The alloying element manganese is employed in steels for several purposes, mainly the stable fixation of sulfur and thus the avoidance of hot shortness, for controlling phase transformations of the supercooled austenite, and for solid solution strengthening. Since long manganese is also known as an austenite forming element that can be used for austenite stabilization and hence for creating austenitic steels. The Hadfield steel of the late 19th century is an early example of that kind.
At the end of the 20th century, the steel industry was challenged by light-weight demands of the automotive industry and the threat of steel substitution in car body applications. The race for a severe inter-material competition was started, leading to the development of Advanced High Strength Steels.
Many new steels have in common that their microstructures can no longer be sufficiently described on the μm – scale but a full description has to consider structure features in some cases even down to the near atomic scale. The processing of these steels needs the close control of phase transformations, the partitioning of carbon between concurrent phases with different solubilities, and the control of segregation effects.
A joint research group at RWTH Aachen University and at the Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung in Düsseldorf hosted the 2nd International Conference on high manganese steels HMnS2014 in Aachen, Germany. The HMnS 2014 focused on all advanced steels having manganese concentrations between 3 and 30 mass%. The topics comprised both fundamental materials physics and engineering issues. In 10 topical sessions, the state-of-the-art of this fascinating group of steels was discussed, bringing together ideas and challenges for future research.
The manuscripts in this special issue of steel research international on High Manganese Steels, guest-edited by Wolfgang Bleck, present some highlights from the conference.
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Inspired by high-entropy alloys, in this article Dierk Raabe et al. discuss the design of steels that are based on high configurational entropy for stabilizing a single-phase solid solution matrix.
In this article by David K. Matlock et al. a composite model with different assumed flow behaviors for the individual microstructural constituents and stability parameters for the metastable austenite transformation is presented and shown to provide design insight into the development of third-generation advanced high strength steels with a wide spectrum of tensile properties.
The impact toughness of medium-Mn transformation-induced plasticity-aided steels with bainitic ferrite and/or martensite structure matrices produced by isothermal transformation process is investigated by Koh-ichi Sugimoto et al. for automotive body applications.