In IMF Division there are five R&D activities, Electroforming, Electroless Plating, Deposition & electro polishing of metals & alloys from Low Temperature Molten Salt (LTMS) electrolyte, AC anodizing and electrochemical materials for solar thermal energy conversion.
IMF Division has expertise on electroforming of larger size materials like Cryogenic Rocket engine thrust chambers C1, C12, C20, steering engines, linear accelerators, waveguides, hologram, nickel crucible, molds and dies. Now we are planning to do electroforming of micro level components like micro bellows, electro joining of micro bellows, microchip or lab on chip, micro electro mechanical systems (MEMS) and microwave components.
Micro bellows: Micro bellows are normally required in Defence organizations. Electroforming of micro bellows along with electro joining is required by DRDO. In this regard we have electronic communications with the scientists of DRDO.
Microchip or lab on chip: We are planning to do electroforming of micro fluid chip or Lab on chip which is an emerging area in biomedical applications.
Micro electro mechanical systems (MEMS): We are planning to do MEMS which is the technology of very small mechanical devices driven by electricity and it merges at the nano-scale into nano electro mechanical systems (NEMS). It has great scope in future.
Microwave components: In the XIIth Five year plan we have submitted a project proposal along with EMFT Division on electro plating, electro polishing and electroforming of micro wave components to CEERI, Pilani.
Intelligent coating – Thermal barrier coatings: Thermal barrier coatings typically consist of four layers: the metal substrate, metallic bond coat, thermally grown oxide, and ceramic topcoat. They are highly advanced material systems usually applied to metallic surfaces, such as gas turbine or aero-engine parts, operating at elevated temperatures. In the XIIth Five year plan a project proposal on this has been submitted
2 Electroless plating
IMF Division has done several projects, technical and consultancy services to various Indian industries. Some of them are: Electroless nickel on Beryllium rings and discs for space mirrors, on textile aluminum drums, on AlSiC metal matrix composites for LASER mirror, on marraging steel LCA components for ADA, on Plunger cam for oil pump, on alumina ceramic rods for electronic resistors, on mild steel caps for electronic resistors, on synthetic diamond particles of 200 micron for diamond tipped toolsand development of electroless composites. At present we are doing two major projects on electroless nickel on Titanium and stainless steel alloy components for ADA. We are also planning to develop eco friendlyelectroless nickel plating bath. In this regard a project proposal on “Studies on biodegradable long life electroless nickel bath for engineering applications” has been submitted to DST.
3.Electrochemical materials for solar thermal energy conversion
IMF Division has done some works on the development of selective black coatings, polishing of Al and SS for solar thermal applications. We had fabricated some gadgets using selective coatings and studied their performance. We are planning to do cost effective and eco friendly selective coatings development for solar thermal applications. Studies also have to be carried out on the development of selective coating using modulated current like pulse to have better solar properties. Similarly electro polishing of Al and SS under pulse mode will have some improved performance on solar reflectivity and service life. In this regard a project proposal on electrochemical materials for solar thermal energy has been submitted to MNRE.
4.Deposition& electro polishing of metals and alloys from LTMS electrolyte
LTMS / ionic liquids are promising one in electroplating and metal finishing. Using Imidazole as the base chemical for LTMS studies have been carried out on Zinc plating. It produces very finer grained zinc deposits than deposit produced from the bath containing organic additive or deposit produced using pulse current. Recently we have made an attempt to deposit Zn-Al alloy from LTMS electrolyte using Imidazole, zinc chloride and aluminium chloride. Zinc deposit containing 0.6-0.7% aluminium was produced from LTMS based on imidazole at 800C. Further works are in progress. We are also planning to do electro polishing of ferrous and non ferrous metals from LTMS electrolyte. In this regard a project proposal has been prepared and submitted to DST.
5.AC anodizing of Aluminium
AC anodizing is simple without much investment on rectifier as do with DC anodizing. We did some work on AC anodizing and colouring of anodized Al by electroless method. We are planning to do AC anodizing in the simple electrolyte with various metallic and organic additives to find out the structure and topography of the anodic film and to do micro or nano screen development.