The need to use less material in a wide range of applications is a universal driver. In addition to reducing direct material cost, a reduction in the total material requirement leads to a reduction in the basic use of material resource, reduced transportation costs and so reduced CO2 emissions. To achieve this we must produce higher strength steels that can be formed while retaining good damage and fracture resistance.
Optimising steel composition is an enormously time-consuming task, as there are such a large number of possible components and processing regimes to investigate. Principal Component Analysis can assist with this process by suggesting optimal compositions for given properties, and we will be combining this with thermodynamic and kinetic modelling. This approach gives a good correlation between composition and properties for homogeneous materials.
Modern high strength steels are not, however, homogeneous, and indeed gain their structural advantages from their complex microscopic structure. Pedro Eduardo Jose Rivera Diaz del Castillo, a member of the DARE academic team, has recently developed a technique to predict the plasticity of alloys and demonstrated that it is effective for a number of complex steels. (More information on this is in 2.1 and 2.2 LINKS)
Using this insight we will develop a computational approach to the design of new high strength steels suitable for the automotive industry. These formulations will be evaluated at the DARE facility in Sheffield, before being carried forward to manufacture by our industrial partners.