HD/SP/022

Project Type: 
Sponsored Project
Project Name: 
Continue Preparation of Hafnium Sponge: Establishment of extended pilot plant facility for preparation of 320 kg per annum Hafnium sponge
Objective/Description: 
<p class="rtejustify"><span style="color:#0000ff;"><strong><u>First Indigenous Hafnium plant in India</u></strong></span></p> <p class="rtejustify">The first indigenous Hafnium (Hf) Plant in India with an annual production capacity of 320 Kg /annum of Hf metal sponge (with a project outlay of nearly Rs.230 million) has been established and commissioned at C-MET, Hyderabad laboratory with state of the art Control &amp; Instrumentation (C&amp;I) systems. Hafnium metal sponge is being regularly produced and given to end user for the development of high temperature alloys.&nbsp; As on date, the capacity planned fully meets the indigenous applications, however, the pilot plant capacity needs further expansion/ improvement for meeting the extended indigenous demand for cooling rods applications in the modern nuclear energy power plants. Worldwide hafnium finds applications in rocket nozzles &amp; thrusters, nuclear submarines, nuclear control rods and also striving to be a prominent candidate in electronic applications too. &nbsp;</p> <p class="rtejustify">&nbsp;</p> <p class="rtejustify">Hafnium sponge preparation project was initiated at laboratory scale R&amp;D&nbsp; in 2004 and gradually enhanced to pilot plant scale. After establishing the hafnium plant fully a Quality Control team of VSSC closely monitored the trial runs and certified the quality of the product suitable to their specifications. The extended pilot plant project was sanctioned to C-MET and MoU signed on 31<sup>st</sup> December 2009 based on the recommendations of a National level Peer Review Committee. &nbsp;Since hafnium and zirconium (Zr) are sister elements available in in zircon sand ore, separation of Zr from Hf was a challenge. The other adopted processes for this include calcination, carbo-chlorination, Kroll reduction and separation of magnesium (in vapour phase) &amp; magnesium (Mg) chloride from Hf sponge at high temperature &amp; vacuum conditions. Hf &nbsp;sponge is also pyrophoric in nature.&nbsp; The safety precautions include, the handling of pyrophoric nature of the end product as well as the flammable input gases and raw materials.&nbsp; Safety Audit of the total plant was carried out by External Safety Expert and all suggestions were incorporated, accordingly.</p> <p class="rtejustify">&nbsp;</p> <p class="rtejustify">Hafnium oxide is also a future electronic material with a dielectric constant of 25 and it is used as gate material in modern electronic devices. In addition, literature show that HfCo alloy is likely to be a competitor for AlNiCO magnets in the energy product and also can replace the most expensive Rare earths (REs) permanent magnets predominantly used in large quantities in wind energy and allied applications. C-MET is well recognized for developing such a premium technology at pilot plant scale and it adds a feather in the cap in the indigenization program, as well as it acts as a &nbsp;source to reach new era of electronic materials technology.</p> <p class="rtejustify">&nbsp;</p> <p class="rtejustify">&nbsp;Briefly, hafnium metal is developed indigenously, using indigenous input raw material and it meets fully indigenous demand (if not exports at this stage), country need not depend on expensive imports for such a rare metal. The entire process is developed with locally available designs, drawings, skills, etc which circumvents the expensive imported equipment and their maintenance, there after.</p> <p class="rtejustify">&nbsp;</p> <p class="rtejustify">In recognition of the indigenization of the above mentioned Chemicals &amp; Materials for space applications,<strong> <strong>Indian Chemical Council </strong></strong>is pleased to confer the<strong> ICC Acharya P.C. Ray award for development of indigenous technology</strong> for the year 2014 on<strong> <strong>Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, ISRO</strong>, </strong>Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala along with Centre for Materials for Electronics Technology.</p> <p class="rtejustify">&nbsp;</p>
Sponsored by: 
VSSC (ISRO, Govt. of India)
Project Cost: 
2591.14 lakhs
Project Location: 
Hyderabad Laboratory
Project Status: 
Ongoing