Materials & Processing : Technology Vision 2020

Article Index


Some of the prominent findings emerging out of this study are:

Intense R&D efforts bring down the cost of production and improving energy efficiency will be crucial in the short run. Other significant areas are near net shape castings, large scale production of rare earth magnets as well as surface modification technologies. Development and large scale use of various composite materials including metal matrix composites are crucial.
Production of structural ceramics as cutting tool inserts, wear resistance parts, refractives, coatings etc., as well as development advanced functional ceramics for high technology sectors like sensors for agriculture, avionics, space, automobiles and home appliances are envisaged to emerge as major elements.
Building materials are likely to undergo major changes with the adoption of precast concrete for faster construction, emergence of cost effective wood substitutes to maintain ecological balance, and development of synthetic concrete chemicals for fast setting & repairs.
To realise the benefits from photonic materials, setting up of national center for photonic materials and large scale production facilities for optical fibres, are emphasised.
Full utilisation of existing range of polymers through development of polymer alloys, blends, compounds & composites and as well as setting up of production and applications facilities in the areas of polymeric materials are areas requiring urgent attention.
Scaling up and setting up of production facilities for wires, tapes of Yittrium and Bismuth based low temperature and high temperature superconducting (LTSC/HTSC) materials with high critical current densities are brought out as important action areas.
In the area of Nuclear materials, requirements of intensive R&D and development of technologies for recovery of Uranium from low grade deposits are focused.
Need to develop industries that can supply biomedical grade metals, ceramics and polymers, as well as setting up of industries for manufacture of medical devices are emphasised.


Steel is having strong presence in today’s society with construction, housing and most of theengineering industries dependent on it. It occupies the third place after timber and ceramics,among the materials consumed in the world. Steel has a number of strong points which haveearned for it this place of prominance -
(i) good recyclability (90% compared to 34% for Aland 10% for plastics),

(ii) capabilities generated to synthesize steels with tailor designedcomposition and microstructure to suit a wide variety of  applications/service conditions,
(iii)major improvements in performance through surface modifications, cladding etc made possible
(iv) development work all over the globe has resulted in containing the cost and improvements in quality.Vision

With abundant iron ore resources (12000 million tonnes) and well established base for steelproduction in India, steel is poised for strong growth in the coming decades. Production willincrease from the current 17 MT to 31 MT by 2001 and 66 MT by 2011. India will become animportant global player with about 5 to 8 MT getting exported by 2011. While holding strong
sway in traditional sectors such as construction, housing, ground transportation. special steelswill be increasingly used in hi-tech engineering industries such as power generation,petrochemicals, fertilisers etc. Blast furnace route for iron production will dominate in futurealso. Share of continously cast steel will increase to >75%. Steel will continue to be mostpopular, versatile and dominant material for wide ranging industrial applications.Action Plan

  • Intense R&D efforts to be made to bring down cost of production e.g.improve blast furnace technology for enhancing productivity and quality of hot metalimproving energy efficiency of steel production
  • Alternate routes for iron and steel production which are non-capital intensive and do notdepend on coking coal to be developed/established.
  • Intensive R&D to be carried out to develop high performance steels with tailor-designed composition and microstructure to cater to demanding service requirements necessitatinge.g. high strength to weight ratio, corrosion resistance to wide ranging service environments,high resistance to crack growth. Special steel production which stands at 5% of the totalproduction should go up to 10%.
  • Secondary steel making technologies to be adopted to produce clean steels with superiorpurity levels to cater to high duty applications.
  • Near net shape casting processes like thin slab casting of steels and strip casting forstainless steels to be established in the country for cost-effective production of flat products.
  •   Industry should increasingly adopt modern tools like process modelling and simulation,intelligent processing in iron and steel production to improve product quality and consistency.
  • Steel industry should achieve pollution levels similar to those in advanced countries.