Himansu Kumar Mitra obtained his PhD (1928) from University of Pittsburgh, USA specializing in engineering (refractories). He served as the Chief Refractories Engineer and Assistant General Superintendent, Tata Iron and Steel Co Ltd, Jamshedpur and Director, Bel Pahar Refractories Ltd.
Academic and Research Achievements: Mitra’s research work, primarily directed to industrial problems, is covered by 40 patents. He studied the cause of disintegration of fire-brick-lining of blast furnaces. Evolved a laboratory method for determining crushing strength of refractories, which furnished a sound basis for the ASTM specifications for this property. A major problem of Indian steel industry was the lining material for its steel transfer ladle. His work led to the manufacture and use of “high-grog” firebricks for ladles and furnace of steel and other industries. Similar was the case with another research product, viz. deliberately under fired silica brick, for lining acid Bessemer converter furnace. Thanks to Mitra’s fundamental research, it is possible to manufacture superquality “basic” refractories from a non-refractory raw material. In the area of energy saving, his contribution was the manufacture of insulation refractories capable of direct exposure to 1500 C, and phosphate bonded ones, critical for the combustion system of a furnace.
Other Contributions: Member, INSA Council (1973-75)
Awards and Honours: Mitra received the Cooper Memorial Medal (Institution of Chemists) (1941) and Satya Sundar Deb Centenary Memorial Lecture (Indian Ceramic Society) (1982). He was a Fellow, Indian of Ceramics, Indian Institution of Chemists, and Indian Standards Institution (now Bureau of Indian Standards); Member, American National Institute of Ceramic Engineers; Member Emeritus, American Ceramic Society, Indian Ceramic Society (President).