IIT Madras Hosts High Energy Materials Conference and Exhibit (HEMCE 2019)

Chennai: Indian Institute of Technology Madras is hosting the High Energy Materials Conference and Exhibit (HEMCE 2019) from 16th to 18th December 2019 in collaboration with Satish Dhawan Space Centre, SHAR, and High Energy Materials Society of India (HEMSI). The conference is a forum for specialists in high energy materials from all over the world to present the latest progress and developments in the field.

HEMSI is a pioneering society committed to the cause of development of the High Energy Materials like rocket propellants, explosives and pyrotechnics. The society has an active membership of more than 1000 scientists, technologists and academicians.

Delivering the Inaugural Address on Monday (16th December 2019), His Excellency Shri Banwarilal Purohit, Governor of Tamil Nadu, who was the Chief Guest, said, “This is an important gathering of our scientific fraternity to foster research and innovations. India, with its sensitive neighbourhood, requires high energy materials such as propellants and explosives to drive national security and technological and scientific prowess. The SHAR Space Centre at Sriharikota is now well known throughout the world thanks to the work of the scientists. These Conference enables constructive collaboration between scientists across the world and help keep upto date with latest advancements in the field.”

Further, His Excellency Shri Banwarilal Purohit added, “IIT Madras has been in the forefront of research in high energy materials for three decades. It has set up advanced testing facility in the campus and we are proud of the work it has done in this field. This conference will provide a great opportunity for young minds to interact with legends in the field. The exhibition being held as part of the conference will feature many technologies developed by Indian scientists.”

HEMSI organizes international conference-cum-exhibition once in two years with the participation of around 500 delegates from India and abroad. This year, it is being held at IIT Madras.

Addressing the Conference, Shri M.S.R. Prasad, Director General, Missile and Strategic systems, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), said, “DRDO has been actively working in high energy materials for missiles and armament materials. It involves a lot of effort to develop different types of propellants for different types of missiles. HMRL, Pune, has put in a lot of R&D to develop smoke-less, and other type of propellants besides propellants for ramjet technology, which is going to be a game-changer for air launch systems. It is for the industry to ensure quality raw materials are applied so that there is high quality in propellants. Focussed R&D has to be carried in this field and DRDO has set up Centres of Excellences in various institutions including IIT Madras and IIT Bombay.”

An Armament Display along with an Industry Meet was also organized on 16th December 2019 with leaders from propellant and explosive industry had a discussion with end users of Armed forces (Lt. Gen. S S Hasbanis, PVSM, VSM, ADC) on how to take the Indian Propellant and Explosive industry forward.

Speaking later, Shri. A. Rajarajan, Director, Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC), ISRO, said, “Around 60 to 70 per cent of the fuels for rockets that leave the atmosphere is spent in the first 80 km to escape earth’s gravity. We have reached a fair amount of efficiency in solid propellants and are among the leading nations in the world. The SDSC is the largest producer of solid propellants in the country, producing nearly 2,000 tonnes. We are glad to know that industries are coming forward to work in this field. I will convey my gratitude to IIT Madras, as the SDSC has benefitted from collaboration with its faculty. We have to develop green fuels and I wish for the conference to look into this area.”

Shri V. Ranganathan, Chairman, Organizing Committee, HEMCE 2019, delivered the welcome address. Prof Bhaskar Ramamurthi, Director, IIT Madras, also unveiled a souvenir for HEMCE 2019. Shri. A. Rajarajan released a CD containing the proceedings of this Conference.

Delivering the Inaugural Address, Prof Bhaskar Ramamurthi, Director, IIT Madras, said, “It is not common for an educational institution to undertake research in high energy materials. IIT Madras is among the only few higher education institutions in India to have a research group in this are as this is a very specialized area.”

Shri. KPS Murthy, Director, High Energy Materials Research Laboratory (HEMRL), DRDO, said, “Since several centuries, high energy materials have played an important role in progress of the society. Today, a revolution in defence is underway. While advances in communications and technology have enhanced combat efficiency, it is the advances in high energy materials that have dictated advances in battlefield. The theme of this conference is to explore the innate potential of high energy materials. As we strive for progress, we should also development green and environment-friendly materials. High energy materials have been applied to many programs of defence and space sectors. The production of high energy materials are no longer the monopoly of the Government with private sectors also setting up huge facilities for the same.”