UHC steel: New material for lightweight construction

This piston pin made of ultra-high carbon steel is light, but still has a high strength. (Source: IFUM)

IFUM/IFW | High-strength, lightweight steel at low price: UHC steel could replace conventional steel and reduce the weight of motor components like piston pins. Scientists and industrial companies are jointly working on a process chain for the novel lightweight material.

Aluminium alloy lightweight structural steels, also called ultra-high carbon (UHC) steels, have a ten percent lower density than today’s high-performance steels. Consequently, they have a lighter weight – at comparable strength. The drawback: Machining of UHC steels is not so easy.

Within the scope of the project "IPROM", researchers at the Institute of Forming Technology and Machines (IFUM) carried out a complete material characterization of the lightweight structural steel, in order to examine its behaviour during the forming process. The result: Higher forces are needed to form the novel material. Due to the low thermal conductivity, high temperatures are developed in the tool during the machining process. Moreover, UHC steel is quite brittle.

Forming and machining of UHC steel is difficult when using conventional tools and manufacturing processes. In cooperation with IFW and project partners from industry, IFUM has therefore simulated and developed a completely new process route – using the example of the production of piston pins (see Figure 4).

by Delil Yarcu and Mohammad Kazhai

Image gallery for this article

  • This piston pin made of ultra-high carbon steel is light, but still has a high strength. (Source: IFUM)
  • Research institutes and industrial companies jointly develop manufacturing methods for UHC steels. (Source: IFUM)
  • The process-independent material model shows the behaviour of the novel lightweight structural steel during the forming process. (Source: IFUM)
  • Process steps for the production of piston pins and simulation of the tool system. (Source: IFUM)
  • The project “IPROM“ stands for “Innovative Process Chain for the Production of Massive Parts Made of Novel Lightweight Structural Steel“. (Source: IFUM)
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