April 16, 2024: The need for materials capable of withstanding high temperature has become critical in defence and space sectors. Non-oxide ceramics provide the answer but pose challenges, as the process is energy-intensive and faces restrictions due to embargoes. A promising approach is polymer-derived ceramics (PDCs) that uses liquid polymers. They can be shaped easily and offer versatility and customisation.

First and only Indian company…
Ceratattva specialises in three pre-ceramic polymer categories: silicon-based, metal-modified silicon-based and non-silicon-based, with thermal capacities ranging up to 2500 degree Celsius. Despite the monopolisation of this technology by five global companies, Ceratattva stands as the first and only Indian company commercialising these offerings, with over 30 products in each segment.

During his PhD with ISRO, Dr Ganesh Babu T, Founder and CEO realised that there was a need for such materials but did not give further thought then. In his Post Doc at IIT Madras, Dr Ravi Kumar, a pioneer in the field, seeded the idea of spinning off as a startup, and thus Ceratattva was born.

Ceramics, although inherently brittle, can be fortified to match metal’s mechanical properties through Ceramics Matrix Composites (CMCs). These CMCs find applications in critical areas like re-entry rockets and hypersonic flights due to their superior thermal properties. Ceratattva’s expertise extends to coatings, adhesives, and CMC, offering customised solutions beyond strategic sectors. “In industries like automotive, refractory and foundry, there’s often need for such solutions. Our technology that allows for molecular-level modifications, can offer customisation tailored to specific challenges,” highlighted Dr Abha Bharti, Co-Founder.

Another material is carbon fibres that are used in critical applications but are vulnerable to oxidation at high temperatures. In recent developments, ceramic fibres produced through pre-ceramic polymer routes have emerged as a viable alternative. In collaborations with IIT M, Ceratattva have furthered advancements, as it is critical for driving the demands of futuristic applications.

Products for high temp applications…
Ceratattva has developed a high-temperature bar code label printing for the steel industry, where the print can withstand up to 1200 degree Celsius. Similarly, in the abrasive sector, their coatings have significantly reduced production times, leading to up to 40 per cent savings. Their electrically conductive materials are designed to maintain conductivity even at high temperatures and is also flame resistant.

Just having completed two years, the revenue of Ceratattva has grown 2.5 times from Rs 8.4 lakh to around Rs 30 lakh. They are recipient of funding from TANSEED, IIT M, Nidhi Prayas Innovation grant, amongst others and are looking for a seed fund of Rs 1.5 crore to set a pilot production unit capable of producing 200 kgs of pre-ceramic polymers per month.

Publication: Industrial Economist
Read at: https://industrialeconomist.com/ceratattva-ready-for-space-and-beyond/