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PASSAGE No. 9(12 Marks)
9. Read the following passage carefully:
EXCERPT FROM “WINGS OF FIRE”
A large variety of materials go into the making of a launch vehicle— both metallic
and non-metallic, which include composites and ceramics. In metals, different types of
stainless steel, alloys of aluminum, magnesium, titanium, copper, beryllium, tungsten
and molybdenum are used.
Composite materials are composed of a mixture or combination of two or more
constituents which differ in form and material composition and which are essentially
insoluble in one another. The materials which combine may be metallic, organic or
inorganic. While other material combinations possible are virtually unlimited, the
most typical composites in launch vehicles are made of structural constituents,
embedded in a matrix. We used a large variety of glass fibre reinforced plastic
composites and opened avenues for the entry of Kevlar, polyamides and carboncarbon
composites. Ceramics are special types of baked clay used for microwave
transparent enclosures. We considered using ceramics, but had to reject the idea then
due to technological limitations.
Through mechanical engineering, these materials are transformed into hardware. In
fact, of all the engineering disciplines which feed directly into the development of
rocketry, mechanical engineering is perhaps the most intrinsic one. Be it a
sophisticated system like a liquid engine or a piece of hardware as simple as a fastener,
its ultimate fabrication calls for expert mechanical engineers and precision machine
tools. We decided to develop important technologies like welding techniques for lowalloy
stainless steel, electroforming techniques, and ultra-precision process tooling. We
also decided to make some important machines in-house, like the 254-litre vertical
mixer and the groove machining facility for our third and fourth stages. Many of
our subsystems were so massive and complex that they implied sizeable financial
Without any hesitation, we approached industries in the private sector and
developed contract management plans which later became blueprints for many
government-run science and technology business organizations.
- Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam
On the basis of your reading of the passage, answer the following questions:
a) What are the two basic characteristics of composite materials?
b) Why didn’t the narrator use ceramics into the making of a launch vehicle?
c) Why does the narrator term mechanical engineering as the most interesting and
valuable engineering discipline?
d) How did the private industries contribute in making of the launch vehicle?
Choose the correct options out of the choices given as per the direction given:
(1x4 = 4 Marks)
a) The meaning of the word ‘insoluble’ in the given context is: (Para-2)
i) a problem which is impossible to solve
ii) a substance which does not dissolve in a liquid
iii) a person who is not liked by anyone
iv) a great occasion or event
b) The meaning of the word ‘embedded’ used in Para-2 is:
i) to rotate something
ii) to push something
iii) to pluck out something
iv) to fix something firmly
c) The word which means as – ‘very interesting or valuable’ in Para-3 is:
i) Mechanical ii) sophisticated iii) intrinsic iv) vertical
d) The word which is opposite of – ‘horizontal’: (from Para – 3)
i) material ii) expert iii) welding iv) vertical
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