Dr Ramaprabhu’s team of research scholars have come out with a nano-lubricant which is capable of bringing down operational cost
In spite of the intellectual and physical havoc caused by the Ambedkar-Periyar Study Centre activists in the campus in the name of beef festival and anti-Hindu propaganda , scientists of the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras and National Thermal Power Corporation Ltd, have succeeded in developing a path-breaking and innovative material capable of rejuvenating considerably the country’s Gross Domestic Product.
Traditional lubrication oil helps in minimising the friction between components and bring down the temperature, power consumption, wear and tear
“This innovation will help us to minimise the wear and tear as well as damages caused by components of the machines,” said Dr Sundara Ramaprabhu, Head, Alternative Energy & Nanotechnology Lab, IIT-Madras who led the team of research scholars in the three-year-long research.
Dr Ramaprabhu’s team of research scholars have come out with a nano-lubricant which is capable of minimising the wear and tear of machine components and bring down the operational expenses in the engineering industry.
Engineering industry uses lubrication oil to reduce friction between machinery components. Traditional lubrication oil helps in minimising the friction between components and bring down the temperature, power consumption, wear and tear. But a large quantity of oil had to be used for the purpose and the same has to be changed frequently and replenished with the fresh lot.
The NTPC officials in their efforts to bring down the operational expenses and reduce the number of days lost because of the plant shutdown approached Dr Ramaprabhu for possible help and guidance. This resulted in Dr Ramaprabhu and his team of researchers developing a nano-lubricant oil, the first of its kind anywhere in India. The oil which boasts of suspended nanoparticles ( main graphene) increases the longevity of the oil and strengthens its physical and chemical properties.
The nanoparticles were made out of graphene oxide and the nano-lubricant was termed as “nitrogen-doped reduced graphene oxide”. “The result we got with nano-lubricant was a pleasant surprise. The coefficient of friction as well the wear and tear got reduced by 20 percent. The operational temperature fell by 15 percent when the nano-lubricant was deployed in the Induced Draft Fan, the most crucial component in a power generator,” explained Dr Ramaprabhu.
Nano –lubricants may soon replace all kind of lubrication oils in various engineering applications like motor vehicle engines and other mechanical systems
The country loses 4 percent of its GDP every year because of corrosion, wear and tear, according to Baldev Raj, former director, Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR), Chennai.
Velayudhan Pillai Jayan, deputy general manager (research and development) NTPC, who worked with Dr Ramaprabhu, said that it was a dream come true. “We are using nano material in a power generation unit for the first time. The results were simply superb. The operational temperature came down drastically. The wear and tear got reduced and the longevity of the engineering components was considerably increased,” said Jayan.
The IDF is the component which sucks out the coal-burnt gas from the boiler of the power unit. “The energy consumption level of the IDF showed remarkable reduction when we used this nano-lubricant oil in place of the routine oil. If this nano-lubricant is deployed in all the 71 units of the NTPC, the operational costs would come down by Rs 40 crore per year,” said Dr Ramaprabhu.
Rashmi Shinde, a physicist who is a member of the team which developed nano lubricant said this was the tip of the iceberg. “We can deploy nano-lubricant oil in all systems which use lubricants. The composition may need some alterations,” said Rashmi. Nisha Ranjan, a Ph D scholar will continue the research project for new nano lubricants.
Nano –lubricants may soon replace all kind of lubrication oils in various engineering applications like motor vehicle engines and other mechanical systems. “This is an ongoing research. Right now we have developed nano-lubricants for power generators. More such products are on the anvil,” explained Dr Sundara Ramaprabhu, who had developed nanomaterials for treating effluent water and purifying polluted river waters. He has with him the solution for cleaning the polluted waters of Ganga.
1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.