Ultra-high strength steel is a complex material with a selected chemical composition which is obtained from precisely controlled heating and cooling process. This steel has high tensile strength of more than 500 MPa, making it suitable for cold forming of structural components. Various mechanisms are used to strengthen the material and to achieve strength, ductility, toughness, and fatigue properties. Ultra-high strength steel is a lightweight and engineered steel, designed to meet current challenges for stringent regulations on emission reduction at reasonable costs.
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Based on the product type, ultra-high strength steel is classified into multiphase, dual phase, complex phase, martensitic, transformation-induced plasticity (TRIP), and twinning-induced plasticity (TWIP). In terms of application, the ultra-high strength steel market is bifurcated into automotive and aerospace & defense. This steel helps attain considerable weight reduction of vehicles in a cost-effective way. It is used in different applications depending up on the requirement.
The automotive industry employs ultra-high strength steel in the automotive industry to achieve improved passenger safety and reduction of body weight of vehicles to increase fuel efficiency, which reduces emission of harmful gases. This has increased the development of ultra-high strength steel having high tensile strength. Components used to make this ultra-high strength steel are less thick, thus reducing the overall weight of the vehicle. Dual phase and TRIP ultra-high strength steels are used in crash zones of vehicles due to their high energy absorption and large elongation. Dual phase steel has high cyclic resistance and prevents initiation of fatigue cracks. Martensitic steel is used in the passenger compartment of a car for structural elements, resulting in improved safety performance. Martensitic steel has high tensile strength which makes it suitable for the cold forming of structural components. TRIP steel has better formability in conjunction with greater component strength.
Ultra-high strength steel is also used in the defense industry. For instance, blast resistant application, especially for naval ship hulls requires fragment penetration resistance, high stretch ductility, high strength and toughness. This steel is also used to make the body and fittings of missiles due to its light weight and ability to withstand pressure. In motorsport cars, ultra-high strength steel is used in chassis parts and drive shafts where static and fatigue performance is required.
Consumption of dual phase ultra-high strength steel is anticipated to increase during the forecast period. In terms of regions, the ultra-high strength steel market in Asia Pacific is expected to witness the highest growth rate due to the increasing production of automobiles in this region. Japan is anticipated to drive the market in Asia Pacific owing to the presence of major players. Rise in the production of automobiles in Korea and China is also expected to boost the ultra-high strength steel market in Asia Pacific. Aviation and defense industries are expected to consume a major bulk of ultra-high strength steel during the forecast period. Long life-span of the steel and demand for minimal maintenance are key factors driving the demand for ultra-high strength steel.
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Key players operating in global ultra-high strength steel market include Schuler Inc., ArcelorMittal Group, Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation, Nucor Corporation, Tata Steel, Usui Kokusai Sangyo Kaisha Ltd., Aubert & Duval, Tenaris, JFE Steel Corporation, Baosteel Group, and Shougang Jingtang United Iron & Steel Co. Ltd.
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