IIT-K and DRDO develop material that can help soldiers go undetected by enemies

Written by Aditee Lad based on inputs by Shahid Kazi

Scientists at the Indian Institute of Technology-Kanpur (IIT-K) said that they have developed textile-based meta-materials that can help defence personnel and vehicles avoid being detected by enemy radars. It was carried out by Kumar Vaibhav Srivastava of the electrical engineering department and J Ramkumar of the mechanical engineering department of the institute. This project was supported by Defence Research Development Organisation.
This material can be used as uniform for personnel and as a covering for ground vehicles to avoid being detected by enemy radars, motion detecting ground sensors and thermal imaging systems. The material is flexible and can be customised for different climatic conditions.
“In a major achievement, we have designed and produced micro-structured infra-red metamaterials with processes that can be readily scaled for mass production to cover large area surfaces. These infra-red metamaterials are applied on any given surface to reduce the thermal emission to create infra-red stealth,” professor S Anantha Ramakrishna of the department of physics at IIT-K said.
“We are also in the process of developing robust meta-materials for radar stealth which can be applied on high-speed aircraft and switchable meta-materials for active camouflage applications,” Ramakrishna said. He said at the beginning of the 21st century, new composite micro-structured materials called meta-materials were found to have very unexpected properties due to their specific structure that caused resonant interactions with electromagnetic waves.
“Stealth fighter aircraft were already in use but they used very different concepts and heavy ceramic ferrites for achieving stealth. Meta-material based absorbents held the promise of lightweight, ultra-thin and flexible materials that could be applied literally on any surface to give the required properties at radar frequencies, infra-red frequencies or even optical frequencies,” the professor said. “Laboratory level development of demonstrations has been completed and now we are proceeding for field testing,” he said.