Friday, January 8, 2010

Seventh International High Energy Materials Conference & Exhibition

“Seventh International High Energy Materials Conference & Exhibit (HEMCE-2009)” was inaugurated at Dr. A.P. J. Abdul Kalam Golden Jubilee Auditorium at Pashan on 9th Dec 2009 by Padma Shree Dr. V.K. Saraswat, Scientific Advisor to Raksha Mantri & Secretary, Department of Defence R & D and DG R&D who was the Chief Guest. The biennial conference was organized by High Energy Materials Research Laboratory (HEMRL), Pune under the auspices of High Energy Materials Society of India (HEMSI). Dr. V.K. Saraswat, Chief Guest, in his inaugural speech stressed upon the need for developing systems like Rocket motors and warheads using high energy materials which are smaller in size, lower in weight and more effective. He said we need to put more efforts on miniaturization, production, quality control, packaging and systems integration. He also encouraged research on high energy dense and energetic materials. He also mentioned the futuristic Octanitro Cubane, Poly Nitrogen based systems and Insensitive Ammunition. He stressed the need for thermobaric warheads including FAEs which are effective in driving out terrorists from caves. He also laid down today’s requirements of smaller size rockets in large numbers which necessities improvements in the manufacturing process and also emphasized R & D in Nanomaterials for micro miniaturisation. During his speech he sensitized the audience on the need to pay attention on development of eco-friendly high energy materials such as propellants with the help of green chemistry considering the global warming scenario. He underlined that in view of the graduation from ramjet to scramjet technologies for applications like trans-atmospheric travel, the need to identify non-polluting high speed propellants have become very essential. Lastly congratulating HEMRL for the path breaking research carried out by the laboratory in the field of High Energy Materials in the last two decades he appealed to the HEM community and HEMSI to come out with contemporary and world class missiles, warheads and explosives.

Dr. S. Sivaram, Director, NCL, Pune , the Guest of Honour at the outset brought out the changing definition of the enemy and warned that the enemy can be our own neighbour. In this scenario there is a need for a different strategy as well as different technologies and tools to protect ourselves. In view of the their fast diffusion we need to bring in technologies that cannot be duplicated and manufactured easily. Almost all chemical processes of today are easy to duplicate and involve very low investments, low cost and do not require any complex industrial processes. He also informed the audience about the contradictory demands on defence technologies for conventional and modern low intensity warfare. Hence there has to be a confluence of IT and communication technologies, sensor technology and HEM technology.

Speaking on this occasion, Shri S. Sundaresh, Distinguished Scientist and Chief Controller of R & D (Armament & Combat Engineering) said that there has been phenomenal growth in research for HEMs in terms of high burn rates and high energetics. He said that nano materials can provide an answer to such systems. He also talked of new technologies such as laser assisted ignition, processing technologies and IED detection technology. He also raised the issues of safety, storage and green technologies for the HEMs. He said this will help in raising the confidence level of our soldier.

Earlier Dr. A. Subhananda Rao, Distinguished Scientist & Director, HEMRL, who is the President of HEMSI and Chairman of organizing Committee of HEMCE-2009, welcomed the Guests and delegates. In his welcome address Dr. Rao brought out the innumerable developments of paramount significance taken place in the field of high energy materials all over the globe and also in India. HEMRL has done significant progress in this area and their scale up is being pursued. In the area of gun propellants, HEMRL developed technologies have been transferred to Ordnance Factories to provide fire power for field guns and tank ammunition. He also said that the characterization and synthesis of high density energetic materials and development of explosive and propellant based on them to realize high power potential systems are the need of the hour. He also underlined that Insensitive munitions is the requirement of present day warfare. He also brought out the relevance of semi conductor based initiation and EMI/EMC issues. He talked about Explosive Detection kit that is developed by HEMRL which is being used by police, BSF and army and found to be very useful in finding out from traces the type of explosives used. This attracted lot of interest from Industry to productionise it. Dr Shubananda Rao then went on to introduce the chief guest Dr VK Saraswat and his major contributions in the country’s missile development programme as well as the Ballistic Missile Defence initiative. He stressed on the contribution of Dr Saraswat in the areas of advanced technologies like ring laser gyros, fibre optic gyros , actuators and MEMs based sensors.

Dr. S.N. Asthana, General Secretary of the society and Vice Chairman of the HEMCE-2009 during his speech briefed about the paradigm shift in the focus of research from powerful to insensitive explosives and brought that objective of the society is to deliberate upon recent developments in the thrust area during the conference. About 100 papers are going to be presented orally and 150 papers will be displayed in poster session during this two days conference.

On this occasion, five eminent scientists – two from India viz. Mr. P.G. Shrotri and Dr. K.N. Ninan and three from abroad viz. Dr. C. Rao Surapaneni from USA, Mr. Moshe Gill from Israel and Dr. G. Tolmachev from Russia were honoured by conferring on them the Honorary Fellowship of the Society for their outstanding contributions in the field of HEMs. Prof. S.R. Chakravarty from IIT, Chennai and Dr. A.K. Sikder, Scientist ‘F’ from HEMRL, Pune were awarded the Dalmia-ACRHEM-HEMSI awards for their most significant contributions in the field of high energy materials. The award consists of certificates and cash prize of Rs. 50,000/- to each. Recently , HEMRL has celebrated it’s Centenary in a befitting manner by conducting seminars, workshops, invited lectures and bringing out the achievements of HEMRL in the form Centenary book . Hence to commemorate the centenary year on the occasion of HEMCE-2009, the HEMRL Centenary Award was conferred on Dr. Radhakrishnan Nair, Scientist ‘G’ of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Thiruvanantpuram for his most significant contributions towards indigenous development of HTPB binders and solid propellants for ISRO missions.

More than 500 delegates were present at the event including 32 renowned high energy materials experts from seven countries like US, UK, Russia, France, Israel, China and Malaysia were present on this occasion.

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