Extending the Lifetime of Steel Components

Copyright: © Wirtschaftsvereinigung Stahl

The Department of Ferrous Metallurgy at RWTH Aachen University received the Steel Innovation Prize in the category “Research and Development” for the collaborative project HiPerComp (High Performance Components).


Whether in climate protection, architecture or vehicle technology: steel serves a number of purposes in different areas of life. Research and development in the steel sector open up new possibilities for uses of steels and contribute to boosting the economy an achieving progress.

Against this backdrop, the Steel Innovation Prize has now been awarded for the 10th time. As part of the Berlin Steel Dialogue, the Federal Minister of Education of Education and Research, Professor Johanna Wanka, presented the prize to the winning team.

Margarita Bambach, research assistant at the Department of Ferrous Metallurgy, received the prize on behalf of the HiPerComp project, which was realized in collaboration with the Gear Research Centre at Technical University Munich, the Institute of Materials Science and Engineering at TU Kaiserslautern, and the Foundation Institute of Materials Science IPW, Bremen.

Increased Performance and Reliability of Highly Stressed Components

Highly stressed drive-train components such as gear wheels of large-scale transmissions are often subject to failure due to rolling contact fatigue, which can result in premature facility failure. This is frequently due to micro-cracks originating in non-metallic inclusions in the structure. The approach taken so far to increase component lifetime by increasing the purity of the utilized materials, however, is technologically problematic and economically inefficient.

In their interdisciplinary collaboration, the involved university institutes took a completely different approach to address this problem, based on the idea to increase the damage tolerance of materials by achieving material states with high strengthening capability. Local deformation of the material in areas with non-metallic inclusions results then in a strengthening of these critical locations. In this way, crack formation and propagation can be prevented.


Form left to right: Federal Minister Prof. Johanna Wanka, Carolin Wickborn (TU Munich), Margarita Bambach (RWTH Aachen), Hendrik Kramer (TU Kaiserslautern), Dr. Holger Surm (Foundation Institute of Materials Science, Bremen), and moderator Ranga Yogeshwar.