Steel Just Got Stronger
The Flash Bainite Process developed by Bainite Steel.
The most common materials are often presumed to have reached technological maturation—meaning that further advances are either not achievable or economically feasible. However, breakthroughs continue to occur, even with familiar material technologies.
Bainitic High Strength Steel (BHSS) is one such recent innovation. Developed by Detroit entrepreneur Gary Cola, the so-called “Flash Bainite” process renders a material seven percent stronger and 30 percent more ductile than existing high-strength steel. The key is the use of higher temperature ovens for a much shorter amount of time—1,100 C versus 900, and for 10 seconds as opposed to several hours.
Researchers at Ohio State University have corroborated Cola’s invention. "We think that, because this new process is so fast with rapid heating and cooling, the carbides don't get a chance to dissolve completely within austenite at high temperature, so they remain in the steel and make this unique microstructure containing bainite, martensite and carbides.”
Flash Bainite steel will likely find its first application in automobiles, and will eventually be used in high-performance buildings. Its high strength and ability to be lengthened and thinned beyond other steels will allow the design of lighter, more efficient, and less energy-intensive structures.