IIT-BHU scientists develop nickel-free steel

By, Varanasi
Jul 02, 2021 12:37 AM IST

: Scientists at the department of metallurgical engineering at Indian Institute of Technology (Banaras Hindu University) have succeeded in producing nickel-free surgical grade stainless steel

: Scientists at the department of metallurgical engineering at Indian Institute of Technology (Banaras Hindu University) have succeeded in producing nickel-free surgical grade stainless steel. This metal is cheaper and much safer than stainless steel that contains titanium, cobalt-chromium and ‘nickel’ and was being used in organ transplantation in the human body.

HT Image
HT Image

“The common side effects of nickel are fatigue, swelling and skin allergy. In some circumstances, there may also be a risk of developing lung, heart and kidney disease. Due to rusting of metal inside the body, ‘nickel’ also starts coming out along with various elements. Its dissolving capacity can be as high as 20 milligrams per kilogram, which is very dangerous. Keeping all these things in mind, it became necessary to invent a cheap and effective metal in which nickel is negligible and it does not have any side effects in the body, said Dr Girija Shankar Mahobia, associate professor, metallurgical engineering.

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Lighter in weight, double in strength

“It does not stick to magnets. The strength of the new metal is twice that of the metal currently in use, which will reduce the weight of the equipment by half. Due to its adaptability to the body, it can also be used to make heart related devices like stents, pacemakers, valves etc. The new metal has absolutely no impurities, due to which its anti-fatigue properties are very good,” said Dr Girija Shankar adding that the above works were another step of IIT (BHU) towards Aatm-Nirbhar Bharat. A patent has been filed for this in April 2020, he said.

Research approved in 2016

Dr Mahobia said that in 2015 he submitted a project to the ministry of steel to make a nickel-free metal. It was given green signal in January 2016. The ministry of steel provided a fund of 284 lakh for three years. A corrosion fatigue research lab was set up in the Metallurgical Department. The project team involved experts from IIT-BHU, Institute of Medical Sciences, BHU, National Center for Cytology, Puna, Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute of Medical Sciences and Technology Trivandrum, Mishra Dhatu Nigam Limited-Hyderabad and Jindal Stainless Limited-Hisar .

Role of experts in completing research

Principal investigator Dr GS Mahobia and Dr OP Sinha designed the chemical composition of the new metal and got it produced at Mishr Dhatu Nigam Limited-Hyderabad. Nitrogen and manganese were added to the new metal by removing the nickel. Also, other components such as chromium and molybdenum are mixed in a favorable ratio. Due to this, the mechanical properties and anti-corrosion properties of the metal are higher than those of the currently used stainless steel. Professor Vakil Singh contributed as an advisor to the entire project.

Professor Amit Rastogi of the Institute of Medical Sciences, BHU, conducted detailed testing of the new metal on rabbits and found that the new metal is absolutely safe.

Director, IIT-BHU Professor Pramod Kumar Jain said, “For use of any new metal in the body, permission has to be taken from CDSCO, Government of India, its usefulness will have to be proved on human trials at different levels.”

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