Tata Steel plans commercialization of advance material Graphene
Tata Steel is working on commercialization 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 graphene.”
Superlink+ has enhanced corrosion resistance and better bonding strength than other stirrups in the market. Tata Steel has filed seven patent applications in this area of work. Graphene can have a number of applications; we are searching for the right products, Gupta said.
A graphene 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 Nano and Soft Matter Sciences.
Gupta said that as long as graphene is used as a value-add in steel, Tata Steel could work on it. For other applications, it would have to approach other companies. For instance, graphene 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 graphene 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 graphene market is currently pegged at around Rs 80 crore.