Laura K. Cowan

New 'Flash Bainite' Super Steel is Lighter, Stronger, and Cuts Energy Use by 80-90%

by , 06/13/11

Flash Bainite, steel processing, Gary Cola, stronger steel, green steel, lighter steel, green automotive design, green architecture, green aviation, green transportation

It has long been an accepted fact that steel is as good as it’s going to get: the innovators of the last century took care of developing the best processes to create as strong and light a product as possible, using as little energy as possible. But as Patrick Stewart would say, everything is impossible until it isn’t. A Detroit entrepreneur named Gary Cola has created a way to process steel into a lighter, stronger, and greener product with a method he calls Flash Bainite processing. The end product is 7% stronger than traditional steel and has 30% more flex to it, which would create safer and lighter vehicles, laptops, and other steel products. But what’s really got us going about this new process is that it uses 80-90% less energy.

Flash Bainite, steel processing, Gary Cola, stronger steel, green steel, lighter steel, green automotive design, green architecture, green aviation, green transportation

What’s even more impressive is that Cola’s process only takes 10 seconds. Instead of heating the metal for hours or even days as is standard in steel plants, Gary Cola bakes and then quickly cools his super steel for just a few seconds to create a product that is stronger than some titanium alloys. Mr. Cola and partners at Ohio State University are now studying the science behind why his process is able to turn more than a century of science on its head. They published their findings in the latest issue of Materials Science and Technology, explaining that flash heating steel actually changes the microstructure inside the alloy, making it stronger and less brittle. We can’t wait to see what designers can build using this new super steel. The implications for green architecture, art, automotive design, and aviation are certainly something to look forward to.

Via Engadget

Image source: Ell R Brown

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3 Comments

  1. Hello Everyone November 22, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    I don’t know how to feel about this since my grandfather also did this to harden the nails, and he learned from other people.I don’t know if this news are true, and if they are it isn’t fair for this man to patent something that was already invented!

  2. metallurgist June 15, 2011 at 6:02 pm

    The steel industry has been inventing new alloys and processing for steels since the industry started. New tri-phase steels based on a bainite structure are under active development. In order to produce these types of steels a sophisticated processing line is needed. It is worthy to note that such lines are very expensive and may cost in excess of $250 million. The problem in applying these new ductile, high strength steels is that creating a new processing line for small volumes of steel is costly and often can only be justified if very large volumes of the steel will actual be used by a group of customers.

  3. kaltaris June 13, 2011 at 6:55 pm

    So…wait…instead of heating for a long time and then cooling, heat for a short time and then cool…seems to me like someone might have already tried this before :P

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