With India setting its sights on a manned space mission, the city-based Mishra Dhatu Nigam Ltd. (Midhani), a Mini Ratna company, has geared up to meet Indian Space Research Organisation’s requirements. It has started upgrading facilities and critical materials required for the spacecraft.

Intensive characterisation and vigorous testing of the heat-resistant cobalt super alloys to withstand elevated temperatures of up to 350 degree C were being carried out. The super alloys would be used in the exhaust cones of the spacecraft.

The facilities were being upgraded to increase the production of the materials, the company’s Chairman and Managing Director, M. Narayana Rao, told The Hindu here. The company had supplied super and titanium alloys for the Moon Impact Probe of Chandrayaan-1.

Midhani has also chalked out a plan to increase production of the critical materials required for the three-stage nuclear power programme, space and defence sectors by adopting a two-pronged strategy of expanding indigenous capability and reducing vulnerability to imported equipment.

After supplying about 400 tonnes of special steel to each of the 235 MWe (PHWR) nuclear reactors in the first stage, Midhani commenced production of ‘Superfer 800 L’ ( iron-based super alloy) for the steam generation tubes in the first stage reactors and core steel for use in Fast Breeder Reactors in the second stage. Besides Midhani, only two other companies in the world — an Italian and a French — are producing ‘Superfer 800 L.’

Mr. Rao said plans were afoot to produce materials for the Fusion Reactor of International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER). He said the company also developed special steel of ultra-high strength for use in rocket motor casings of Agni, Akash and Prithvi missiles.

A handful of countries are producing this steel. But the one produced by Midhani had higher fracture toughness, he claimed. The company also supplied super alloys, titanium steels for aero-engines and aircraft components, among others, for Light Combat Aircraft, naval applications and the armour of the Arjun Tank.

As part of meeting another major demand for defence and space applications, Midhani is setting up a Rs.400-crore ‘Hot Plate Mill’ for rolling of wide plates.

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