ArcelorMittal’s Global R&D centre in Maizières-lès-Metz (France) has established a new service to provide automakers with samples of automotive steel products. The sample coupons give carmakers an initial feeling for the steel, and its coatings, and enable them to carry out their first physical testing of the product. ArcelorMittal can also provide carmakers with material cards which allow OEMs to virtually simulate steel’s behaviour. A new generation of material cards specifically designed for advanced high strength steels (AHSS) has just been launched. It contains additional data which can be used to predict the fracture behaviour of these steels during a crash simulation. Both services are available to customers based in Europe.
ArcelorMittal’s goal is to meet customer needs by being very agile to their demands explains David Cottens, director of Advanced Automotive Engineering for ArcelorMittal Global R&D: “The sample and material cards services help OEMs to speed up the process of approving new materials and coatings. Both the physical samples and material card data give carmakers a good understanding of how the steel will behave in a production vehicle.”
With this new service, ArcelorMittal can offer customers around 70 unique sample configurations which combine different steels and coatings. Each coupon has a standard size (560 by 600 mm) and can be shipped direct to the customer within 48 hours of a request. Different laboratory processing or additional treatments can be performed on demand.
“Our samples are primarily designed to give the customer an initial ‘feel’ for the product,” says David Cottens. “They can also be used to perform welding or forming tests. The test coupons also facilitate the work of ArcelorMittal’s resident engineers and automotive customer teams in helping OEMs identify the correct steel and coating for their particular challenge.”
Material cards provide a huge amount of virtual information about the steel and its behaviour in a range of situations. The first material cards were created over thirty years ago when automotive crash simulation first began. “With the emergence of AHSS (that is, steels with a mechanical strength above 900 megapascal or MPa), we incorporated parameters which enable us to predict fractures into these cards,” explains Yves Drouadaine, a research engineer in ArcelorMittal’s Steel Solutions Design team. “Customers can use this information in their own crash simulations to design safe structures with AHSS. It allows OEMs to significantly reduce the number of physical crash tests they must perform, leading to substantial cost and time savings.”
The material cards are developed by ArcelorMittal’s Global R&D teams in Maizières (France) and East Chicago (USA) and cover the requirements of all carmakers, wherever they are located. The experimental tests required to build and validate the material cards are carried out by the teams in Maizières and East Chicago.
Material cards allow OEMs to identify and mitigate fracture risks in advanced high strength steels
“Our aim is to offer customers data that remains compatible with the modelling rules they use for full vehicle crash simulations,” says Yves Drouadaine. “This is not easy as the physics governing fracture mechanisms require considerably greater precision. To ensure ArcelorMittal’s material cards are accurate, we have taken a very pragmatic approach. For example, if the calibration of parameters is carried out on a small specimen, the material card is validated on typical automotive structures. Those structures are modelled in accordance with the rules applied by different carmakers.”
ArcelorMittal has also used this data to contribute to the improvement of crash simulation software notes Yves Drouadaine: “We have provided the software editor with ideas they can use to modify their computation methods. This has reduced the level of discrepancies between simulations and the behaviour of the steel in real life.”
Requests for sample coupons, material cards, and prototype material can be made through the OEM’s customer team or resident engineer. All customer teams can provide a list of available samples and material cards.