OCAS (OnderzoeksCentrum voor de Aanwending van Staal - in English: Research Centre for the Application of Steel) is an advanced, market-oriented research centre providing steel and metal-based products, services and solutions to metal processing companies worldwide. From a legal point of view, OCAS is a daughter company of FINOCAS and ArcelorMittal, FINOCAS being a joint-venture between the Flemish Region and ArcelorMittal Belgium. OCAS has a highly qualified team of over 140 researchers and engineers with an international orientation. The laboratories have a unique range of analysis and simulation tools, and even complete lab scale steel production facilities.
Within ArcelorMittal, OCAS is known as ArcelorMittal Global R&D Gent and is as such in charge of all ArcelorMittal R&D projects within the market of general industry for flat carbon steel. 90% of OCAS’ R&D activities are linked to 3 key themes: energy, environment and the durability of materials. OCAS develops new steel grades and coatings for the following markets:energy pipes and tubular products, heavy plates, white, brown, yellow and green goods, appliances, metal processing and construction.
OCAS is equipped with state-of-the-art R&D tools and facilities in its laboratories in Zelzate and Gent-Zwijnaarde (Belgium), for example to test sour properties and H-embrittlement of steels, which will be used in this project. As a research centre for ArcelorMittal steel product development, OCAS possesses pilot scale facilities for casting (from a few grams up to 100 kg), rolling and several heat treatments as well as a broad range of characterisation tools, both for mechanical properties as for standard microstructural characterisation. In particular, OCAS has developed methodologies for accelerated screening, processing and characterization of metal alloys, which will be used in this project for screening a large number of generic alloys, in order to get a better understanding of the intermetallic precipitation strengthening.
Aubert & Duval (A&D) is a company involving twelve industrial sites in France, member of the metallurgical and mining group ERAMET. Aubert & Duval is among the world-leading suppliers of high-performance metal alloys and semi-manufactured parts, of critical importance to strategic industries. Aerospace, Defense industries, Energy production (nuclear, turbines, oil & gas) are the main market for Aubert & Duval. Aubert & Duval is an integrated producer, from melting activities (in steel and super-alloys), to rolling & forging of semi-products (open die forging and close die forging) including machining of semi-finished products or parts. These capabilities rely on very specific facilities for melting (unique VIM and VAR capacities in EU), and forging (hydraulic press, largest close die forging press in EU).
Aubert & Duval’s scope of activity is wide, covering both the raw materials melting processes, i.e. alloy making, and the full array of processes that can be applied to thermo-mechanical transformation and heat treatment of alloys. Aubert & Duval’s profile fits perfectly for the project as it is an experienced special steels producer and particularly for stainless maraging steels. Regular productions of 15-5PH, PH13-8Mo steels and derivatives for the aerospace industry are performed in a large variety of items, from long products to closed die parts. Its R&D is continuously developing new steels with improved mechanical resistance such as MLX17® and ML340® and gained experience on past projects on manufacturing routes for these new alloys.In addition, A&D has the availability of a significant infrastructure and technical equipment relevant to the proposed work (steel shop, special vacuum melting shop, vacuum remelting furnaces, hydraulic presses for open die forging, close die forging press and multiple facilities for heat treatment, machining & mechanical testing).
Liebherr-Aerospace is a leading supplier of systems for the aviation industry and has more than five decades of experience in this field. The range of aviation equipment produced by Liebherr for the civil and military sectors includes flight control and actuation systems, landing gear, air management systems as well as gears and gearboxes. Liebherr-Aerospace Lindenberg GmbH, Liebherr’s center of competence for flight control and actuation systems, landing gears, gears and gearboxes, develops, manufactures and provides customer services for systems and components to many aircraft and helicopter programs.
Through its experience in the design and production of landing gear systems for modern aircraft, Liebherr has reached a high level of product knowledge and production competences in high quality landing gears (EMBRAER ERJ170/190, COMAC ARJ21, C919 BOMBARDIER C-SERIES, AIRBUS A350 Nose Landing Gear). Liebherr will support the project through its aerospace expertise as end user. Thanks to its own serial production facilities, Liebherr has real scale production equipment available such as furnaces, milling, turning and drilling machines and required tooling to assess the major steps of the production process of a future stainless landing gear.
The Steel Institute (IEHK) of RWTH Aachen University (Germany) is one of Europe’s leading institutes in the field of metallurgy, materials science and engineering. The institute is headed by Prof. Dr.-Ing. Ulrich Krupp and is active in teaching and fundamental research work on metallic materials. IEHK is an integrative steel research department spanning from metallurgy over processing to final application and various failure and corrosion topics. The department has participated in various projects on the design, development and optimization of advanced high strength steels, cooperated with international research institutes and industries. In IEHK’s ongoing research activities on material design and process optimization Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME) tools, such as finite element method (FEM), phase field, thermodynamics are combined with innovative experimental characterization techniques, such as transmission electron microscopy (TEM), atom probe tomography (APT), synchrotron X-Ray Diffraction (SYXRD) and small-angle neutron scattering (SANS).
A. Zimmermann, Alternative alloying concept for hot tool steels – substitution of carbides by intermetallic phases, Ph. D thesis, RWTH Aachen University (2017), ISBN: 978-3-8440-5300-5.
Kies, Fabian, et al. “Enhanced precipitation strengthening of multi-principal element alloys by κ-and B2-phases.” Materials & Design 198 (2021): 109315.
Montanuniversität Leoben (MUL)
The Department of Physical Metallurgy and Materials Testing (DMW), more precisely at the Chair of Physical Metallurgy and Metallic Materials (CPM), of the Montanuniversität Leoben (MUL) had a sustainable scientific improvement in the atomic characterisation as well as in the development and optimisation of many high performance materials based on metallic and intermetallic matrices, such as steels, titanium aluminides, refractory metals and high entropy alloys. As such they are perfectly suited to partner in this project for the advanced microstructural characterisations, in particular APT. By purchasing a new dual beam microscope in 2013, which is equipped with both electron- and ion-column and an electron backscatter detector, the infrastructure of the CPM was additionally improved. By combined application of the focused ion beam (FIB) technique and transmission Kikuchi diffraction (TKD), a trend-setting scientific improvement in terms of site-specific specimen preparation for APT samples was recently achieved by the CPM. The CPM is focused on the development and characterisation of advanced functional and structural materials. In this research field ground-breaking insights in the structure as well as in the chemical composition of materials can be gained by means of APT at the atomic scale. The chair is equipped with metallographic methods for specimen preparation, light optical microscopy, XRD, SEM with EDS and wavelength-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, EBSD, a focused ion beam (FIB) microscope for site-specific sample preparation for TEM and APT specimens, equipped with an EDS and EBSD detector, APT system LEAP 3000X HR, APT data evaluation.