Cola Bainite Steel process - Rollers carried steel sheets through flames as hot as 1100 degrees Celsius and then into a cooling liquid bath. The typical temperature and length of time for hardening varies by industry, most steels are heat-treated at around 900 degrees Celsius for a few hours. Others are heated at similar temperatures for days. Cola's entire process took less than 10 seconds.
The resulting steel was 7 percent stronger than martensitic advanced high-strength steel. [Martensitic steel is so named because the internal microstructure is entirely composed of a crystal form called martensite.] Cola further claimed that his steel could be drawn – that is, thinned and lengthened – 30 percent more than martensitic steels without losing its enhanced strength.
Cola's process forms martensite microstructure inside the steel. But they also saw another form called bainite microstructure, scattered with carbon-rich compounds called carbides.
"Off the shelf" plate and tubing can be made into Flash Bainite. Triple the strength of Chrome Moly, Flash 4130 is pound for pound 2X stronger than the best aluminums. If you are "lightweighting" structure with aluminum, Flash Bainite will do a better job at less weight and lower cost.
* 20,000 ton per year capacity by July, 2011
The most obvious use of Bainitic High Strength Steel (BHSS) is in sheet form in the transportation industry. The increased ductility of a bainitic microstructure will allow stamping of part configurations never possible with existing martensitic Advanced High Strength Steels (AHSS). A significant number of complex stamped components will soon be manufactured in much thinner gages of steel due to the excellent formability of BHSS. Imagine an automobile whose stiffness has been increased yet weighs hundreds of pounds less.
Another area of increased use will be in the field of civil engineering. Steel building components can be manufactured to rely on much higher tensile strengths than previously thought possible. Wall studs, bar stock, angle iron, and I-beams are just some of the shapes that can be converted to bainite using this process. Significantly lighter roof trusses could be completely constructed from thinner gauge bainitic members that rely on greater tensile strengths. Tensioning components such as wire and re-bar may positively impact the bridge and highway building industries. Just imagine how much less steel could be used in a suspension bridge if architects could rely on much higher tensile strength cables.
Other areas as diverse as household appliances to stronger armor plating to space craft will be able to take advantage of Bainitic High Strength Steel.