aaa Indian Matters

Ignorance can cost a lot

March 17, 2011 at 10:30 am

The Incident
A group of college students went to Amravati on a study tour with their teachers. Once their tour got over, all of them stood at Badnera railway station to catch the return train. They started taking pictures using their mobile phones and digital cameras. To get a wider view, one of them, a young boy, climbed up a boogie of an oil tanker. Above his head, 40000 volts electrical line was passing through. As soon as he clicked for a picture through the digital camera, that 40000 volt current passed through the flash light in his body. The next moment his body was thrown up and on to the platform. With 50% burns, he was air lifted to the Keshavani Hospital, Mumbai. He died a few hours later.

The Concern
Now the main concern is that how many of us know or are aware of such dangers? Using cell phone in the petrol pump or gas station is a very common sight in India. In the user guide of cell phone, it is warned not to use it at the petrol pump, but how many of us really care to read the user guide and worse, avoid using it in spite of being aware?

Technical Reason
The reasoning behind the incident is that whenever the high electromagnetic waves radiated from the cell phone are more than the threshold to produce high static electricity, it heats up the air. Under these circumstances, if there is presence of any inflammable vapour in the air having flash point lower than the air temperature, it creates an explosion.

It's an earnest request to the people not to use camera under these situations or mobile phones at petrol pumps and while driving too. Most people are either ignorant or don't seem to care. Also, avoid talking on mobile phones while charging and when you are near high voltage electrical lines.

We hope that you don't wait to learn the hard way.

Rusha Patra
Research Scholar, Department of Electrical Engineering, IIT Kharagpur


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