This is the age of driverless buses and autonomous cars. Though they have logged many hours on roads in foreign shores, they are not yet commercially available on a large scale. For now, leading automotive makers will be rolling out of their assembly lines lighter cars with enhanced safety.
Fuel-efficient and safe cars made of the toughest high-tensile steel are the vehicles of the future. Realizing this, the Japanese manufacturer of steel products Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal has developed a super auto steel that is 25 percent stronger than the toughest high-tensile steel on the market.
With the new product innovation, auto manufacturers will eventually say goodbye to the mild steel materials of yesteryears. The advanced high-strength steel is a sophisticated type of material that underwent precisely controlled heating and cooling processes. It is also up to 30 percent lighter than material currently being used by car makers.
In Synch With the Times
The new super steel is also engineered to meet the challenges of modern-day vehicles for stringent safety regulations, emissions reduction, solid performance, at affordable costs. Time was when the hottest steels in the automotive industry were the low carbon boron alloys that were heated up to about 1650 Fahrenheit and then cooled down quickly while being formed.
They also happened to be very expensive. The price of the new super steel is pegged at only a third to half of that of aluminum. Engineers from Nippon Steel improved the heat treatment process and added alloy elements, which in turn improved both strength and ease of rolling.
Former U.S. President Barack Obama planted the seeds of change in turning the tide of consumers’ penchant for inefficient cars when he facilitated an agreement reached with 13 automakers that called for cars and light trucks to achieve an average of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. That was a step forward not just for the U.S. but also for the rest of the world.
Today, as car makers are striving to meet tight international fuel-economy regulations, Nippon might be on to something viable. The company said the new, lighter steel material that has a strength of 1,470 megapascals (compared to the steel strength of 1,180 megapascals offered by major steelmakers) can aid manufacturers in crafting more fuel-efficient, safer vehicles.
Nippon Steel is conducting verification tests. It is poised to market the product breakthrough around 2020 for use in vehicle frames, chassis, and other components.