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Tata Steel eyes commercialisation of advanced material graphene

The company has launched ready-made graphene-coated stirrups, named Tiscon Superlinks+

Ishita Ayan Dutt  |  Kolkata 

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is working on commercialisation of graphene, an advanced material and considered to be a superb conductor. The first product is in the market.

The company has launched ready-made graphene-coated stirrups, named Tiscon Superlinks+.

Peeyush Gupta, vice-president (steel & marketing), said when four columns are built, the support link is normally supplied by a local mason, which is made of steel. "But, it usually rusts. We have changed that by coating it with "

has enhanced corrosion resistance and better bonding strength than other stirrups in the market. has filed seven patent applications in this area of work. can have a number of applications; we are searching for the right products, Gupta said.

A development cell has been set up at Jamshedpur to identify applications and establish new businesses (production units, supply chain and markets). Two advanced material research centres of excellence have been established. One is at Chennai, in collaboration with the Indian Institute of Technology there. The other is at Bengaluru, with the Centre for and Soft Matter Sciences.

is believed to be the world's first two-dimensional material. It is ultra-light, 200 times stronger than steel and yet incredibly flexible. It is a superb conductor and can act as a perfect barrier; it is also transparent. research is focused on applications in energy, membranes, composites and coatings, biomedical, sensors and electronics.

Gupta said that as long as is used as a value-add in steel, could work on it. For other applications, it would have to approach other For instance, could be supplied to the glass industry. If coated with graphene, it will not fog at the centre. At the same time, it's colourless.

An application would have to make economic sense. The lowest kind of is priced at around Rs 100 a gramme; the high-end is around Rs 5,000 a gm.

According to Tata Steel's latest annual report, the Indian market is currently pegged at around Rs 80 crore.

Apart from graphene, has got a patent for another product, iron powder. Gupta said, "Kellogg's uses iron powder to feed in cornflakes, pharma use it, health departments use it for building iron potency, among many of its applications."

The good quality iron powder is imported into the country. "We can make better quality iron powder. We are now approaching We have just moved from research and development to lab. Then, we will set up a commercial plant," he said.

It would, he felt, be a relatively easier territory to break into. "Unlike graphene, people have been using iron powder."

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