“Nanostructured materials – cutting-edge area in the development of metallurgy”

I.V. Gorynin

Federal State Unitary Enterprise of the Central Research Institute of Construction Materials “Prometheus”,

 St. Petersburg, Russia


Academician I.V. GoryninAll major industries – engineering, shipbuilding, automobiles, agriculture, etc., are steel consuming. Therefore, metallurgy and materials science, creating new materials and technologies, define the progressive directional development of the society.


The modern approach requires the use of cheap, environmentally friendly and cost-effective materials and energy efficient technologies in various industries. In this regard, despite the enormous range of already developed and successfully used construction materials of various levels of strength and doping, the most popular are the low-alloy structural steel, characterized by the simultaneous combination of high strength, ductility, toughness and fracture endurance.


It is important to note that the traditional approaches that are commonly used in materials science, to create this kind of materials can not be applied: increasing the strength characteristics is usually associated with reduced viscosity and fracture endurance. In this regard, when developing new economical and reliable steel, the desired properties of the material are provided through the management of the structure formation. To date, the concept is developed of creating new structural steel of increased reliability, the production of which uses elements of nanotechnology. The creation of the elements of the nanostructure in the massive industrial steel billets has already been approved, which due to special technology can consistently grind steel structure down to nanometer level (200-500 nanometers).


This direction is far from being exhausted, there are being created increasingly powerful tools for severe plastic deformation. In future, this will completely eliminate the use of expensive alloying elements and associated harmful processes and will allow to create products with a unique level of consumer characteristics, unattainable by other methods. The next step in this direction would be crystallization of the management processes of metal, precision thermal effects.


However, at the present stage metallurgy requires enormous expenditures of energy, extraction of raw materials – coal, ore, use of expensive alloying elements, pre-processing, etc. The annual production of iron ore in the world currently stands at one billion tons of iron – about 500 million tons of steel (rolled) – 640 million tons (including stainless – about 20 million tons). Production is accompanied by a large amount of harmful emissions into the atmosphere, water, contaminates the soil. In the production of materials in the world, there are employed tens of million of people. Life expectancy of workers at the metallurgical enterprises, as well as residents of nearby regions is 60-80% of the average life expectancy. Extraction, processing and production of ferrous and nonferrous metals, including all production stages, refer to environmentally hazardous. All this involves a great human intervention in the face of our planet, destroy the ecological environment and leads to environmental degradation in general, degrading habitual conditions, and hence the quality of life, leading to global climate change. At the same time, many manufactured materials no longer meet the increasing demands because of the expansion of areas of operation of structures under extreme conditions – in the Arctic regions, offshore.


In connection with this new directions of development of metallurgy are one of the decisive factors for the economy of the country as a whole. Development of a number of new technologies, including nanotechnology, should change the traditional metallurgy: mining, coke production, blast furnace, converter processes. In future, the possibility opens to replace non-ecological metallurgical processes for new methods of obtaining materials and products. Even today, there is every reason to believe that in the future it will be able to create new environmentally friendly methods of the production of materials, other than the traditional methods of metallurgy, based on nanotechnology: "top-down", based on the principles of nanostructuring, and "bottom-up" through the creation of manufactured products from individual components, for example, by making high-speed three-dimensional parts of complex configuration and structure using powders sintered or alloyed by laser beam through the layer-selective capacity of material under computer control.


And new breakthrough approaches in materials science will provide humanity fundamentally new products, having the highest quality of scale and created by dozens of times fewer workers, and new production will be ecologically clean. The development and use of new efficient materials will significantly reduce the metal consumption of structures, increase the life of their work and, consequently, limit the extent of metallurgical production and, consequently, improve the environment on the planet.


Thus, further development of material science provides an opportunity for the foreseeable future to replace the classical metallurgy, taking into consideration its major problems in economic, energy, environmental and social direction, with fundamentally new processes. These processes will have a significant impact on both the global economy and the social image of society.

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