Strategic role of Functional materials for energy saving applications (17/10/23)

Speaker and Affliation:

Dr R Gopalan
Regional Director, International Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy and New Materials (ARCI)
Department of Science & Technology(DST), Government of India


17th October, 2023 (Tuesday), 03.45 PM (India Standard Time)


K I Vasu Auditorium, Dept. of Materials Engineering, IISc, Bangalore

Biographical sketch:

Dr R Gopalan is working as Regional Director at International Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy and New Materials (ARCI), Department of Science & Technology(DST), Government of India. He is heading the Project Centres of ARCI at IIT Madras Research Park, Chennai for Alternative Energy Materials and Systems. He is also holding Adjunct Professor position at Department of Metallurgical & Materials Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology(Madras), Chennai. He obtained his Master’s degree in Physics (1983) from Madurai Kamaraj University, Madurai, M. Tech in Materials Technology (1985) from Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi and Ph.D in Physics (1996) from IIT(Madras), Chennai. In 1985 he joined as Scientist, at Defence Metallurgical Research Laboratory (DMRL,), Hyderabad and worked on various levels for National Mission (DRDO & ISRO) Projects for more than 22 years. He had a Research stay for nearly 5 years as Visiting Scientist at National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS), Japan during 2003-2010. After returned from Japan in 2010 he joined ARCI and established a new Project Centre on Automotive Energy Materials at IITM-Research Park, Chennai. He is coordinating major programmes at ARCI on Li-ion battery for Electric Vehicle (EV) applications, Magnets for Automotive applications, Fuel cells for energy storage & conversion and thermoelectric materials for waste heat management in a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) mode. His dynamic approach in setting up the state-of the art facilities under mission mode has led to a Mega Project from DST on establishing a Technical Research Centre on Alternative Energy Materials & Systems focusing on energy storage (batteries), energy conversion and recovery (magnets and thermoelectric technology) and energy generation (solar, fuel cell) . He has published more than 160 papers in refereed international / national journals and has 6 patents to his professional credit. He has guided or guiding the Ph.D work of many of his colleagues / students at ARCI and IITs / NITs. For his outstanding academic, research and technology development contributions over the years, Dr. Gopalan has received many awards and a few of them are: Best Ph.D thesis award at IIT(M) Chennai in 1996, National Science Day Medal Award at DMRL (DRDO) in 2006 and Technology Award at DMRL in 2008, Best Metallurgist of the year award in 2013 from Ministry of Steel, Govt. of India, Materials Research Society of India Medal Award, 2014, National Award for Excellence in Science and Technology 2017 from Indian Society of Analytical Scientists. Dr Gopalan is member of many of the Scientific Bodies / Programme Committees in India and Abroad. He is also a Elected fellow of Indian National Academy of Engineering (INAE), Telangana Academy of Sciences and , Academy of Sciences Chennai.


Functional Materials having physical or electrochemical properties characteristics of magnetic, thermoelectric, battery, Magneto -caloric are some of the key materials for energy saving in automotive, aerospace and power sectors. Current research on functional materials demonstrates that well defined process- microstructure-chemistry map strategy is required to establish the Materials Technology. In this context, it is worth to discuss about the fundamentals of these materials and taking into their technology aspects and applications. In the case of magnetic materials soft and rare earth permanent magnets keep their research live because of their need sustainable transport, The research in soft magnetism is primarily focussing on developing new alloys with high saturation induction and low core loss which can surpass the properties of conventional Si-steel used for motor applications. On the other hand rare rare earth based magnets such SmCo and Nd-Fe-B hard magnets are indispensable in strategic and modern industry needs. In recent times, the progress in Li-ion battery technology, especially among the electrode materials for high charge / discharge capabilities, is a great boom to Electric Vehicle / Hybrid electric vehicle sectors. The exploration of high-performance thermoelectric materials (TE) has attracted great attention from both an academic research perspective and with a view to industrial applications. Process and chemistry strategy is very important in developing TE materials with a high dimensionless figure of merits (ZT).I will give a few lectures focussing in detail on basics of the above materials, their processing and tuning of the functional properties for sustainable energy applications. Specifically, the impact of some of these materials on electric / hybrid vehicles technologies and on other energy saving applications will be discussed