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Thursday, 20 November 2008

It's not HSLA-Bainite"Nanostructured Steels"-Green Light by Irvine-based Materials Science Co-MMFX Tech Corp - Corrosion and Toughness Themes

Is my rendering of the recent communiqué by several news sources concerning the additional financing of nanostructured steel mill cf. (ref.1) and TEM-transmission electron microscope image opposite.

At first sight I thought I could "kill two birds with one stone".

1. Give an industrial news item on the nanostructured steel theme from MMFX of Welland Ontario Canada. (Finance approved ref.1) Always good news to see the industrial realisations in mainstream mature industries such as steel production (sustainable-durable development).

2. Perhaps supply an answer to questions raised by a recent (May2008) stunning, all to rare, research announcement on the same theme, nanostructured steel, by one of the foremost science breaking peer reviewed journals, Science.

"Nanostructured Inverse Temperature Toughness of very high strength low alloyed steels by a team of Japanese Researchers, at the reputed National Institute for Materials Science, JP: Inverse Temperature Dependence of Toughness in an Ultra-fine Grain-Structure Steel" : Vol. 320. no. 5879, pp. 1057 - 1060 DOI: 10.1126/science.1156084 cf. Web Sources and Links below ref 2. Substantial further support information from the authors on their work may be found in ref. 3

I was particularly intrigued by the this second announcement and by the possibility of industrial realisation.

If industrialised this constitutes a further major step forward to add to the already huge advances in understanding toughness in steel in research and practice, from the infamous days of DBTT-Ductile to Brittle (toughness) Transition Temperature during WWII learned at great cost in terms of life and material.

But some doubt on this was voiced to quote from the Materials World news article:

"However, a UK industry representative told Materials World that he is sceptical about the research. " cf. the full informative back-ground news (ref 4 below).

From my own experience, I remember obtaining industrial results, reliably, systematically, at least six months before many-(all?) of the lessor capitalised and lessor equipped Researchers. There was of course some serendipity - and strong belief on a hunch but above all, in-depth knowledge of the manufacturing equipment and process as well as the confidence of the work-force in pushing the limits. (LINK earlier post and publication on this blog - ref. 5 below) Similarily, could this be the case for the industrialisation of the Japanese findings or at least could the industrialisation be much closer to realisation than voiced in by ref 5?

This second hunch stems from the fact that I (and many others much more directly engaged in such work) are particularly aware of the important online corpus of peer reviewed work available on the Cambridge Univ. site much of it due to Prof Bhadeshia and his associates and collaborators.

I jumped the gun by putting links to Cambridge Univ. site in my steel links on my right hand side blog menu.

However, I'm afraid that MMFX's announcement concerns strong, corrosion resistant, Iron- wt9% Chromium (Fe-9%Cr). The laminar platelet (described as plywood) micro-nanostructure is claimed to be superiorly tailored to avoid classical micro-galvanic cells (electrolysis, OK?) corrosion mechanism.

Although the company like many mini-mills appear capable of producing "greatly" improved toughness HSLA - steel such as those reported by the Japanese Team: EAF-Electric Arc Furnaces for tight chemical analytical control, vacuum-inert gas ladle furnace for further residual gas removal, de-oxidation, desulphurisation, inclusion decantation-removal , and inclusion shape-morphology control, continuous casting for improved solidification and reduced segregation, proper facilities for rolling and heat-treatment (refs. 2 and 3 and 6.)

Further work and enquiry is required to clarify these subjects. Comments and contributions more than welcome. The gauntlet has been thrown - the challenge is open!

Sources -Refs:

1. Australian based Azonanotechnology

2. Abstract Science 23 May 2008 Vol. 320. no. 5879, pp. 1057 - 1060 cf. support material

3. Supporting Online Material for Inverse Temperature Dependence of Toughness in an Ultra Fine Grain-Structure Steel - Science.

4 . MW. IoM3.

5. Industrial Experience LINK this blog and ref 5 below

6. MMFX

High Purity Cr sources for Superalloys

Energy for th Future:Phil.Trans.A-Vol. 365, N° 1853 / April 15, 2007, curtesy The Royal Soc. London

Engineered foams and porous materials: Phil Trans A. Vol 364, N° 1838 / 06 curtesy_The R Soc. Lond