New steel ideal for lightweight, rigid designs

A new stainless steel has been developed that offers ultra-high strength combined with good formability, corrosion resistance and a good surface finish.

Sandvik Materials Technology's 'Nanoflex' stainless steel is ideally suited to mechanical applications where lightweight, rigid designs are required. According to Sandvik, the material's high modulus of elasticity combined with extreme strength, can result in thinner and even lighter components than those made from aluminium and titanium.

Nanoflex is already being used in medical devices such as surgical needles and dental tools. Other expected areas of use are in sports equipment and lightweight chassis applications.

The strength and surface properties of Nanoflex could also see it replace hard-chromed alloy steels used by the automotive industry. In these cases, the environmentally-unfriendly hard chromising process can be eliminated. Also, the precision hollow bar delivery condition of Nanoflex means a cost saving benefit for slot-drilled components.

Tensile strengths are between 1,700MPa and 2,000MPa. Elongation is around 7% and hardness is between 45 and 58 HRC.

Despite a high hardness factor, the material displays excellent forming properties. Cold forming operations such as bending, cutting, turning and grinding are easy to perform. After reaching a desired shape, a simple low temperature heat treatment gives the material its high strength without distorting the work piece.

Good corrosion resistance means no corrosion protection treatment is required and yet cosmetic and functional finishes for different applications can be obtained. The material also displays good welding properties.

Tom Shelley

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