Konark Sun Temple iron beams have better corrosion resistance: IIT Bhubaneswar researcher-

The iron beams used in centuries-old Konark Sun Temple have demonstrated corrosion resistance almost two orders higher than contemporary steel beams, said an associate professor at the School of Minerals, Metallurgical and Materials Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bhubaneswar Soobhankar Pati on December 17, Sunday. 

Professor Pati said, “The corrosion studies conducted on-site using a portable machine have yielded promising results. Though the iron beams may lack certain properties like ductility and weldability, the finding is significant as the ancient technique, if revived and put to use, may help prevent rusting and create quality infrastructure.”

“Unravelling the manufacturing methods of the iron beams of the Sun Temple may shed light on India’s rich but forgotten technological prowess, while invaluable lessons regarding the technological advancements of India’s past can also be learnt from the research work,” the professor added.

Project Forging the Past
Professor Pati said the research Forging the Past: Investigating the Manufacturing of Iron Beams Used in Konarka Sun Temple and Analysing Their Socio-Economic Impact on the Local Community which is being carried out under the Indian Knowledge System (IKS) of the Ministry of Education, is a two-year long project and will continue for another year. 

What about the funding for the project? As a part of IKS, the funding of the project has been received under the Bharatiya Gyan Samvarshan Yojana’s Competitive Grants Programme. Prof Pati, who is also the project lead, said that the study which is being carried out is non-destructive in nature and there will be no physical changes to the historic iron beams during the research.

“This project involves studying ancient technical knowledge, analysing archaeological aspects, and socio-economic evaluations, leading to the recreation of an ancient iron-making laboratory in the future. Past records will also be revisited to find any missing links,” he added, as stated in a report by The New Indian Express

Prof Naresh Chandra Sahu and Prof Parthasarathi De from IIT Bhubaneswar; Siva Shankar Panda from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) have joined the project as the co-investigators, while former IIT Kharagpur Professor ON Mohanty and ASI Puri Official DB Garnayak have also joined as collaborators in the research.

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