Rangachari Krishnan obtained his BSc (Hons) and MSc degrees from Madras University and then joined the Atomic Energy Establishment Trombay, Mumbai (1957) as a trainee in the first batch of the AEET training school. His work on X-ray line profile analysis on a variety of metals and alloys earned him the PhD degree (1967) from the Bombay University. He became the Head, Metallurgy Division, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) in 1982. He was Director of the Naval Chemical and Metallurgical Laboratory (NCML) of DRDO at Mumbai and initiated several programmes on naval engineering materials. He was Chief Controller, Defence R&D Organization (1988-90). From 1990 till his superannuation in 1995, he was Director of the Gas Turbine Research Establishment, DRDO, in Bangalore.
Academic and Research Achievements: Dr Krishnan started the X-ray metallography work with the study of textures in metallic uranium fuel elements. He then established a good electron metallography laboratory for studying phase transformations and structure property correlations. He was the first to predict the existence of stacking faults in uranium. Thereafter he studied extensively phase transformations occurring in several Zr and Ti based alloys and steels to correlate the structure with mechanical properties. He helped in the flow-sheet preparation for fabrication of nuclear cladding materials. He participated in the 100MW Dhruva reactor fuel development activities. At NCML, he contributed in alloy selection for marine vessels for the Indian Navy. At GTRE, he was responsible for selection of high temperature materials for turbine applications and helped establish fabrication and welding procedures. He has carried out failure analysis investigations using metallographic techniques and suggested solutions to avoid recurrence of such failures in future. Dr Krishnan has over hundred publications in refereed journals.
Other Contributions: The structural metallurgy laboratory started by Dr Krishnan at BARC is one of the best in the country and has contributed greatly in understanding the behaviour of several metals and alloys. He established the Aeronautical Materials Testing Laboratory at Hyderabad for evaluating mechanical properties of high temperature materials.
Awards and Honours: Dr Krishnan is a recipient of INSA Brahm Prakash Memorial Medal (2001), and National Metallurgists' Day Award by Ministry of Steel and Mines (1977). He was President, Indian Institute of Metallurgy (IIM) (1993-94). He is a Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore; National Academy of Sciences (India), Allahabad; Indian National Academy of Engineering; the Aeronautical Society of India and the Astronautical Society of India.