The Jawaharlal Nehru Research Center Delivers Aluminum Innovations in India

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For some time now, the new(er) metal on the block, aluminum, has been posing some serious challenge to steel as an alternative, especially in the automobile and in high value molding sectors. Steel should have realized what’s coming when beer manufacturers used aluminum to replace it in beer cans for the first time in the ‘70s, and well, we all know what happens to those who don’t learn from history, right?

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Aluminum is seen as a more “green” alternative to traditional metals, although the jury’s still out on which of them is inherently stronger. Ask a steel guy and he will insist it’s a “no-contest,” but, maybe, just maybe, the fellow has started looking a tad worried by all the advances in the world of aluminum.

Like some other countries, in India, too, of late, there’s been some cutting edge research work being carried out on the aluminum front. An example is the 25-year-old Jawaharlal Nehru Aluminium Research Development and Design Center (JNARDDC), which has been diligently sticking to its charter of making rather “creative and innovative contributions” to the technological growth of the Indian aluminum industry.

The research guys have been looking at ways and means of integrating aluminum into day-to-day life in India. Playing somewhere at the back of their minds is the fact that both the Indian and global aluminum industries face two challenges – energy and environment. They are linked – anything that consumes less energy is welcome in the modern world since it helps conserve the ecological balance.

So, finding ways to reduce energy consumption and conserve the environment has been top-of-the-list for JNARDCC. Going by the research at the Centre, an autonomous body under the Ministry of Mines and the Government of India, there could be a change in the coming years in the way electricity is ultimately supplied to households and industries in the country, for example.

Overhead high tension wires that carry electricity over long distances are made of All Aluminum Alloy Conductor (AAAC) or the Aluminum Conductor Steel Reinforced (ACSR) cables, but these could soon be replaced by a new type of aluminum and zircon alloy-based conductor. How’s that helpful? The new cables should be able to carry double the power at extremely high temperatures (about 210 degrees). More bang for the buck. This is just one of the innovations that JNARDDC has created in India.

As this report in The Times of India says the ongoing research on this front, conducted jointly by JNARDDC and the Hyderabad based Non-Ferrous Materials Technology Development Centre (NFMTDC), will soon be testing the new material in a pilot scale plant before releasing it for commercial use.

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