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Revolutionary Wheel, science essay by Soham Karandikar

Soham Karandikar, New English Medium Secondary School, Pune, Maharashtra

Shortlisted science essay from Khula Aasmaan essay competition for children

Essay by Soham Karandikar, DES New English Medium School (NEMS), Pune, Maharashtra.

This science essay was part of the shortlist from Science Day essay contest for children.
This children's essay competition was conducted by Khula Aasmaan and Science Park, Pune.

Now days technology is developing with an unprecedented pace. The latest gadget of today is an antique of tomorrow. Amidst all this, have you ever thought ; what is the most simple, yet revolutionary invention ever ? And the answer that came to all of our minds is but obvious A wheel. A perfect object created in the stone age. Evidences of these being used were found earliest in Mesopotamia. The wheels use was actually not for transportation but pottery. It was only 300 years later that wheels were used for transport. The invention of the wheel has been simple, basic and yet gorgeous. For millennia, the design has been the same. But constant is not how the world works. The human mind is eager to innovate. And NASA, has taken the job to itself.

When NASA launched the Curiosity Rover on to Mars, they faced an unforeseen problem. The Martian terrain was deforming its 0.75 mm thick aluminium wheels. When an object is stressed beyond its yield point, the bonds of atoms, instead of breaking move. This is called deformation. NASA's top priority hence, was to save this project.

Enter Nitinol

Nitinol is a nickel titanium alloy, which is a shape. Memory alloy. That means after deformation on the application of hear, the atomic bonds regain their original position - thus the shape of Nitinol remains constant.

NASA used Nitinol and curled it into a spring. This material was used to make curiosity Rovers new wheels. But the obvious error is how to get heat on Mars.

By adjusting the titanium content the shape memory temperature can be changed. Thus fine tuning the wheel, NASA used them.

This is innovation . Before this break through , literally Nobody thought something as simple as a wheel can be reimagined, reinvented . This are always opportunities for people who put determination and hardwork into it. Because innovation isn't for the smart, it is for the determined. And that my friends, is genius. True genius. Thank you

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