The fine details of how we create the materials that make up our buildings, tools and machines are important to science and engineering. The environment can mechanically or chemically degrade metallic and ceramic substances, and it is up to engineers to make them stronger, more useful and extend their lifespan.
Indranil Manna is a metallurgical engineer who pursues new ways to design bulk metallic and ceramic objects and alter their surfaces. He has made discoveries about the tiny crystalline and structureless materials that allow engineers to do more on the nanometre scale to, for example, strengthen aluminium alloys and steel.
The materials and the methods he employs for his work vary widely. But his research largely focuses on phase transformation, such as the transformation of a solid into a liquid or gas. Phase transformations can significantly change metals and ceramics in ways that make them more useful. Manna has also used laser and plasma technology to engineer components that protect surfaces from corrosion, such as rusting in iron.
Manna obtained his PhD from the IIT Kharagpur in 1990. After teaching at IIT Kharagpur for over 25 years, Manna was invited to lead the Central Glass & Ceramic Research Institute in Kolkata in 2010. He later took over as the 10th director of IIT Kanpur in November 2012.
Manna has the Maout Medal of Calcutta University and the Young Scientist Medal of the Indian National Science Academy. He was elected president of the Materials Science Section of the 97th Indian Science Congress in 2010. Recently, the government of India gave him the Jagadish Chandra Bose Fellowship of the Department of Science and Technology, which he will hold until 2017.