In the battle of the materials, steel is showing signs of being very much alive in modern lightweight construction, whereby the holistic approach to ecological balance is gaining in importance.
Steel is extremely versatile. No other material has such a wide range of properties. In the future, a composite material that doesn’t include steel will be unimaginable. Innovations like phs-ultraform and components with customized properties have established their place in the market. Intensive work is now being done on multiphase steels for the next generations of car bodies. Up to 60% better forming properties will be achieved with AHSS HD steels (Advanced High-Strength Steels High Ductility). These steels will result in significantly more strength during cold forming. The goal is to use the higher strength AHSS HD steels and phs-ultraform in doors and closures where strength is an issue and in visible exterior body parts such as side panels. Another important topic is joining techniques. As part of the “Welding of high-strength steels” research project, joining techniques for high-strength and ultra high-strength steels were developed for the first time.
Steel also plays a key role in the life cycle assessment, i.e. in the overall ecological balance. The key is to look at all the steps as a whole, not at each individual step separately – from manufacturing to production to recycling. Under the auspices of WorldAutoSteel, the FutureSteelVehicle was developed in a global development project for lightweight construction. The proportion of high-strength and ultra high-strength steels used was twice that of the reference models. Steel will definitely remain a reliable, proven and innovative material in the future.