 3,000 in 2009-10. However, in recent times, there are fewer takers for MBA programmes, especially in Tier-III and Tier-IV B-schools. Consequently , several institutes have had to shut shop,“ stated the report.

G D Yadav , vice-chancellor of Institute of Chemical Technology (ICT), who also submitted a report on vacancies in technical institutes, including engineering and MBA/MMS courses, said the study is not at all surprising. “Students who lose interest in engineering also go for an MBA degree. Therefore, more institutes came up. But not all offered quality education. There will be only a hand ful of institutes that are good and most sought-after.“ A government official refused to comment saying such an analysis is never done at the state level, but added it is “quite possible“.

“Due to low utilization, inadequate infrastructure, poor placements and unavailability of qualified faculty , we expect more Tier-IV institutes to shut shop in the near future... We expect the occupancy rate to improve to 70-72% by 2015-16 from the 68-70% in 2013-14,“ stated the report.

Yogita Rao

BUSINESS SPECIAL.................. Going Glocal!

 Going Glocal!

Multinationals have realised the power of global vision and local action

Does the future of organisations depend on global organisations becoming more local or local organisations becoming more global? Where do MNCs draw the line between global standardisation and local customisation? How do MNCs devise a strategy on Inputs, Products, Technology, Manufacturing, Brands, Marketing and Distribution for local markets?Are local units free to experiment fearlessly? What is the price of failure?

The answer to these and many such questions lies in ‘Global Local’ or ‘Glocal’. Even as multinationals play an increasingly dominant role in several sectors in India, they have realised the power of global vision and local action. MNCs today account for nearly all of India’s carbonated beverages market, over 80 per cent of the passenger car market, more than three-fourths of the consumer durables industry and about a third of the pharmaceuticals market, to name a few.

Pepsi India chairman and CEO D. Shivakumar believes “overall, MNCs are held to a significantly higher standard of integrity than anybody else. But an MNC is willing to stand up to scrutiny and win. The same rules do not apply to many people who work with local brands and local markets. We are seeing a two-rule world. The rules for a big global corporation are very different from those for local players, whether in South-east Asia or Africa”.

But whether it is companies such as Abbott, which has been in India for 104 years, or Vodafone, which came just six years back, each global firm has had to devise ingenious ways of winning the local Indian market. If the largest foreign telco Vodafone innovated the Rs 10 credit and the sachet-type Chhota Recharge, Abbott’s Truecare is one of the most unique offerings from a multinational. Truecare (which came with the acquisition of the Piramal pharma business) is an exclusive portfolio for extra-urban India using low-cost distribution and marketing infrastructure.

Glocal is most potent when the local positioning of a brand or a product is vastly different from its global positioning. Not for nothing does a mass-market car in the US such as a Toyota Corolla become a premium vehicle in India. You would say, it is the pricing, stupid (thanks to the high import duty)! Right? Well, what about McDonald’s or Domino’s? How does one explain the mass-market burger and pizza chain sitting on the ‘aspiration’ pedestal in India? Or, take the case of Mexico’s working class beer Corona — it has a premium positioning in every market, including India.

Pepsi believes tapping into the courageous side of the youth is what makes Mountain Dew the fastest-growing Pepsi brand in India. The product is as global as it gets but Pepsi delivers the brand’s global message “Darr ke aagey jeet hai” (there is triumph beyond fear) to its primary target — the youth — with as much local flavour as possible.

But the biggest compliment for Glocal comes when local products, strategies, even advertising get exported to the parent or its international subsidiaries. Corporations that have developed ingenious ways in the Indian market are beginning to reap the benefits globally. Honeywell calls it “becoming the Chinese competitor”. “Take learnings from China and India, translate them to acquire the most competitive edge that you can get in other parts of the world, including developed markets,” says Anant Maheshwari, president, Honeywell India. Even Siemens India revisited its strategy to counter the local players. “These local players have international aspirations and unless we are competitive against them, local for local, we will not be competitive against them internationally,” says Sunil Mathur, CEO, Siemens India.

Says Vanitha Narayanan, managing director, IBM India, “India gives us some of the most challenging problems to solve. We not only have to solve them but also at price points that are locally relevant. When you solve these problems in India, it becomes immediately exportable.”

Honeywell India is replicating, on a small scale, its refinery automation model developed here in industries such as sugar, chemicals and smaller power plants in Brazil, Russia, Mexico and Africa. While that may be so, the biggest export continues to be technology. “The intellectual power of customising and serving other countries around the world is out of India,” says Maheshwari. Vodafone India has not only transposed its Big Data capabilities to its parent, it has even exported the language-neutral zoozoo ads to several markets.

Meanwhile, Standard Chartered Bank is readying a low-cost branch module in India, hoping to slash branch costs by up to 70 per cent. If it does, StanChart India CEO Sunil Kaushal believes the model can be replicated across several markets around the world.

Leaders exhort employees to experiment locally. Google’s Anandan says the company has a philosophy: “fail fast”; IBM’s Narayanan asks for sachet-style innovations; Bosch experiments in-house, rather than acquire companies; while Abbott possesses a voracious appetite for acquisitions.

Last, but not the least, MNCs use the power of technology to spread the message to as local a level as possible — in as short a time as possible. IBM, for instance, uses its MOOC (massive open online courses) platform to make available to every IBMer the ‘Think Friday’ dialogue that its chairman and CEO Ginny Rometty holds with the world’s leading experts on a given topic at the IBM headquarters in Armonk, US. “The chairman, the senior-most leadership and the junior-most person that we might have hired last week access learning at the same time,” says Narayanan.

And, Google India’s tie-up with HRD ministry’s NPTEL (National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning), which puts all classes taught at the IITs on its MOOC platform, has notched up a hundred million views in a week, overtaking most Bollywood channels on YouTube. How’s that for instant Glocalisation?  

Rajeev Dubey BW 140407



Although, it's not snowing outside and the weather is not chilly, you could still catch a common cold with you throat hurting terribly . Hay fever is a condition that shows similar signs as that of cold and is common during summer. The scorching heat makes it worse, as we wish to keep our body temperatures cool, to beat the heat. Here are few tips to get rid of this fever-like feeling.

 We tend to drink very cold water as soon as we come indoors after staying out for long. This might give you immediate relief from the heat, but it harms your system severely.
The body fails to maintain a balance between the two extreme temperatures, and that's when you get a sore throat. Mix normal and cold water, and drink the same sip by sip, instead of gulping it all at once. Also, make sure the proportion of cold water to that of normal is slightly less.

Make sure things around you are not dusty . Although dust is something we can't avoid due to regular travel, get rid of it once you are back home. Dust your clothes and then put them in the laundry bag, similarly, wipe your bag, and everything that comes in contact with pollution.
Also, make sure your house is not dusty, since it might trigger the sneezing and coughing.

Having a cold bath is quite relaxing, however, it suddenly cools off your body temperature, which can be harmful. Use slightly warm water while you start the shower and you can continue to a cooler shower after the body temperature is stable.

Do not stay sweaty and dirty; take a shower as soon as you come home. This helps you get rid of all the dust, dirt and germs you have been in contact with throughout the day . Sweat, if stays on your body for long, tends to dry and soak into your skin, along with its impurities.
A shower can help immensely .

Do not leave your footwear, bags, socks, or anything that you wear everyday in the open to spread dirt and germs. Put your shoes into a rack as soon you step in since you can't wash them every day, make a special place to store bags and put those socks in the laundry bag as soon you remove them. This helps in preventing the germs from spreading in the house.
-Srishti.Shinde BT 140531