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Concept Note: Development of 3rd Generation Advanced High Strength Steels

The main drivers for the development of automotive grade steel are to increase fuel efficiency and
reduce CO2 emissions, without compromising safety standards. Fuel efficiency is related to the
weight of the steel part component, its gauge and design aspects; whereas, safety is largely
achieved by increasing the energy absorbing capacity of the steel. This has led to the industrial
development of AHSS grades like DP steel (1st gen., 1.2-1.8wt.% Mn, T.S. x El. ~15 GPa%),
conventional TRIP steel (1st gen., 1.0-2.0wt.% Mn, T.S. x El. ~20 GPa%), TWIP steel (2nd gen.,
Mn > 15wt.%, T.S. x El. > 50GPa%), Medium Mn TRIP steel (3rd gen., Mn ≥ 4.5wt.%, T.S. x El.
> 30 GPa%). [T.S.: tensile Strength; El: elongation]

This proposal aims to develop a lean alloyed 3rd generation TRIP (Transformation Induced
Plasticity) steel. The Mn content would be in the range of 1.8-3.8 wt. %. With 1.5-3.8% Mn (1-
1.8% increase from conventional TRIP steels and much lower than medium Mn steel), the steel to
be developed would have T.S x %El. in range of 25-32 GPa%. The figure below represents the
domainof the steel to be developed on the so-called Banana diagram:

Composition and properties: The existing 1180Y grade composition and properties is shown
below.

wt.% Mn wt.% Si wt.% Other elements


0.085% 3% 0.2% Nb, Cr, Ti

Grade YS (MPa) UTS (MPa) El. (%)


HR Stage (2.6mm) 660-750 870-1000 16-23
CR Stage (1.5mm) 900-1050 1150-1300 9-14
Microstructure: The microstructure of the existing steel is fine grained ferrite+
Martensite/Bainite + retained austenite. Martensite/Bainite fraction is approx 70-80%, retained
austenite is approx 10%, and rest is bennitic ferrite.

Proposed AHSS 3rd Generation steel


As per the world auto steel criteria, following is the base criteria for AHSS 3rd Gen Steel:
Underlying philosophy:
The high energy absorbing capacity and high T.S. x El combination arises from the TRIP effect
(formation of strain induced martensite from retained austenite during deformation). This TRIP
effect depends upon the Mechanical stability of retained austenite.
Key is to control the mechanical stability of retained austenite i.e. it should neither get transformed
to martensite during cooling, nor it should be stable enough not to exhibit TRIP effect during
deformation/crash.We will be looking forward to have optimum stability of retained austenite such
that it exhibits TRIP effect during deformation/crash.
The stability of retained austenite can be controlled by following factors: (a) Chemical composition
of the alloy, (b) Partitioning of the C, Mn to austenite which will control the Stacking Fault Energy
(SFE) of the austenite (c) Grain size of the retained austenite and (d) Volume fraction of the
retained austenite, (e) Dislocation density in retained austenite.
This requires extensive alloy design and design of thermo-mechanical processing schedule esp.
hot rolling, cold rolling and inter-critical annealing.
Methodology of the work:
 Alloy design of lean alloyed 3rd generation TRIP Steel.
 Establish the regimes of hot working and annealing to attain optimal combination of
strength and ductility.
 Establish the regimes of cold working and inter-critical annealing (continuous annealing
process) that would provide best combination of strength and plasticity
 Establish the mechanism of microstructural evolution that includes combination of
martensite/bainite, ferrite and retained austenite.
 Evaluation of mechanical properties and mechanical stability of retained austenite during
deformation.
 Establishing the processing-microstructure-property relationship.

Further, a second phase work can be taken up to study the galvanizing properties of the steel and
a process to develop a galvanized product.