South Korean Researchers creates Stronger, lighter, flexible steel

7 February 2015

Researchers have found a way to create a low-density steel that is stronger, lighter and more flexible and may one day be used in cars or even airplanes.

Researchers from South Korea's Graduate Institute of Ferrous Technology found a mix that allows for creating a low-density steel that is stronger and more flexible than much more expensive titanium alloys.

The secret lies in causing new structure shapes to be formed during the heating process and by using the right mix of ingredients, researchers said.

They used the traditional mix of iron, carbon, aluminium and manganese and then added some nickel.

The nickel, they found reacted with the aluminum, creating nanometre sized B2 crystals that formed within and between the steel grains during the annealing process, '' reported.

To make sure the crystals were spread evenly among the metal, the team studied samples under an electron microscope.

Chemists know that B2 crystals are resistant to shearing, thus steel with such crystals should be extremely strong, and that is what the researchers found when they tested their new alloy.

The researchers have already teamed with POSCO, one of the biggest steel makers in the world to see if the new kind of steel they have come up with might be usable in cars or airplanes.