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Award winning inventions of Mahinda Kumara

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Ministers Basil Rajapaksa and Bandula Gunawardane with Tikkama Mahinda Kumara (extreme right) at Sahasak Nimavum 2012 Ministers Basil Rajapaksa and Bandula Gunawardane with Tikkama Mahinda Kumara (extreme right) at Sahasak Nimavum 2012

Eco-friendly inventions (part 2)

Tikkama Mahinda Kumara is a scientist who has been recognized at national level for his inventions. The following are a few of them.

Decolorizing industrial effluents
Industries produce a considerable amount of effluents which contain many pollutants, including colored compounds. Some methods used to remove these are very costly and sometimes they even do not suit Sri Lankan conditions. For countries like Sri Lanka, simple methods which can be understood by ordinary people are much better and more sustainable. Mahinda Kumara’s invention is sustainable because of its simplicity.

Many factories are located in the suburbs of Colombo, such as in Ratmalana. The effluents released pollute the waterways and have done for years. Some factories have installed water treatment units which are expensive to purchase and maintain. Therefore, they are not properly maintained even where they have been installed.

Mahinda Kumara introduced a sustainable, simple method as a solution to the problem. No artificial, harmful chemicals have been used in this method. He has designed a material which can coagulate and remove organic substances dissolved in the effluents. Since the compounds responsible for colors are usually organic, by removing them the colors can also be removed. Therefore, the resultant solution will be colorless.

A paint to reduce heat inside buildings
The homes people live should be environmental friendly. In ancient times, homes were built with natural material and were eco-friendly. But today, with the differences in lifestyle, things have changed.Three factors should be considered when building a house, namely, architecture, materials used and conformity to the environment. Ideally, the architecture and material should be as much compatible as possible with the environment.

Living in a tropical country, Sri Lankans should be concerned about the temperature within their homes. The interior was relatively cool in homes made with clay and other natural materials. However, with the advent of synthetic products such as asbestos sheets, interior heat has become a problem.As a solution to this, a special paint has been introduced by Mahinda Kumara. Ceramic material is crushed into minute particles to produce this paint. Temperature inside homes has been reduced by applying this paint on roofs and walls. The principle behind this is simple. There are empty spaces between the ceramic particles. Therefore, heat transfer becomes less through the paint layer.

Three coatings of the paint on roofing sheets are able to reduce the interior temperature by 12.50 Celsius. Where there is a concrete slab, the temperature reduces by 16 degrees Celsius. Applying on outer walls of a building has also proved successful. This paint is helpful to reduce the electricity usage and cost for electric fans and air conditioners. Anti-fungal agents can also be added along with the paint so that the outer surfaces of the homes can be protected.
This invention is a further development of Mahinda Kumara’s earliest research as a researcher at National Engineering Research Development Center (NERD). He invented rubber latex which did not coagulate in acidic medium and used it for several other later inventions. He moved on to reducing interior heat by testing with several mineral sands and compounds in the country. The award winning pain was the result of this work.Meanwhile, Mahinda Kumara also developed a colored paint used for clay bricks. This can be used to preserve the natural appearance of the brick. This could become very useful in tourism industry.

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