Development of New Martensitic Stainless Steels for Automotive Lightweight Structural Applications

The QPINOX consortium includes one industrial partner, two industrial research institutions and one university. The industrial partner (ACERINOX EUROPA) is one of the largest European producers of stainless steel, also having a long history of involvement in RFCS projects. The industrial research institutions are IMDEA MATERIALS and CSM SPA, which have a wide experience in QP processing (e.g. NEWQP and OPTIQPAP RFCS projects) and automotive steels as well as stainless steels. The academic partner is TU DELFT, which is a leader in steel research and QP microstructure development (NEWQP, OPTIQPAP, HIGHQP RFCS projects). A detailed description of each partner is given below.

Rina Consulting – Centro Sviluppo Materiali SPA (CSM SPA): CSM SPA (coordinator of this project) is a private company and leading centre for applied research founded in 1963 and located in Italy with headquarters in Rome. Its R&D activities mainly focus on the modelling and design of materials and products, the development of innovative pilot plants and reduction of environmental impact. In particular, CSM SPA has extensive experience on high temperature materials and on their analysis methodologies and testing. CSM SPA has also a large experience in the coordination of EU funded projects. CSM SPA possesses all facilities required to perform research activities within the QPINOX project i.e. vacuum induction melting for ingot production up to 80kg, hot/cold rolling pilot plant, different furnaces to perform heat treatments, standard optical metallographic facilities and image analysis, SEM and TEM with EDS, EBSD, X-ray diffraction, mechanical testing machines, welding laboratory with resistance spot welding, laser welding, MIG/MAG, as well as metallurgical modelling capabilities.

Lead Person: Dr. Ali Smith (QPINOX project coordinator) is a Senior Engineer at CSM SpA, working within the group Materials for Severe Applications.

ACERINOX EUROPA SA: Since it was founded in 1970, ACERINOX EUROPA has launched into operation one of the most complete and up-to-date industrial works in the world for stainless steel products. Palmones works has become one of the few integrated facilities of this speciality. The ACERINOX GROUP is one of the most important stainless steel manufacturer with a melting shop production of 2.324,8 tons in 2014 and a staff of 6701 employees, distributed among the Spanish, North American, South African and Malaysian plants. At present, Acerinox Europa S.A., the Palmones – Los Barrios factory has 2280 employees of whom 82 participate in the R&D Activities. The company follows policy of continuous improvement in its production facilities, supported by the development of new and improved steels and applications.

Lead Person: Mr Rafael Sanchez is the Head of the Metallurgy Laboratory at Los Barrios.

IMDEA Materials Institute (IMDEA) is a non-profit research institute (~100 employees) devoted to carry out research in Materials Science and Engineering in Madrid (Spain). IMDEA is committed to the excellence in research and to foster technology transfer to the industrial sector. IMDEA holds a well-established international reputation in the areas of processing, microstructural analysis, characterization and multiscale modelling of advanced materials for applications in transport, energy and information technology as well as on the exploration of emerging materials and processes for sustainable development. Research activities and technology transfer to industry at IMDEA is carried out within the framework of research projects funded by national or international organizations or directly through contracts with industry.

Lead Person: Dr. Ilchat Sabirov, Senior Researcher, Head of Group Physical Simulation. •

The investigations at Technische Universiteit Delft (TU DELFT) will take place in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. The research in the group includes phase transformations, precipitation, microstructural aspects of plastic deformation, recovery and recrystallisation, with special emphasis on steels. The group has access to a wide range of in-house experimental equipment, including a magnetometer, X-ray diffraction for measurement of austenite fractions, as well as SEM, LOM and X-ray photo electron spectroscopy. For the physical underpinning of the research, thermodynamic database programmes and kinetic models like Molecular Dynamics and Phase-Field Modelling are available. Equipment for local corrosion studies i.e. scanning kelvin probe and scanning electrochemical microscopy is also available.

Lead Person: Professor Maria Jesus Santofimia, Group Leader in Department of Materials Science and Engineering.