India’s Space Conquest Dream to Benefit from Indigenous Hi-Tech

The Union Minister for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences Dr Harsh Vardhan has urged India’s scientific community to celebrate the spirit of “Make in India” by conceptualising processes and products that cover everything from space conquest to the building blocks of life to mundane construction material.

Addressing reporters after a visit to Advanced Material and Processes Research Institute (AMPRI) which is part of the Centre of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) family, Dr Harsh Vardhan said, “We have made revolutionary advances in radiation shielding material to protect humans from the hazards of space radiation during missions in outer space. These conform to NASA specifications.”

“Here at the AMPRI, I see that spirit already embedded. My scientist colleagues are developing advanced radiation shielding which is needed for astronauts while not forgetting the environmental soundness of flyash bricks and cement,” he remarked on a visit to the Bhopal today.

He reminded the media that India has planned a manned space mission in 2021. Indian scientists have already developed credible technology in most of the areas necessary. This capability to protect our astronauts from all kinds of radiation is another breakthrough. NASA, the Houston (USA)-based centre for space research, has also acknowledged India’s steady advancements.

“Wherever I go in India, I see scientists in CSIR, Department of Science and Technology, Ministry of Earth Sciences and even private scientific foundations engaged in inventing and reinventing things. The Prime Minister’s call for “Make in India” has indeed given our scientific creativity a boost,” he said.

AMPRI is one of the major celebrants of this “new wave”, the Minister noted. In this connection he listed some recent achievements as follows made by its 43-member scientific team.

* Aluminium Alloy Silicon Carbide, a metal-matrix composite has potential applications in strategic and automobile sectors. The composites thus developed have been transferred to Exclusive Magnesium, a Hyderabad-based private sector company.

* Significant achievements in Metallic Foams, Smart and Functional Materials, Graphene and Carbon Nano Tubes base Composites. These are crucial for “Make In India” success and the manufacturing sector will be able to source these materials without relying on imports.

* Significant progress in extrusion, electromagnetic forming and special processing techniques for light alloy products has been made and major industries such as BHEL, Tata Motors, Mahindra &Mahindra, Ashok Leyland have shown keen interest in the development of lightweight high performance components.

* Jindal Steel, one of the largest private core sector giants, in the process of adopting flyash-based cementitious binder based on success in transferring a novel process. Allied breakthrough customized for sugar mills is also attracting industries’ interest.

* developed a hydro-generator shaft on sponsorship from BHEL Bhopal, which is fabricated by rolling, welding and suitable post-heat treatments from a thick section of a plate with properties similar to those of forged imported material. In addition to import substitution, the development of the welded hydro-generator shaft has led to material cost saving to the tune of 80%.

Dr Harsh Vardhan added that he has big plans for AMPRI. “We have to achieve global status and establish a niche in the areas of Materials and Processes. To achieve this, I am happy to see its scientists pursuing research on Nano Materials, Graphene and carbon Nano Tubes based composites, Material modelling and design etc. AMPRI aspires to provide scientific and technological input to societal missions of relevance to rural development.”