Skip to comments.New Way to Make Lighter, Stronger Steel -- In a Flash
Posted on 06/10/2011 7:26:04 AM PDT by Red Badger
A Detroit entrepreneur surprised university engineers in Ohio recently, when he invented a heat-treatment that makes steel 7 percent stronger than any steel on record -- in less than 10 seconds.
In fact, the steel, now trademarked as Flash Bainite, has tested stronger and more shock-absorbing than the most common titanium alloys used by industry.
Now the entrepreneur is working with researchers at Ohio State University to better understand the science behind the new treatment, called flash processing.
What they've discovered may hold the key to making cars and military vehicles lighter, stronger, and more fuel-efficient.
In the current issue of the journal Materials Science and Technology, the inventor and his Ohio State partners describe how rapidly heating and cooling steel sheets changes the microstructure inside the alloy to make it stronger and less brittle.
The basic process of heat-treating steel has changed little in the modern age, and engineer Suresh Babu is one of few researchers worldwide who still study how to tune the properties of steel in detail. He's an associate professor of materials science and engineering at Ohio State, and Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Center for Integrative Materials Joining for Energy Applications, headquartered at the university.
"Steel is what we would call a 'mature technology.' We'd like to think we know most everything about it," he said. "If someone invented a way to strengthen the strongest steels even a few percent, that would be a big deal. But 7 percent? That's huge."
Yet, when inventor Gary Cola initially approached him, Babu didn't know what to think.
(Excerpt) Read more at sciencedaily.com ...
Steel mill. A Detroit entrepreneur surprised university engineers in Ohio recently, when he invented a heat-treatment that makes steel 7 percent stronger than any steel on record -- in less than 10 seconds. (Credit: © Oleg-F / Fotolia)
Hank Rearden in real life..................
Let's hope it turns out better than in the book.
This me not betting on it.
To bad he’s in Detroit.
His first move will probably be to go to China to manufacture it.
Well, if the government steps in and says turn over your patents ‘for the good of all’ then we’ll know...................
Once a process is known, patented or not, they will steal it, use it and don’t care who says what about it.....................
Other than the well known advances from NASA, how much useful advancement in knowledge and technology do we hear of from the hundreds and hundreds of billions government has wasted on research grants?
Usually we hear of money wasted on foolish research projects that fit the agenda of political correctness, such as the sex lives of monkeys or insects (to prove homosexualism is "normal").
Meanwhile, individuals like Gary Cola forge ahead on their own making new discoveries that dwarf the results of government projects and actually contribute to the general welfare of the nation.
It sounds like he is making a thin layer or martensite, over layer of bainite.
But that would not explain why it would be harder than martensite. Unless they are confusing fracture toughness with hardness. I'd like to see the microstructure!
Soon the government will ask him to sign over the rights, lest he become a Social Danger!
Confusing fracture toughness with hardness,that sounds more like it,invented a heat-treatment is like new math.
Go to the link and read the rest of the story. There is martensite, bainite, austinite and carbides all in the structure.................
Very interesting article! I see he’s going to turn his attention to HAZ material problems caused by welding/cutting. If he succeeds in discovering a simple, cost effective process it’ll be a quantum leap for the industry.
If they don’t steal it mac, the liar, daddy will GIVE it to them and pay them, with tax payer money, to modify any equipment or design new that they need.
They he will buy the steal back from them at a mark up of 75% because he had the EPA come up with rules that will shut down any process that they need to do it within the United States.
I’m not sure exactly what is different from the description in the article, but this is already done (rapid heating & cooling) in a modern steel mill. There must be something different, if an article was written about it as a breakthrough, but given the description, I cannot tell what exactly.
Heating steel rapidly, and rapidly cooling it in water baths, has been done since at least the 80’s. The temperatures vary, mainly on the type of steel the customer has ordered, but can easily be that high, or higher.
However, I will assume that he is doing something different, and producing a higher strength steel, but neither the actual process, or quality of steel, is really described in the article.
He may not be using water.............................
I saw that. It still sounds strange, becuase austinite only exists in plain steel in the gamma phase. Room temperature austinite is only seen in tool steels.
If the speed if the trick then why haven't we see this in heat induction and water quenching?
I'll follow this one. Thanks!
"Cola showed them his proprietary lab setup at SFP Works, LLC., where rollers carried steel sheets through flames as hot as 1100 degrees Celsius and then into a cooling liquid bath.
Though the typical temperature and length of time for hardening varies by industry, most steels are heat-treated at around 900 degrees Celsius for a few hours. Others are heated at similar temperatures for days.
Cola's entire process took less than 10 seconds."
"Using an electron microscope, they discovered that Cola's process did indeed form martensite microstructure inside the steel. But they also saw another form called bainite microstructure, scattered with carbon-rich compounds called carbides.
In traditional, slow heat treatments, steel's initial microstructure always dissolves into a homogeneous phase called austenite at peak temperature, Babu explained. But as the steel cools rapidly from this high temperature, all of the austenite normally transforms into martensite.
"We think that, because this new process is so fast with rapid heating and cooling, the carbides don't get a chance to dissolve completely within austenite at high temperature, so they remain in the steel and make this unique microstructure containing bainite, martensite and carbides," Babu said"
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