Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Saturday, Nov 29, 2003
Industry & Economy
Science & Technology
Bright future ahead for composite tech
Hyderabad , Nov. 28
COMPOSITE materials and related technologies have just about begun to impact the world in a big way. Given the potential of these technologies, composite materials and products made out of them and services can do to India what IT services have managed to do for the country.
The Chairman of Composite Center International (CCI), Mr R.K. Mehta, on Thursday said that the small and medium-sized enterprises and possibly sub-assembly lines in the country can play a significant role and help in outsourcing products and services just as the IT industry has done to the country.
However, the Government has to recognise this emerging sector and provide a facilitating environment. "We are in parleys with the policymakers to impress upon them the need to support such technologies."
Addressing a three-day national meet entitled India Composites 2003, Mr Mehta said composites are finding multiple usage in the aerospace, marine, defence and automobile sector applications. The venture capital funding was necessary in the sector as this would help create small companies that can manufacture lightweight products that could consumed both locally as also marketed abroad.
A composite material has two components one that reinforces the material and the other that takes care of the load distribution called matrix. While materials such as glass fibre, carbon fire, Kevler and natural fibre are classified as reinforcing materials, polyester, phenolic, epoxy, resins, and nylon are among those termed matrix materials.
These products are marked by superior strength, lightweight and lasting characteristics and demonstrate how we can effectively substitute steel, concrete, wood and aluminium.
Unlike other materials, while these composite materials reduce maintenance costs as they are corrosion free, they also afford the possibility of recycling them but needs special biodegradable composites, which are currently under various stages of development.
The former Director of Indian Institute of Chemical technology, Dr K.V. Raghavan, said composite materials have opened up new areas of applications, which were unimaginable about a decade ago.
The head of Advanced Composite Materials Centre at the University of Plymouth, located in the UK, Dr Stephen Grove, said composite materials are finding multiple applications such as windmill blades, motor boats and aerospace, where these materials apart from being light weight provide the necessary strength while bringing in flexibility in form and design. As a result of research work, the wind blades, which were about 30 meters, are now projected to go up to about 50 to 60 meters.
The three-day meet underway on composite material technologies has a concurrent exhibition of products that impact the industry and people in particular.
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