CSIR-National Physical Laboratory

सीएसआईआर-राष्ट्रीय भौतिक प्रयोगशाला

Advanced Carbon Products & Metrology

The advanced carbon products and metrology group is leading centre of India engaged in carrying out R&D in the area of advanced carbon materials, magnetic materials and thermoelectric materials  catering to the need of the country in the Industrial, Health, Energy as well as Strategic sectors like Defense, Aerospace and Nuclear power.


1. Carbon Materials for Energy generation and storage application

  • Porous carbon paper
  • Graphite based bipolar plate
  • Carbon based thermoelectric materials
  • Carbon materials for supercapacitor applications.

2. Carbon Nanomaterials

  • Carbon nanotubes for polymer nanocomposite, light weight ballistic materials, CNT based flexible electrode materials, CNT based Bucky paper, strain sensing, CNT based thermoelectrics, CNT synthesis by CVD, CNT fibre/yarn by forrest spinning and aerogel spinning.
  • Graphene: Single crystal graphene growth. Synthesis of AB stacked and twisted bilayer graphene

3. Conventional Carbon

  • Coal tar pitch
  • Conversion of biomass to biocoal
  • Activated carbon from biomas

4. Carbon fibre composite for sports and other structural applications
5. Carbon fibre from coal tar pitch
6. Development of thermoelectric materials
7. Nanolithography and Nanodevice fabrication Additive manufacturing

  1. Production of Carbon Fibers from Coal Resin, 01-04-2020 to 31-03-2022, Mission mode project of CSIR “Bulk Chemicals”.
  2. Direct synthesis of carbon nanotube Yarn from chemical vapour deposition, Young scientist award Project 2017-2022
  3. Conversion of waste biomass (crop stubble) and municipal solid waste (MSW) into biochar by torrefaction as useful raw material for co-firing in thermal power plant, 2018-2021, funded by NTPC
  4. Development of light weight archery recurve bow limb using carbon fiber polymer composite, 06-09-2018 to 04-12-2020 funded by MSME
  5. Characterization of coal tars, their conversion in to pitch and zero QI pitch and characterization of different qualities of pitches properties, 14-06-2018 to 30-09-2019, funded by Tata Steel Pvt. Ltd., Jamshedpur.
  6. Feasibilities study on value added carbon products from coal tar, 03-02-2017 to 02-02-2018, funded by Tata Steel Pvt. Ltd., Jamshedpur.
  7. Development of high density isotropic nuclear grade graphite, 23-05-2017 to 22-05-2019, Funded by BARC.
  8. Establishing centre for ballistic material testing and MWCNTs based armour materials (Mission project)
  9. Quantum dot embedded Porous Silicon templates for optical detection
  10. Additive Manufacturing of Polymer Carbon composite materials
  11. High-performance thermoelectric materials for high-temperature applications
  12. Earth-abundant, non-toxic Silicides-based thermoelectric materials for mid-temperature energy generation applications
  13. Stable thermoelectric materials for low and Mid Temperature energy generation applications
  14. Development of Half-Heusler based and CoSb3 based Thermoelectric Materials
  1. Coal Tar Pitch based Carbon Fibers Carbon fibers are important class of materials having superior properties than steel and aluminium and one forth of density than that of steel. It is used in number demanding applications due to its outstanding properties such high strength, High stiffness, High tensile strength, Low weight, High chemical resistance, High temperature tolerance, Low thermal expansion etc. There are two type of precursor of carbon fibers i.e. Poyacrilonitrile (PAN) and coal tar pitch. The cost of PAN precursor is 50% to that of carbon fiber cost. On the other hand coal tar pitch is low cost carbon precursor. Coal tar pitch is a complex mixture of phenols, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and hetero cyclic compounds and contains more than 80% carbon (PAN contains only 68% carbon) and its composition varies with the source of coal tar and the processing conditions. The coal tar pitch as precursor for carbon fiber manufacturing has advantages of low material cost, higher char yield, higher degree of orientation as compared to PAN. The coal tar pitch derived from coal tar is isotropic and by evaporating low molecular weight fractions from the coal tar pitch, derived isotropic pitch can be melt spun into low cost general purpose (low strength and low modulus) carbon fibers. To produce high performance fibers, anisotropic mesophase pitch is required. Mesophase pitch contains an appreciable amount of anisotropic phase or liquid crystalline phase and an isotropic phase. The technology for making suitable spinnable mesophase pitches and further processing for production of carbon fibers therefrom is quite complex. Therefore, it is essential to develop of mesophase pitches indigenously (from coal-tar precursors) for production of carbon fibers therefrom in the country. In this direction NPL is working on the development of isotropic and mesophase pitch precursor for carbon fiber production in batch scale to cater need of country.
  2. Biomass Waste to Biocoal for Co-firing in Thermal Power Plant India is an agriculture-based country and it generates a lot of waste biomass from different sources. To dispose of it, generally, it is burned in the field as well as in forest land which creates a lot of environmental and socio-economic problems to humanity. Biomass is an environmental friendly energy source that has different advantages such as carbon neutrality, renewability, less sulfur, and huge availability within a small period (agriculture waste, municipal solid waste, and forestry waste). It is possible to reduce the overall greenhouse gas emission of an existing thermal plant by using agricultural biomass. However, there are inherent problems of agriculture waste biomasses compared to sub-bituminous coal fossil fuel resources, i.e., low bulk density, high moisture content, hydrophilic nature, and low calorific value, render it difficult to use on a large scale . These attributes greatly impact logistics and final energy efficiency. In order to reduce these inherent problems of biomass, it requires some form of pre-treatment, pre-treatment helps to alter biomass physical and chemical properties. Among the different techniques, torrefaction is simple process. Torrefaction is a slow pyrolysis process carried out at low temperatures, within a temperature range of 200–300°C in protective atmosphere. The torrefaction of biomass can not only solve the problem of open field burning but also torrefied biomass can be utilized in the co-firing with coal in the thermal power plants. NPL is working on this aspect and established torrefaction process pilot plant to carry out the torrefaction of different types of biomass and torrefied biomass having properties equivalent to sub bituminous coal which is used in the thermal power plant.
  3. Electrospun Carbon Nanofibers Flexible Mat for Super capacitor Applications With depletion as well as continues use of traditional energy sources (fossil fuels), there is need to decreases carbon emission from earth environment to mitigate the problem associate with global warming. Therefore there is abrupt need of renewable energy sources for generation and efficient storage devices. Among various energy storage devices super capacitors have shown a strong potential due to their high-power density, superior cycling stability with the rapid charge-discharge rate. However, this technology faces some challenging issues like lower energy density and expensive fabrication process, due to which it has limited real-time applications in the field. Therefore, it is always desirable to enhance the energy density of super capacitors either by employing high-performance electrode materials and/or to use an electrolyte a wider operating potential window. NPL is working on the development of free standing flexible electrospun biopolymer based nanofiber electrode. Electrospun derived carbon nanofibers (CNFs) based free-standing mats as an electrode for super capacitors applications gain attention due to its unique three-dimensional network structure, good electrical conductivity, abundant porous structure, cost-effective and facile fabrication process.
  4. Development of Carbon Fiber Polymer Composite Archery Bow To support MSME-Technology Development Centre (PPDC) sport complex, Meerut, UP, CSIR-NPL with MSME, PPDC is developing cost effective archery recurve bow. The archery bows have been used long back from prehistoric times for hunting and in warfare. New generation limbs are made of multilayer composite materials involving different layers like compression layer, tension layer and intermediate layer of high modulus material. The intermediate layer is made of polymer foam for providing high modulus. Considering the fact that limbs are main part in functioning on a recurve bow.

    Carbon fiber composite archery bow limb

  5. Carbon Nanotube Paper Free-standing carbon nanotube paper (bucky paper) is a very important material for several applications, but its commercial production is still limited due to size