By Nick Gilbert
NanoSteel, a creator of progressive generations of iron-based alloys ranging from surface coatings to monolithic steel, has developed three new classes of advanced high-strength steel (AHSS) materials for automotive applications.
These steels have an excellent combination of ductility and strength along with measured strength or elongation performance of 1600 MPa/15%, 1200 MPa/30% and 950 MPa/35% respectively.
The development of NanoSteel provides additional ways to automotive manufacturers to use steel for designing lighter vehicles with improved fuel economy without affecting the safety aspects. In addition, it enables the auto sector to continue the utilization of steel’s existing scale, infrastructure and efficiencies rather than moving to other light-weighting materials that have limited availability, longer cycle times and higher costs. The new classes of steel use conventional processes and prevent the use of unusual alloying elements.
According to Daniel Branagan, Founder and CTO of NanoSteel, earlier, it was considered that steel sheets made from nano-structures were believed to be too brittle to create the required shapes for automotive components. On the contrary, NanoSteel's AHSS materials are based on innovative mechanisms to create nano-structures during production. Thus, the issue of brittleness is eliminated, added Branagan.
One of the challenges faced by AHSS materials is that the auto parts need to be formed at high temperatures, which tend to increase production cycle times and costs. The company avoids this additional processing, as the steel’s inherent ductility feature enables the production of parts using room temperature metal stamping techniques on existing manufacturing equipment called cold forming.