The material exceeds the limits of existing alloys and is stronger with an unprecedented fracture resistance
Improving a widely used material with excellent properties is always difficult. One of these is steel, a light and very strong alloy. A research team, led by Prof. Huang Mingxin of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Hong Kong, managed to overcome the limits. The new material was obtained in collaboration with the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab.
Usually, increasing the strength of a material inevitably makes it more fragile or less flexible and elastic. The “super steel” on the other hand shows a great increase in fracture resistance while maintaining a very high strength and robustness. Those physical characteristics make it suitable for many advanced industrial applications. The research results were published in the journal Science.
“In this latest breakthrough in super D&P steel, we attained an unprecedented strength-toughness combination which can address a major challenge in safety-critical industrial applications. The breakthrough also changes the conventional view that attaining high strength will be at the expense of deteriorating toughness, which greatly limits the steel’s applications”, said Professor Huang.
Researchers have filed patent applications in the US, Europe and China. The team is also in contact with industrial partners to produce prototype of cables, car parts and bullet-proof vests. The alloy can be produced from current plants and will not require special equipment. All the features described in the research demonstrate the great potential of super steel, we just have to wait and see a new revolution.