• Materials

    Advanced materials have well defined functionality and find application in fields as diverse as information technology, opto-electronics and non-linear optics to drug-delivery. Over the years CSIR has developed several novel processes and materials to address to the need for desired tailoring capability. Recent developments have focussed on nano-materials, composites, polymers, including conducting polymers, intelligent materials, magnetic materials, sensors, structural ceramics, bulk amorphous alloys, glassy alloys and biomaterials. Recognizing the importance of these materials in the present industrial scenario, CSIR has been involved in developing these materials through different novel processes such as wet chemical processes, self propagating high temperature synthesis, bio-mimetic synthesis, plasma, ion, laser synthesis, special melting and infiltration techniques, rapid solidification, etc. Many network projects of CSIR, financially aided by different government agencies and industries, are geared towards this. The all-composite trainer aircraft Hansa and various parts of Saras made out of composite materials speak of the level of competence that CSIR has in this sector.


    CSIR's mandate in this area is to develop new and special materials tailored to meet specific requirements of different economic and strategic sectors.


    The CSIR laboratories engaged in research in this area and their core competence are as follows:
    Labs Areas of Core Competence
    National Chemical Laboratory (NCL, Pune) Heterogeneous, homogeneous and bio catalysts, polymers, composites, coatings, new materials, e.g. nanomaterials and smart polymers
    Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT, Hyderabad) Adhesives, biodegradable polymers, conducting polymers, catalysts, cyanate ester polymers, solder resistant and rain erosion resistant coatings
    National Metallurgical Laboratory (NML, Jamshedpur) Material characterization and evaluation, magnetic materials, sensor materials, advanced structural ceramics, bio-ceramics, hydroxy apatite -based hybrid composites, metal-ceramics and ceramic-ceramic joining, advanced alloys like shape memory and damping alloys, hard coatings, oxidation and wear resisting nanocomposite coatings
    Central Glass & Ceramics Research Institute, (CGCRI, Kolkata) Glass science, glass technology, specialty glass processing, optical communication fibres, anti- reflective and anti-glare coatings, nano composite films, nano ceramic powders, clay-based ceramics, non-oxide ceramics, ceramic membranes, ceramic bio-medical implants, electro-ceramics, engineering ceramics and composites, refractories
    National Physical Laboratory (NPL, New Delhi) Materials science and materials characterization, processing and characterization of monolithic and composite materials, advanced carbon products, polymeric and soft materials, liquid crystal display devices, bio-sensors, and polymeric electronic devices including xeroradiography, conducting polymers, electronic materials, and Indian Reference Materials
    National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL, Bangalore) Composites and coatings
    Central Electrochemical Research Institute (CECRI, Karaikudi) Corrosion resistant coatings, Luminescent materials, organic conducting polymers and novel oxide materials, photovoltaic materials for solid and liquid junction solar cells, supersonic conductors
    Regional Research Laboratory, Jorhat Nanomaterials as catalysts, ceramic monolith, silica and alumina-based materials, cement and building materials, oil field chemicals, e.g., propellants, masonry bricks, boards, paper, etc., utilizing waste materials.
    Regional Research Laboratory, Bhopal Metal matrix composites, agricultural implements, polymer composites, computer simulation studies for materials
    Regional Research Laboratory, Bhubaneswar Thermal plasma dissociation of zircon, titania rich slag by thermal plasma processing of raw and pre-reduced ilmenite and plasma processing of industrially important high temperature materials
    Regional Research Laboratory, Thiruvananthapuram Polymers for specific applications, polymer composites, polymer processing and blends

    Several other laboratories are also contributing to this theme area. Indian Institute of Petroleum (IIP), DehraDun, has developed catalysts for petroleum refining processes; Central Building Research Institute (CBRI), Roorkee, has developed a host of building materials and components and Central Scientific Instrumentation Organisation (CSIO), Chandigarh, is associated with the development of custom-tailored special materials.


    Knowledge-based Products/Technologies Developed


    • Catalysts: A series of zeolite catalysts (Encilites) have been developed to produce important industrial chemicals such as  p-xylene, ethylbenzene and olefines. Several non-zeolite and homogeneous catalysts have also been developed for producing various chemicals
    • Polymers: Polymer coating for filling cracks and thereby stopping seepage, etc.; Micro-encapsulation for controlled release applications; Fibre reinforced plastics for making two-wheeler components; Polyurethane-based waterproofing compounds; High performance polyethylene cable compounds produced by reactive compounding; Super absorbing polymers; Polymer supports for immobilization of enzymes; Design of novel membrane materials for gas separation through molecular modelling; Polymers with controlled molecular structure for use as viscosity index improvers; Novel self-associating polymers for drag reduction ; Smart polymers based on gel science for application in separation technologies, enzyme mimics, etc.; Manipulation of polymer surfaces/interfaces for producing materials with improved barrier/adhesive properties
    • Water-borne adhesives and surface coatings with enhanced eco-friendliness
    • Lipid-based nanoparticle immobilization
    • Cyclohexyl methyl carbinol
    • ECONCL process for treating black liquor of paper industry
    • Homobrassinilide
    • Membrane-based process for improving quality and storage stability of neera
    • Flat sheet ultra filtration membrane capable of excluding virus and bacteria from water


    • Polyols for polyurethane coatings; PET fibre coatings; iron oxide pigments from blue dust/iron ore fines/spent iron catalysts; anti-corrosive coatings, nuclear radiation resistant coating for nuclear power plants, anti-static rain erosion resistant coating for LCA Radome, rebar coating, biomaterials.
    • Crack filling compound concrete structures
    • UV resistant coating for outdoor exposure
    • Anti-static floor coatings for electronic and pharmaceutical industry
    • Adhesives (medical/packaging/shoe/construction/automobile industry)
    • 1K & 2K PU coatings
    • Polyvinyl acetic emulsion adhesive (Wood Fix)
    • Synthetic vinyl binder for distempers (Tixi Bond, Supercem Shot)
    • Neoprene-based contact adhesive (Fixsole RA 1001)
    • Cyanoacrylate and isoamyl-2-cyanoacylate adhesives
    • Technologies for ecofriendly pack materials; pheromone lures, methacylate polymers, PVA emulsions, pressure sensitive adhesives, NBCA spray, pasting gun
    • Insulation boards from rock wool
    • Wood substitutes from coconut coir
    • Paper sizing compound


    • Pt-Re bimetallic reforming catalyst
    • FCC catalyst
    • Micro reactor for catalyst screening
    • MAT unit for FCC catalysts


    The products and technologies commercialized are: NML Certified Reference Materials of plain carbon steels, low alloy steels, stainless steel, ferroalloys, ores, refractories, etc., have been commercialised by a large number of industries in India and aboard.; The major products/technologies developed include;  METASAVE, an acid pickling inhibitor; Dental amalgam; Electrolytic iron powder from sponge iron; Electrolytic copper powder for carbin brush, welding electrodes, bearing, etc; NML PM 122, an incoculant for aluminium and its; Hydrochloric acid pickling inhibitors, used for pickling of steels in hydrochloric acid at room temperature to 70oC, cleaning of boilers, tubes, auto radiators, cleaning of choked steel pipes, heat exchanger tubes etc; GALVASAVE, a flux useful for prefluxing in dry galvanizing of iron and steel; GALVAFLUX, a galvanising flux -ased on triple salts; Vapour phase inhibitor for corrosion protection of finished products during transit and; PRIXOL - a radiator coolant used in the automobile industry ; Rust stabiliser - a product useful in converting rusted surface into a base for paint applications; Stainless steel powder, a product used for production of sintered items through P/M route, welding rods  porous thimbles for filters and also for sprayed powder; Clay bonded graphite crucible, used in ferrous and non-ferrous metal melting; Clay graphite stopper heads, used for controlling the flow of molten steel during teeming operation; Fly ash-based hard ceramic; Submerged arc welding flux (fused type), used for welding thick sections of plain carbon; Air nitrogen atomised extra fine non-ferrous metal powders, used for pigments, paints, inks, pyrotechnics, slurry explosives, reducing agents, sintered PM parts, filters, self lubricating bearings, bushings, brake; Ceramic balls and grates for cokeless; PIKASURF, a solution useful for pickling of copper and copper-based alloys; SUPERAL/HOPAL, sacrificial anodes based on aluminium; RELIEF & CLIP SOFTWARE, computer software for component integrity evaluation and life prediction

    Technologies and products available for commercialization: Liquid gold; oxygen scavenger, resin bonded Al2O3-SiC-C refractories; reduction grade iron powder; nanocrystalline ferro magnetic alloys; magnetic sensors for material characterisation; nano sized hydrographite powder for bone grafting; anodized iron oxide by biomimetic route; hydoxyapatite by biomimetic route; alumina (Ti-Zr) boride composites; an improved gas melting furnace; electrolytic reactor for purification of industrial effluent.

    Other developments/basic findings pertain to: FeNbCuSiB-based amorphous alloys in the form of ribbons with excellent soft-magnetic properties; Fine grained superhard, high temperature monolithic composites and nano-ceramic powders of alumina, aluminium phosphate, aluminium nitride, zirconia, zinc sulphide with spherical shape and good flow properties; Near net shape Al2O3-SiC by a new rapid heating self-propagating high temperature synthesis (RH-SHS) process; Hard coatings (hardness up to 25 G) of nanosize and nanocrystalline titanium diboride and carbon nitride.; Indigenously developed stainless steel (304 type)-high strength low alloy steel (HY100) joint; Al-rutile composite with excellent wear properties; Al-Sc alloy for aerospace application by powder metallurgy and melting routes; Magnetic sensor (sensitivity: 0.18mV/mT) using nanocrystalline material to detect magnetic field of small amplitude (~25nT). ; Precipitation induced two memory in Cu-Zn-Al-X shape memory alloys system; Cu-Mn-Al damping alloy based on the microstructural aspect of alloy designing; Irradiation resistant nano-scale coating; Indigenous rejuvenation technology for reclaiming the original structure and properties at periodic intervals for aero engines; Spherical ceramic powders by aerosol synthesis of nano-crystalline zirconia-toughened alumina powders; Biomimetic synthesis of inorganic nanoparticles under microgravity; Texture determination in 316 stainless steel to determine the evolution of deformation and annealing textures; Texture property correlation studies of metastable stainless steels under different deformation modes; Diamond reinforced composite coating consisting of C, WC and Cu with uniform distribution of all the phases for use as a high wear-resistant material; Biomimetic route to synthetic composites to understand the mechanism of biomineralisation and for the synthesis of nanoparticles of technological importance in supermolecular matrices like polyvinyl alcohol, bovine serum albumin, collagen and the protein molecules present in tobacco leaves; A new polymer based additive tested for the improvement of grinding efficiency of limestone; Software developed for creep strain based lifetime prediction using a set of coupled differential equations to represent the various processes of damage accumulation that takes place during testing; Fe-based ultrasoft nanocrystalline ferromagnetic alloys using low carbon iron, electrolytic copper and commercial grade ferroalloys of boron, niobium and silicon; Evaluation and recommendation of corrosion resistance, mechanical properties and chemistry of steel bars for their suitability in different applications of Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd, Gandhinagar; Studies on retained austenite in life expired rotary slide valves (RSV) of R-25 aeroengine MiG 21 aircraft, which were involved in three Cat-I accidents at Jodhpur, Ambala and Jaisalmer; Mechanism and causes of damages in second stage nozzle guide vanes, HPTR and LPTR blades of R-27M-300 aeroengine for the Indian Air Force; Investigation of coupling shaft, bevel gears and copper plug of aeroengine; Study of magnesium oxide in collector of thermocouple (KT-2) for measuring the exhaust gas temperature of aeroengine.

    The technologies under development are: Zirconium diboride through SHS route; a process for the recovery of gallium from Bayer process liquor; an improved process for the production of high strength and high wear resistant Al-Fe-V-Si alloys; Neodymium iron boron permanent magnets; Nanocrystalline ferro magnetic alloys  ; Magnetic sensor for material characterisation; Biomimetic synthesis of nano sized hydrographite powder for bone grafting; Process for preparation of nanosized iron oxide by biomimetic route; Process for the preparation of hydoxyapatite by biomimetic route; Improved process for in-situ preparation of alumina (Ti-Zr) boride composites; Process for preparation of Fe-based ultrasoft nano crystalline ferro magnetic materials.


    • Radiation shielding windows which allow direct viewing into radioactive areas, ultra low expansion glass ceramic for space and air-borne systems, large size laser glass rod discs and radiophotoluminescent glass for atomic energy establishments, radiation resistant glass CCTV nuclear camera and glass based fertilizer
    • Erbium-doped fibre for optical amplifier, polarisation maintaining fibre for optical gyro, Bragg grating fibres for sensor applications and radiation sensitive fibre
    • Anti-reflective coating on radiation shielding window glasses and ophthalmic glasses, scratch resistant coating on plastic lenses, preparation of high purity silica glass, zirconia micro-spheres for plasma spraying and damage tolerant coating on laser glasses
    • Powders of non-oxide materials like silicon nitride, boron nitride, aluminium nitride, sialon etc., rocket thrusters of sintered silicon carbide and other high value components for use by defence, atomic energy and space
    • Ceramic membrane based water purification systems to remove arsenic and iron from sub-surface water
    • Technology for hip joint prosthesis and artificial eye balls
    • Tin-dioxide based semi-conductor sensors for detection of methane and carbon mono-oxide, SnO2 based compact semi-conductor LPG sensors, ceramic humidity sensor for application in nuclear industry and humidity meter based on thick film ferroelectric lead magnesium niobate is also being pursued


    • Prototype Ti-alloy fasteners on reduced scale
    • Oval shaped tubes as skid landing gear for Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH).
    • Carbon-ceramic composites by incorporating silicon and boron carbides in the NPL-developed green coke based carbon matrix
    • High thermal conductivity special graphite for first wall component of SST-1 Tokamak using the 'green coke' method of producing the high density graphite.
    • Carbon nanotubes using the dc arc discharge technique
    • Carbon-carbon composites using different reinforcements (chopped PAN and pitch based fibres) and matrices (coal tar pitch, modified coal tar pitch and mesophase pitch) for developing composites having high thermal conductivity (150-200W/mK)
    • Biosensors for glucose, cholesterol, uric acid, urea and l-lactate
    • Nanocrystalline polymers with a variety of dopings for fabrication of fast response polymer based solid states and sensing devices
    • Integration of polymeric thin films with porous n-type (100), 0.05 W cm resistivity double side polished silicon to fabricate microsensors for detection of microbial organisms such as E. coli
    • Highly specific and selective sensors with high sensitivity for detection of Aspergillus terreus etc.
    • Inorganic alloy thin films of ZnSe and ZnTe by sintering technique for photovoltaic applications
    • Certified Reference Materials (CRMs): Their use is a mandatory requirement for accreditation of the laboratories under ISO-9000, ISO/IEC-17025, etc. Twenty-four CMRs have been developed and the scope of the project has been enhanced to include pesticides and gases.


    • Technology for rare-earth based trichromatic phosphors for industrial use
    • Synthesis of semiconducting oxide powders of cadmium stannate for rechargeable batteries is in progress
    • Lanthanum nickelate mixed oxide powder useful in energy conversion systems like fuel cells using the sol-gel technique
    • Sensitive materials for plain paper copier using a combination of cadmium sulphide and cadmium selenide photoconductive coatings is in progress
      (More details in 'Chemicals' sector)


    • FRP gear case for locomotives, FRP oil vapour seal for hydro generators, packing ring for railways, brale pad, draft tube cone for hydro-turbine, brake drum for automobiles, refrax apex inserts for mines, ferrous shovel teeth, bush for sugar mills, thresher peg, harvester blade Duckfoot cultivator, ceramic glazes from toxic solid wastes generated by secondary zinc manufacturing industry, wood substitutes and flyash based bricks, concrete blocks and paints, R-wood (wood substitute for making doors, etc.)


    • 50 kW extended non-transferred arc plasma reactor for thermal plasma dissociation of zircon at rate of 10 kg/h to obtain over 90% degree of dissociation
    • Refractory grade zirconia by aqueous alkali leaching of plasma dissociated zircon (PDZ) to bring silica in solution
    • Zircon colour pigments
    • Zirconia toughened mullite
    • Titania rich slag by thermal plasma processing of ilmenite and pre-reduced ilmenite
    • Thermal plasma synthesis of fused WC, TiC, TiCN
    • Process development for magnesium aluminate spinels, hydration resistant lime, diamond coated silicon carbide and various carbonitrides. A process for preparation of stoichiometric magnesium aluminate composition spinel has been developed.


    • Polycoir/rubber wood hybrid as wood substitute
    • Strategically important metal matrix composites for aerospace applications, supramolecular self assembly of conjugated systems for opto electronics and photonics, non-linear optical polymers with high thermal and temporal stabilities, photo-response liquid crystals and solid state fluorescent materials.
    • High-volume fly ash building materials.

    Future Plans

    CSIR focus in the coming years will be continued to strive to develop novel world class materials and technologies to meet the emerging demands of the various sectors, be it chemical industry, healthcare, aerospace, defence, housing or any other. It has a vision to become Centre of Excellence in advanced materials such as nano materials, catalysts, ceramics, polymers, alloys and so on.