Design and Development of Lightly Alloyed Ferritic Fire-Resistant Structural Steels

Cameron T. Gross, Dieter Isheim*, Semyon Vaynman, Morris E. Fine, Yip Wah Chung

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


To improve safety in case of building fires, stricter building codes have been proposed requiring structural steels to maintain two-thirds of their room-temperature yield strength after exposure to 873 K (600 °C) for longer than 20 minutes. To address this need, we have designed lightly alloyed structural steels, employing computational thermodynamics in combination with fundamental principles of precipitation strengthening and its temperature dependence, precipitate stability, characterization by optical microscopy and atom probe tomography (APT), and mechanical testing at room and elevated temperatures. The design process resulted in low-carbon ferritic steels with small alloying additions of V, Nb, and Mo that maintain over 80 pct of room-temperature yield strength in compression, and nearly 70 pct in tension, after 2 hours of exposure at 873 K (600 °C). APT demonstrates the formation of nanoscale MX and M2X (where M = V + Nb + Mo and X = C + N) precipitates after exposure to 873 K (600 °C). The favorable high-temperature mechanical properties are discussed with a model of precipitation strengthening by detachment-stress-mediated dislocation pinning at nanoscale semi-coherent MX precipitates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)209-219
Number of pages11
JournalMetallurgical and Materials Transactions A: Physical Metallurgy and Materials Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Metals and Alloys


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