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Profile of Dr. Mahendra Patel

Dr. Mahendra Patel, has obtained Ph. D. from Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi and Dr. Sci. from University of Pierre and Marie Curie, Paris (France) with trainings taken in U.K., France, Holland and Germany.

He has earned reputation as a leading Scientist in fundamental and applied research at international level in Paper Technology, Nanotechnology, Material Science and Mineralogy with about 300 publications, 8 patents, supervising 6 Ph. D. thesis and authored 7 books in different aspects of pulp and paper manufacturing including applications of Nanotechnology. 

He is recipient of following Awards:

·         Samanta Chandra Shekhar Award   from Orissa Vigyan Academy in  Engineering & Technology (1996),

·         National award- Malavya Award from Indian Ceramic Society (1986),

·         Special award from Director General, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (Govt of India)  for his contribution during Bhopal Gas tragedy (1984), 

·         Research Excellence of the Year (2009-2010) from Pulp and Paper International.

At International level; he is presently honorary member of Paper Industry Technical Association (U.K.) and earlier- American Nanotechnology Society, Member of Research Management Committee of Technical Association of Pulp and Paper Industry (USA); Project reviewer of International Science Foundation and Expert- Nomenclature Committee on X-ray Spectrometry of International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry. He served as a Member of the Editorial Board/ Advisory board of International Journal of X-Ray Spectrometry (U.K.) from 1985 to 2008 and Ceramics Science and Technology-Silicates industrials (Belgium) 1983-2004. He was invited to deliver presentations in Asian Paper, Bangkok on subject of Nanotechnology for the pulp and paper industries in 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2018. He writes regularly for Paper Technology journal (U.K.) since 2012 and reviews papers for many international journals.

At National level, he was project reviewer for many Govt-funding projects in Minerals and Ceramics and contributed in developments of Clay-based industries in Kerala and Mineral-based industries in Madhya Pradesh. He contributed in commissioning of National Aluminium Company in Orissa in the project stage.

He is Life member of IPPTA (Indian Pulp and Paper Technical Society). He served as Editorial Board Member of “Research and Industry”, “Indian Journal of Scientific and Industrial Research”, “Indian Journal of Technology, “Indian Journal of Chemical Technology” and Executive Editor of Bioenergy Journal, published by Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Govt of India. He is member of Bureau of Indian Standard in Pulp, Paper and Packaging on individual capacity and attended BIS meetings from Indian Agro and Recycled Paper Mills Association and Ministry of Commerce and Industry (Cess Committee), Central Pollution Control Board etc.

He served as Director, Pulp and Paper Research Institute; Asst Director in CSIR- Regional Research Laboratory and Executive Secretary of Indian Pulp and Paper Technical Association and as Adviser of Indian Agro and Recycled Paper Mills Association, organizing many International (PAPEREX) and national technical conferences.

He is a well-known figure in the Indian pulp and paper industry. Presently he is serving as Jt Editor-in-Chief of Indian Pulp and Paper Technical Association (IPPTA) and engaged at personal capacity in Technical consultancy and writing scientific books and as Column writer for the UK Journal- Paper Technology International. His web-presence is through website: www.industrypaper.net



Books authored:

Summary of distinguished achievements

Commissioning of Public Sector NALCO (National Aluminium Company) at Damanjodi in Odisha:

Starting from the project stage to the production of Alumina and facilitated exporting the product in the Managerial level. This being in collaboration with the French Company- Aluminium Pechiney, coordinated with the French engineers with communication in French language and translating the technical matters to the local officers in various areas. Set up an excellent Research, Process and Quality control laboratory and trained the staff members including local Mazdoors from sampling to sample preparation and analysis, including standardisation, calibration of equipment; Effluent treatment and Boiler water management, Monitoring of lime, coal and other raw materials etc. Attended all management committee meetings and made valuable suggestions in the production process. Started R & D projects on Alumina fibre (Process patented and presented in International seminar in Bruxelles, Belgium), Titania extraction from by-product sand, Building bricks from the solid wastes of Red mud, Zeolite from aluminate liquor (which was subsequently produced at industrial scale).

Bhopal Gas Tragedy: As Head of the Chemical dept in Bhopal Government CSIR Laboratory, I was in the Enquiry committee to find out cause of accident and then acted as In-charge of conducting all analysis for the deadly chemical MIC (Methyl Isocyanate) in the air, water and soil including food and vegetables, fish etc. Coordinated with the Special Secretary to Govt of India and scientists from abroad and different Laboratories in India. My contributions helped ways to neutralise the remaining MIC cylinder and destroy the remaining chemicals; building confidence in taking locally produced vegetables and rice from the go-down.

Setting-up of Govt CSIR Regional Research Laboratory, Bhopal and developed many Innovative processes and products : Starting from scratch, set up the Chemical, Mineral and Ceramic divisions and then directed R & D project works as Asst Director. Contributed the Govt of Madhya Pradesh in the exploration of low grade minerals in production of value-added materials and on Agro-residues. Advised the Govt of Science and Technology dept in project selection and Laboratory accreditation and acted as Chairman of many internal committees for appointments and other matters.

Advanced ceramic fibres from agro-residues: Accomplished first-time-in-the-world patented process of producing Advanced Composite Ceramic Materials using Rice husk and Rice straw among other projects. One of the original discoveries made was a new finding in plant materials, notably Rice husk, discovering existence of Silicon carbide fibres (J.Mat.Sci, 1987) and catalyst metals such as Ni, Cu, Fe, Mn etc in trace amounts in the Rice husk and many agro-residues.  

New structural finding on Agro-residues: Presence of trace amounts of metals such as Fe, Ni, Cu in rice husk was discovered, which were established to be acting as catalysts in the formation of silicon carbide fibre. The new structural findings on rice husk included distribution of SiO2 imparting mechanical and thermal resistance ability to husk, correlating the secrecy of Nature for protection of rice inside for the survival of mankind. It was also discovered that the there are two types of lignin, one having been bonded more firmly than the other type to the metals which resist the bleaching chemicals also (Refer publ no 62). With the help of highly sophisticated analytical techniques of SEM, TEM, XRD, XRF, Auger and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, many new structures of carbon compounds in the pyrolysed agro-residues (400 to 2000oC) were reported for the first time exhibiting the micrographs at micro and nano scales.

Discovered Substrate Mechanism: A new process was patented by him for production of Silicon carbide whiskers from Rice husk (Patent 338/ Cal/89). He conceived a new mechanism for formation of the whiskers -termed as “Substrate Mechanism”. This process and mechanism were applied in formation of many advanced fibres using many agro residues, notably sisal fibre, jute fibre, coconut husk and rice straw, producing ceramic fibres such as titania, alumina, silicon oxynitride and alumino-silicates at ultra high temperatures of 1500-2000°C having applications in rocket nozzles, Al-metal composites, turbine blades etc.

        Silicon carbide from rice husk: New advanced product and new Mechanism discovered

Advanced Ceramic fibres using agro-residues through the new process discovered: Following to the substrate mechanism, many advanced ceramic fibres such as alumina, titania, SIALON, silicon nitride, mullite and alumino-silicate fibres and particulates were developed using many natural fibres such as jute, coconut, sisal and rice husk which had applications as Al- metal composite materials.

Commissioning of 1st ECF (Elemental Chlorine Free) Bleaching technology in India: While in  J. K. Paper Mill as Director of Pulp and Paper Research Institute, this new project was commissioned, where all the base works including pulping, bleaching, oxygen delignification at the mill conditions were performed and the properties of pulp and paper produced were evaluated under my supervision. The first new Fibreline with ECF technology in India was in J. K. Paper Mill in 1994, for which I conducted all the Laboratory trials. The then technology was mostly based on soft wood or quality hard wood, which were not the case in India. Use of low quality hard woods, and corresponding mill parameters were suggested by me, which required quite original research work. Now many mills have been using ECF technology in India, using local hard woods (Unpbl work and publ no 132).

Oxygen delignification using agro-residues: In Indian Agro and Recycled Paper Mills Association, one of the R & D project taken up was on  Oxygen delignification using agro-residues. The ground work for his project was made by me.  Presently 2 mills in India are using this process of oxygen delignification using wheat straw and rice straw.

AOX estimation theory and analysis of AOX were conducted for the first time in the country with extensive with laboratories in abroad (Paper Res Inst in Newzealand & Australia PAPRO) and Ministry of Environment & Forests (Refer publ no 118, 145). I assisted the Ministry to calibrate instrument for AOX analysis.

Patented Surface sizing techniques: Before the alkaline sizing, my patented process of using calcium carbonate in acid sizing and neutral sizing, were discovered and experimented in JK Paper Mill with success (See patent list no 1-3 & publ. no 148, 153).

Superfilled paper: Extensive studies were made to increase the filler contents in paper retaining the wet end properties and printability, scattering coefficient, correlating the fibre-fibre and fibre-filler bondings Publ no 121, 125, 130, 138).

Metal nonprocess elements elimination: My papers published (Refer publ no 149-151)on Metal elimination (which reduces the reactivity of hydrogen peroxide in the particular), differentiated between the inherent metals and metals from the process and their elimination process were given. It was applied partly in J. K. Paper Mill. For the first time, the metals present in the system were differentiated as (i) Inherent metals and (ii) present in the system. The inherent metals in wood are difficult to be eliminated. An equation has been given to treat the metals, notably for elimination as follows:

                             T = K [R1 + FE]            

where T= total metal content, K=Constant, R1 = removal rate of inherent metal and FE = Fixation rate of metals from external source by exchange.

Vermi-composting of fibre sludge: The vermi-compost from the fibrous sludge was experimented for growing many vegetables (Brinjal, tomatos) and trees (Refer publ no 141).

Irrigation of Crops with Effluent for cultivation of crops and trees were conducted at plant leve (Publ no 163l.

Process to obtain colourless water from coloured mill effluent using unburnt carbon from the boiler was developed (Publ no 143).

High wood and pulp yielding plantation technology: Extensive work was carried out to identify good clones and mist chamber conditions for Clonal technology using casuarina and eucalyptus for higher pulp yield and increasing the survival rate in agro-forestry. Using of bark and young trees (3-5 years old) were suggested to JK Paper Mill from R & D works and it is being followed in JK Papers (Publ 120, 126,128, 139, 147, 154).

Gypsum board liners: Special kraft papers are used as liners in gypsum board, which is now imported. Consultancy work was carried out in 2020 with Saint Gobin Co in Mumbai and it is being produced by one mill in India.

Cement from fly ash and waste lime: In Tata Chemicals, he developed a process for producing chloride-containing lime wastes and fly ash based on which, a new cement plant was commissioned. 

Nanotechnology:Four books authored and publications made in international journal on cutting-edge new technology-Nanotechnology, for Applications in different areas of Pulp and Paper Manufacturing It is for the first time that a book on nanotechnology in paper manufacturing, has been authored by him. His recent publications on nano-particle based Antimicrobial paper were very timely contributions during the Covid period (Publ no 262, 263, 265).

His recent book on Nanocellulose is being served as a guidance for Nanocellulose production at industrial level (Publ no 280). 

Scaling on Metals: New theory on Scaling on Metals: He has presented papers in Bangkok and published in U.K .Journal of Paper Technology giving a new concept for the 1st time on Scaling on metals through Nano particles as Nuclei.