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  • Sci. & Tech.
    Iron pillar at Qutub Minar weighs 6,511 kg: study

    New Delhi (PTI): The rustless Iron Pillar in the precincts of the ancient Qutub Minar weighs over 6.5 tonnes, detail analyses by researchers have revealed.

    The estimated weight of the decorative bell of the 7.21 metre high pillar is 646 kg while the main body weighs 5865 kg thereby making the entire pillar weigh at 6,511 kg, metallurgists have found for the first time.

    "We had a novel approach wherein precise dimensions of the pillar were utilised to simulate the Delhi Iron Pillar on the computer," said P P Deshpande, Head of the R&D Centre at the Department of Mechanical Engineering of Sinhgad Institute of Technology (SIT), Pune.

    The findings of Deshpande, who was assisted by his colleague A P Kulkarni of the Vishwakarma Institute of Technology in the research, have been published in "Current Science".

    "It took around 20 days to model the whole pillar with the help of computer simulation technology, so that we could understand the composition without uprooting it," Kulkarni told PTI.

    The structure, which remains to be the attraction of scientists across the world for its anti-corrosion property, is made of 98 per cent wrought-iron of pure quality.

    "It is for the first time that such improved technology has been used for archaeological purpose in the country," Kulkarni said.

    The researchers used the modelling software -- CATIA V5R16 -- to understand the shape and structure of the pillar. The study can well explain how computer modelling can be usefully employed to determine accurate weights of historical objects.

    "The pillar is the testimony of high level scientific skills achieved by ancient Indians in metallurgy. We are studying the manufacturing technology, design and consolidation of the structure in details," Deshpande said.

    The black pillar, which is one of the tourist attractions in the capital, was originally erected in front of a Vishnu Temple complex at Udayagiri by Chandragupta II around 402 AD.

    It was later shifted by Iltutmish from Udaygiri to its present location in the Qutub complex, sometimes around 1233 AD.

    "It is important for us to understand forging procedures there. If we can ascertain the actual manufacturing technology, it can add to our metallurgical technologies," Deshpande said.

    The outcome of the calculation process can be utilised to study thermo-mechanical deformation, the scientists say.

    "More research and understanding of the ancient pillar's constitution will surely help us to boost our knowledge and improvise metallurgical applications," Kulkarni said.


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