Copper Reduces Steel Weight
Engineers at the University of Sheffield have developed ultra-fine-grained lightweight steel by adding copper. The automobile industry will benefit as it can reduce body weight and lower carbon emissions. When steel is heat-treated during processing, the copper precipitates rapidly within the crystal grains of steel, rather than at the grain boundaries. This restricts the growth of grains in the material’s microstructure, leaving an ultrafine-grained microstructure that imparts the high strength and superior ductility and thermal stability of steel. An average car contains 900 kg of steel and reducing its weight can reduce environmental impact. Newly developed steel has the strength of 2GPa- for eg. a 1 cm diameter wire capable of holding a weight of 15 tonnes with an elongation of 45%- this means the steel would be ductile enough to be able to be formed into complex shapes.