May, 29

    Chinese scientists claim to have developed ‘ultratough, but stretchable’ steel

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    Scientists from China claim to have solved a problem in steelmaking by creating a new kind of steel. As per the team, the  newly invented steel is “ultrastrong, yet stretchable.”  According to researchers, the newly-found ductile metal can stretch by 18 to 25 per cent. It can also support the weight of a two-tonne automobile on a piece of steel no larger than a fingernail.

    The group from Northeastern University in Shenyang, Shenyang National Laboratory for Materials Science and Jiangyin Xingcheng Special Steel Works in eastern China, as well as the Max Planck Institute for Iron Research in Germany, issued their findings in the peer-reviewed journal Science on Friday.

    The super-strong steel that can absorb a lot of energy during collisions would find use in the automotive, aerospace, and equipment industries since companies could shape it into intricate designs.

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    Strength and flexibitility are typically mutually incompatible. Creating ultratough steel that can also stretch was a significant problem for scientists. However, there is a market for such a material in infrastructure and transportation as it is safe and lightweight. 

    To create steel with both qualities, the researchers developed a unique hierarchical nanostructure design for the study. In the process, they forge melted raw alloyed material at 650 to 800 degrees Celsius. Then, they let the air cool helping the material to form a unique structure.

    However, to cool it down further, they used liquid nitrogen, having a temperature of minus 196 degrees Celsius. Then they heated it at 300 degrees Celsius to improve stability. 

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    Lead author Li Yunjie mentioned that the manufacturing method could decrease the cost of production of a tonne of steel by about $75 and decline carbon emissions by more than 100 kilogrammes of coal equivalent per tonne. “It contributes to enormous economic benefits and promotes green development,” he told South China Morning Post.

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