SBIR Phase I: 4th Generation Advanced High Strength Steel (AHSS) Produced via Novel High-Temperature Deformation Manufacturing

Period of Performance: 01/01/2014 - 12/31/2014

$150K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Wayne Steel Tech
600 Renaissance Center �» Suit
Detroit, MI 48243
Principal Investigator, Firm POC

Abstract

This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project will focus on the development a new family of nanoengineered low-alloy steels that surpass the state-of-the-art in coupling high strength (>2,000 MPa tensile strength) with high elongation (>20%). The outcome of this project will be the creation of a domestically-designed and produced, and lower cost advanced high strength steel (AHSS), based on a low alloy chemistry and lower energy intensity manufacturing process. The commercialization of a non-commodity fourth-generation AHSS family of structural materials with ultrahigh strength, and toughness without sacrificing elongation will provide significant value for the U.S. steel makers. These cost-effective low-alloy steels could displace current AHSSs and other exotic materials, such as aluminum, metal or ceramic matrix composites, and fiber reinforced composites to be used in a variety of applications in the Defense, Off-Highway, and Automotive industries. Furthermore, the proposed manufacturing technique can be easily retrofitted to current steel plate and sheet production lines with minimal new equipment. The U.S. market for AHSS is in excess of $5 billion and is expected to double within the next five years. Current advanced high strength steels (AHSSs) employ high alloy content, increasing their cost, and feature trade-offs between strength and ductility. A new steel manufacturing process will be developed, combining a patented ultra-high strength steel austempering process with grain deformation, nanostructuring the steel to deliver high elongation. The nanoengineering deformation and heat treatment processes for the proposed fourth-generation steel have been proven in the laboratory and have greatly improved structural performance. Other industrial steel grain nanostructuring means have shown improvements in tensile strength, but have exhibited low elongation, and their manufacturing methods have not been easily translated to sheet production. It is anticipated that the proposed manufacturing process can be used to make plate, sheet, and net-shape steel products. Completion of this effort will result in a technical model to optimize steel properties, a series of prototype steels, and the design of a prototype manufacturing line which can be scaled in Phase II to penetrate the multi-billion dollar AHSS market.