Materials development begins with the crystal grid, the smallest ordered composition of individual atoms to form a steel we know. Our task is to understand the time-dependent formation, chemical composition, crystal formation and morphology of later emerging phases, precipitates, dislocation and shear band formation as well as many other effects. Our laboratory capabilities complemented by those of nearby universities give us a deeper insight to understand relationships between metallographic structure and properties.
Each process step changes the material in production. Many property changes are desired, such as high strength or good deformation behavior. However, some processes have the opposite effect, either because of uneven distribution or loss of alloying elements (e.g. segregation, decarburization). Some material properties develop only through external loading, such as the deformation- or load-induced transformation of an austenite into martensite to increase strength. We need to keep all these possible changes in mind to properly define the alloy.
At the end of the development, we have the idea of a steel with its properties, which we later describe in data sheets:
- maximum dimensions,
- processing options allowed or not,
- our contribution to sustainability and countless properties more.
This transition into real properties ultimately determines the benefit that a new steel can offer our customers.