as enablers of a more sustainable future
This article was originally published on the December 2022 issue of the Stainless Steel World Americas Journal.
To talk about sustainability in the steel industry is not an easy task, as the perception of value can change quite a lot depending on which side of the supply chain one is on. The three main pillars of sustainability are society, environment, and economy; and the impact generated by the steel making process affects all of them. This is why the industry has been under scrutiny over the last few years, and technological developments will be needed to increase the quality of steel making processes, therefore increasing quality of life in the world for future generations.
Diving deeper on this topic, an interesting approach to improve the technical performance of stainless steels is the combination of proper alloying strategy with the best practices in the steel shop. One example is the usage of stabilizing elements, such as Niobium (Nb), as an alternative to the classical production routes with Batch Annealing’s (BAF). As it is well known, the production of non-stabilized ferritic grades can lead to the generation of martensite in the hot rolling process, which later will require long anneal-ing processes, consuming a substantial amount of energy, time, and money, and generating a lot of emissions. Once Niobium (Nb) is added, or other stabilizing elements, to these ferritic grades (AISI 430, for example), martensite will no longer be formed in the hot rolling process, and therefore it is possible to optimize the production route, reducing annealing time and the carbon footprint per ton of steel. This is an interesting way of looking at technical developments, with sustainability as a target!
From the application perspective
Podcast to learn more