Making Mosquito Coils Last Longer

Name : Prakhar Parasharprakhar-parasar

District & State :  Hoshangabad, Madhya Pradesh

Category : Engineering

Award :   ignite

Award Function :   IGNITE 2009 Awards

Award Year : 2009

Innovation Description

  • IPR Status


What’s the Big Idea?

A device that increases the life of a mosquito coil by almost 20 percent. 

prakharDuring summer, Prakhar would find himself getting up very early because of mosquitoes.  The coil they used as a repellant finished by three or four in the morning, after which they were “at the mercy of mosquitoes”.

To get in some extra sleep, he came up with an innovative way of increasing the time for which a mosquito coil burns.  Normally, a mosquito coil burns five inches in an hour, but with Prakahr’s idea, it went down to four inches per hour.

How does it Work?

At the time, Prakhar was in class 11.  He shares, “We had just learned the basic principle of combustion, that is, greater the availability of oxygen, faster is the rate at which an object burns.”  He took this idea further and reasoned that to make the mosquito coil last longer, he must control the amount of oxygen available to it.

For reducing the air reaching the mosquito coil, he put an upside-down bucket on it. A small hole was made at the bottom to allow some air to go in.  But the coil died out after a while.  “I tried a number of combinations, and after many tries, learned that two holes at the bottom and one at the top gave the best results,” he shares.  Using this method, the coil burnt longer and the smoke distributed evenly across the room.

He did some more work and realized that a conical shape was better than a bucket-shape. Accordingly, the prototype based on his idea had a tripod stand fitted with a conical funnel to control the flow of air.

Just for Fun

He enjoys playing volleyball, cricket and badminton with friends in college.  At home, he loves to take after-dinner walks with his family, which are usually triggered by a power cut. “When there is no light in the house, which happens frequently in summers, all of us step out for a walk.  I love this time.  We discuss things in news, like match- fixing; plan our holidays; talk about ourselves; or just laugh,” he says.

The Magician

Prakhar dislikes superstition.  In class 9, he put up a magic show in his school to build awareness by doing simple, science based magical illusions.  For example, he lit a small fire in a ‘havan kund’ by just pouring ghee.  What was the secret? “It’s really simple.  I had added potassium permanganate to the ‘havan kund’, which is a fire starter. And instead of ghee, I had honey in my hands that reacted with the chemical to start a fire.  Of course, before I explained it, my friends were quite impressed,” he grins.

Hope and Dreams

Prakhar looks back upon his childhood with joy and sometimes wishes for it to all come back.  “I had a lot freedom.  I watched cartoons; laughed with friends; and studies were fun because all the teachers were like friend,” he speaks with nostalgia.

He is currently studying engineering.  He wants to use his knowledge of electronics to do something creative in the field of research.

Note: Prakhar received the IGNITE 2009 award as a class 12 student.  NIF also created a prototype based on his idea.

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