A fun demo conducted during a science expo at a college in Kerala turned fatal as eight students suffered burn injuries from the explosion. The incident took place at VTM NSS College, Dhanuvachapuram near Neyyattinkara in Thiruvananthapuram.
The explosion took place during the demo of 'fire without matches', and the injured include four Class V students of Government High School nearby and four students from the college. The school students were watching the fire trick organised by faculty and students of the chemistry department of the college when the mishap occurred. The kids were admitted to SAT Hospital with 10% burns.
The injured school students are identified as Roshan, Anu Abraham, Lijeesh and Krishna Varun.
It is suspected that the explosion occurred as an overdose of sulphuric acid was added to potassium permanganate crystals. It was chemistry students who were demonstrating the scientific reaction under the supervision of their teachers. The students were also rushed to the hospital. Four students of NSS college also suffered minor injuries.
Though injuries are minor the school students will have to remain in the hospital for three to four days as there is a possibility of infection, doctors said. College students were discharged after giving first aid.
College authorities said that they feel sad that a fun event went wrong injuring students and causing inconvenience to them. The authorities also said that they will be more careful further and is greatly relieved that the students escaped with minor injuries.
"Various departments of the college organise science exhibitions quite often. The expos are organised with the aim to educate students on everyday science, and such an accident was least expected," NSS College principal dr K Mohan Kumar said.
However, Prof C Mohan Kumar, who retired from chemistry department of College of Engineering, Trivandrum, said such experiments be better avoided at exhibitions. "There is a possibility for chemical reactions to slipping out of hand. Usually, potassium permanganate crystals are kept in a jar partially immersed in cold water while performing the experiment so as to control ignition," he said.