Research press release


Nature Communications

Steel production: Towards a perfect cast



今回、Dianzhong Liたちは、酸素と軽金属が形成する化合物に基づく不純物によって材料の流動が起こり、鋳造時に成分が不均一に分布するという機構を発見した。また、最大650トンの大型鋳鋼品を用いた実験では、鋼の酸素含有量を減らすことで偏析を避けることができることが分かった。従って、酸素濃度の制御は今後、鋼の製造で品質を向上させる有望な方法となる可能性がある。

A mechanism responsible for the degradation of steels during casting is reported this week in Nature Communications. The discovery may lead to changes in steel manufacture that could result in practical improvements to the 50 million tons of ingots, heavy plates and castings produced annually.

Steels are alloys made from a range of different elements. A major fabrication issue causing early failure is the nonuniform distribution, or segregation, of these elements in the material during solidification. Whilst some causes for segregation are known, for example convection during the casting process, it remains an issue for steel manufacturing and the full explanation behind its occurrence is unclear.

Dianzhong Li and colleagues have now uncovered a mechanism where impurities based on compounds formed by oxygen and lighter metals create a material flow that drives compositional variation during casting. In experiments using large steel casts of up to 650 tons in weight, segregation could be avoided by reducing the amount of oxygen in the steel. Controlling oxygen concentration could therefore be a promising method to improve the quality of steels produced in the future.

doi: 10.1038/ncomms6572

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