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Fundamental Research

Understanding steel as a nano-material

Mikrostruktur eines perlitischen Stahls unter dem Rastertransmissionselektronenmikroskop (STEM) des MPIE. Mit einer Zugfestigkeit von ca. 7 Gigapascal ist Perlit das widerstandsfähigste Material, das sich massenhaft herstellen lässt. (Copyright: Dr. Aleksander Kostka, MPIE)

The microstructure of a perlitic steel under the scanning transmission electron microscope (STEM) at the MPIE. (Dr. Aleksander Kostka, Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung GmbH)

Gaining knowledge on the structure of materials and their fundamental relationships in nature is one of the main tasks of science and research. Fundamental scientific research is of particular value here: it is the starting point for technical innovations and for a sustainable development of economy and society. It involves the scientific selection and testing of physical, chemical and biological phenomena and is only indirectly linked to economic aims.

In the material sciences, fundamental research seeks completely new concepts and material components. For the steel industry, this is of extreme importance– in the optimisation and new development of steels, particularly because of the constantly increasing need for integrated material solutions in view of new application potentials and the pressure to reduce the amounts of expensive alloying elements. Thanks to modern fundamental research that understands steel as a nano-material and can examine it down to the atomic level it is possible to come up with completely new potential alloying developments based on physics. As a result of this knowledge-based approach, the strengths of the material steel can be exploited in a customised manner.


Text: Yasmin Ahmed Salem (Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung GmbH)

Header: © Frank Vinken