“Third-generation” steel being developed for lighter weight vehicles

A third-generation steel being developed at the Missouri University of Science and Technology in the United States could help automotive manufacturers roll out more fuel-efficient vehicles, according to Ronald O’Malley, director of the university’s Kent D. Peaslee Steel Manufacturing Research Centre where the development of this new steel, known as a “third-generation advanced high-strength steel,” is under way.

“We are currently refining the steel design to achieve ‘Gen 3′ mechanical property goals while also maintaining manufacturability,” he said. “This is one of the most promising generation-three steels I have seen,” O’Malley added.

What is called first-generation steel is most commonly used in today’s cars and trucks. A second-generation product has been developed and it is stronger and lighter weight than the first-generation material, but it is too costly to produce and more difficult to manufacture. “The third-generation steel should be lighter, easier to make and strong enough to address automakers’ safety concerns,” O’Malley said. “Automakers must make light-weight vehicles without sacrificing safety,” he explained.

A committee of representatives from four steel manufacturers, including the world’s largest, ArcelorMittal, are overseeing the project.