Hot new alloys
2006 R&D 100 Winner
Heat-resistant alloys such as cast austenitic stainless steels are commonly used for process equipment in the chemical, petrochemical, heat-treating, and metals-processing industries. These applications, however, continue to drive performance, durability, and use at higher temperatures, whereas economics tries to force the cost of such alloys lower.
To meet all of these needs, researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tenn., Duraloy Technologies Inc., Scottdale, Pa., and Nucor Sheet Mill Group, Crawfordsville, Ind., have developed TMA 6301 and TMA 4701: New Heat-Resistant Alloys Developed by Computer-Aided Alloy Design.
These new alloys are computationally designed cast austenitic stainless steel compositions with improved high- temperature creep strength and cost equal to or lower than existing competitor alloys. Due to their increased creep strengths, the new alloys can be used at higher temperatures and for longer times without failure, resulting in energy cost savings.
This is the first time that a computer-aided methodology has been used to design new alloys. Due to the more efficient sampling of composition space possible by using this computer-aided methodology, the time required for the development of these alloys was reduced from the typical six to 10 years with conventional methods to about three years.
Originally published in R&D Magazine, September, 2006