Technical Paper

Niobium-bearing structural steels for the 21ST century

Niobium Bearing Structural Steels

Value-added applications of niobium (Nb) microalloyed steels continue to be developed for commercial implementation to meet increased material demands and improved properties for 21st century structural applications. These applications demand Nb-bearing steels that deliver improved toughness, fracture and fire resistance and weldability. Such applications include medium and jumbo beam, boiler, bridge, container, heavy equipment, long product, pressure vessel, ship, storage tank and windtower applications. Steel producers are challenged to develop microalloyed steel grades that cost effectively meet end user demands for higher strength at thinner cross sections, better low temperature toughness to resist brittle fracture in building, pressure vessel and ship structures, sustain higher loads per unit area in earthquake and hurricane zone product applications, demonstrate improved fire-resistance in buildings, bridges and tunnels and provide overall improved weldability. Niobium is often a key element to achieve these results. This paper will discuss Nb market opportunities and key operational practices required to successfully melt, cast and roll these high strength steel grades. Niobium process metallurgy is important to leverage the ability of niobium to obtain ultra-fine grain, homogeneous structural steel microstructures with superior mechanical properties. In addition, with the ever-growing concern regarding the environment and resource sustainability, the application of advanced high strength Nb-bearing steels for both long product and structural applications have been shown to reduce resource usage and improve the carbon footprint. Recent Nb-microalloyed steel applications provide more efficient product design, reduce steelmaking emissions and reduce energy consumption. (AU)
Technical Paper (PDF 989.05 KB)