Researchers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and Florida State University are working on a new process to create steel that is lighter, stronger, and more flexible than what is currently available. The technology uses magnetism to interact with electrons in the steel, ordering its subatomic structure to give it enhanced qualities.
According to ORNL, the technology could open new avenues for major alloy development activities and materials research. This technique increases the processing tools available to materials scientists to customize performance and achieve major improvements in properties without the need of adding expensive alloy additions.
The research could result in benefits to the steel, heat-treating, forging, welding, casting, and chemical and cast iron industries, as well as having significant promise for breakthroughs in the nanomaterials technology area. It could also result in materials with improved machinability for jobshops.