METALS FORUM Steel’s new ‘iron age’ Stronger, lighter and green as it gets

Jan 01, 2008 | 10:12 AM |

In many ways the world is in a new "iron age," with global sheet steel consumption up nearly 70 percent over the past decade. Steel is a logical material choice, given its low cost relative to alternative materials combined with its good strength-to-weight ratio. So it is no wonder that steel continues to be the material of choice for many manufacturing industries, especially for automotive production. In fact, the average light vehicle today weighing approximately 4,000 pounds contains nearly 2,600 pounds of steel, representing 62 percent of the mass.

As a material, steel is, at times, both simple and complex. For automotive applications, metallurgical science has continued to advance in the development of new chemistries and microstructures that create the properties needed to meet changing customer needs, something that has been happening since hand-formed steel sheet began to supplant wooden car bodies a century ago.

For example, when the automotive industry needed to address the issues of corrosion and vehicle durability in the 1970s and 1980s, new coated steel products were developed that greatly increased the life expectancy of light vehicles. This required transforming galvanized steels into a highly formable steel product with excellent surface quality—the products that we take for granted today.....





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