The Role of Microalloyed Steels in the Age of Explosive Growth of Steel Usage
The beginning of the 2 lst century coincided with a surge in steelmaking capacity, driven mainly by China. This reflects a global trend in underdeveloped countries to eliminate poverty and raise the standard of living. Steel is the indispensable material for modernization. The rapid increase in steelmaking capacity triggered strains in the supply-demand balance. The resulting shortages in raw materials, energy and means of transportation contributed to raising prices. Furthermore, the increase in polluting emissions (C02) created additional dangers to the environment. To minimize the ills of steel expansion, a "sustainable rate of growth has been postulated. An effective method to make the expansion of steelmaking "sustainable'" is by satisfying the engineering needs with less steel of higher (stronger) quality. Microalloyed (MA) steels are suitable as a replacement of commodity grade carbon steels. High strength and weight reducing potential of MA steels are derived from microstructural changes taking place during hot-rolling and subsequent cooling. Means for achieving maximum weight reduction at minimum cost are discussed in detail. By contributing to a "sustainable'" growth rate of steel production, microalloyed steels fulfill a new role: they create economic value and wealth. To achieve global economic goals of underdeveloped countries, substitution may be a necessity, rather than an option.
microalloying, vanadium. nitrogen, strengthening mechanisms, substitution of carbon steel, sustainable growth, wealth formation.
Stratcor, Inc., Pittsburgh, PA, USA.
Iron and Steel, Vol. 40, Supplement, Nov. 2005, pp.3-8 (Vanitec Publication - V1105-1)