Hybrid steel sandwich reduces vehicle weight
In partnership with Volkswagen, ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe has developed LITECOR, an innovative steel sandwich material which can reduce vehicle weight significantly. LITECOR consists of a polymer core (0.3 to 1.0 mm thick) between two steel face sheets (each 0.2 to 0.3 mm thick).
It is significantly lighter than a conventional solid steel sheet and combines resistance to bending and oil canning with very good processing properties.
LITECOR has the potential to reduce the weight of large body panels with high stiffness requirements including roofs, doors, tailgates and hoods. It can also be utilised for interior parts such as rear window shelves and floor panels.
An analysis carried out under ThyssenKrupp’s InCar®plus innovation project for automotive applications shows that systematic use of LITECOR in the body can reduce the overall weight of a car by more than 19 kilograms. And at lower cost than using alternative materials such as aluminium. The new material also has a lower environmental impact than many of the competing materials in the race to reduce weight.
Source: ThyssenKrupp Steel
New high strength steels allow light and sustainable structures
With the development of its HISTAR® range of steels for construction, ArcelorMittal has created structural steels which combine high yield strength with excellent toughness at low temperatures and outstanding weldability. The new material also decreases the amount of time needed for welding and assembly.
Compared to conventional structural steels, HISTAR® beams exhibit significant weight and material cost savings. A beam made from HISTAR® 460 weighs 32 percent less than a standard S355 JR grade beam of the same length and thickness. Material savings are around 30 percent.
These new steels satisfy the demands of architects and designers for materials which enable them to create light and economical structures. At the same time they meet safety and sustainability criteria in the construction sector.
Best available technologies lead to reduced environmental impact
Russian steelmaker NLMK Group increased its steel output by three-percent in the first half of 2015, while decreasing the environmental impact of its operations. The company achieved this result by comparing its performance against the best available technologies (BAT) for the steel industry.
Key achievements were the reductions achieved in emissions to air, water usage, and waste. For example, specific air emissions [CB2] at NLMK’s Russian facilities decreased by five-percent year-on-year to 20.9 kg/tonne of steel. This is still above the BAT of 18.9 kg/t of [VR3] steel but a significant improvement.
Water consumption fell by seven percent year-on-year to 5 cubic metres/tonne of steel. This is well below the BAT level of 7 m3/t. Wastewater discharge was reduced by 33 percent to 0.2 kg/t – just above the BAT of zero.
NLMK continues to target improvements in its environmental performance using BAT. During 2015 new initiatives were launched to process blast furnace slag, reduce dust levels, and introduce new technical solutions in the basic oxygen furnace (BOF) shop. The latter project will reduce specific air emissions at NLMK’s Novolipetsk plant by 50 percent.
Modern steelmakers use 60 percent less energy
Thanks to the efficient use and recovery of energy, steelmakers have been able to reduce the amount of energy required to produce a tonne of steel by around 60 percent since 1960. To help its members measure their energy performance against that of other steelmakers, worldsteel has introduced a comprehensive energy benchmarking system.
Members can compare a specific process in their plant against the top performers. Using this data, the steelmaker can identify where the energy performance of their process deviates from the reference and take action. This initiative enables the global steel industry to spread the use of best-available technologies as quickly as possible.
Other worldsteel initiatives which aim to improve resource efficiency include our CO2 and Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) tools.
Source: worldsteel data
Advanced automotive steels reduce weight, improve safety
At the end of the 1970s, an average car body panel had a strength of around 120 megapascals (MPa), while ‘high-strength’ steels were around 588 MPa. Today’s standard body panels typically start at 600 MPa and range up to ultra-high strength steels at the 2,000 MPa level.
The four-fold increase in the strength of automotive steels in just 40 years has led to a dramatic improvement in safety, and on the weight of vehicles. By combining advanced steels with technologies such as laser welded blanks (LWBs), automakers can ensure the right steel is in the right place to increase safety while decreasing vehicle weight.
The weight of a typical vehicle has reduced by around 25 percent compared to 1980, largely thanks to the use of these advanced steels and technologies. This has led to significant improvements in energy consumption during the use phase of a vehicle’s life, but at an affordable cost to consumers.
Source: ArcelorMittal, other