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Prestigious Metallurgy Award Recognises Influential Research On The Design Of Ferritic Stainless Steels

23 Jul 2015




























July 2015, London: A multi-disciplinary research team from Germany and the Czech Republic has won the 2015 Charles Hatchett Award. The Award is made annually to the best research paper on the science and technology of niobium and its alloys. The winning paper describes an innovative approach to the metallurgical design of ferritic stainless steels.  Using a novel and unique niobium strengthening mechanism, these steels can be used in power plant to enable more efficient electricity generation.


The annual Award, now in its 37th year, is sponsored by CBMM (Companhia Brasileira de Metalurgia e Mineração). The first ever paper, on ferritic stainless steels, to win the Charles Hatchet Award was way back in 1989; recognising innovative work in Japan. Now a new winning paper, in this strategically important field in 2015 recognises the growing role and importance of ferritic stainless steels in a wide range of applications. Ferritic stainless steels are used in home appliances, by industry, as part of building structures and in transport applications. They offer a lower cost alternative to some other types of stainless steels, and have useful properties such as corrosion and abrasion resistance and are less susceptible to fatigue in certain applications.


The 2015 Charles Hatchett Award winning paper focuses on ferritic stainless steels used in high temperature applications. The paper describes a novel approach to the design of ferritic stainless steels, strengthened with niobium-containing intermetallic phases. These new alloys enable higher operating temperatures in power plant, thus allowing more efficient electricity generation, reducing CO2 emissions. The improved ferritic stainless steels provide a combination of both long-term steam oxidation resistance and high temperature strength, properties which are essential when operating under the extreme conditions necessary for maximum efficiency.


The award winners, from the Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH, Institute for Energy and Climate Change in Germany, the Czech Technical University in Prague and Outokumpu VDM Germany, were presented with their medals at the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3) dinner held in London on the 14th July.

The following day, the lead author, Dr Bernd Kuhn from the Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH, Institute for Energy and Climate Change in Germany, presented the winning paper at a seminar held at the Royal Society of Chemistry. The international seminar “The Role of Niobium in Advanced Ferritic Stainless Steels - Building a Sustainable Future”, sponsored by CBMM, was attended by stainless steel experts from both academia and industry. It examined how niobium-bearing ferritic stainless steels can have a simultaneous impact on technical advancement and sustainability in a range of applications such as buildings, power generation and the automotive industry.


The seminar was chaired by Dr Naila Croft from Beta Technology, the UK based company which manages the annual award process on behalf of CBMM. As International Coordinator of the Award, Dr Croft commented “We were delighted to host over 50 delegates in London for our important technical seminar. Our speakers provided an insight into the benefits that ferritic stainless steels deliver to a range of everyday applications, including exhaust systems and elevators. The seminar was truly international with delegates from as far afield as China and Brazil, and we also took the opportunity to launch a new educational video about niobium’s important role in the history and ongoing development of all categories of stainless steel”.


Marcos Stuart, CBMM’s Director of Technology also noted “This international award is part of our activities to recognise excellence in research on niobium and its applications. We have seen an increasing role for ferritic stainless steels in a broad range of applications and this is a growing market for us. Niobium-bearing ferritic stainless steels with enhanced properties can bring both environmental benefits and cost savings to end users. As an example, we have recently seen how these steels, when used in sugar cane processing plants, can increase the lifetime of equipment, reduce maintenance requirements and this not only brings cost savings, but also delivers environmental benefits”.


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