Sup3rForm at a quick glance

Optimizing 3rd Generation Quenching and Partitioning (Q&P) and medium-Mn steels to attain improved in-use properties and foster their widespread deployment in the automotive industry


Generating a comprehensive understanding on the relationship between microstructure and mechanical performance of Q&P and M-Mn steels.

The Sup3rForm project is implementing a multiscale material testing and modelling approach to identify the main damage and deformation mechanisms of these new generation steels and comprehensively understand the intrinsic relationship between their complex microstructures and critical in-use properties, such as formability, fracture toughness, fatigue and crashworthiness.

Furthermore, Sup3rForm is developing advanced experimental and numerical methods which will contribute to accurately predicting in-use properties and part performance at early design stages, reducing thus the time to market of new high-performance steel products.

Sup3rForm will demonstrate the industrial viability of Q&P and medium-Mn steels for manufacturing high added-value automotive parts at low cost and with a lower carbon footprint over the vehicle life cycle (anticipated environmental benefits are linked to the reduced component weight by downgauging, up to 20% weight reduction compared to current steel solutions).

The knowledge gained by Sup3rForm will be essential to comprehend the mechanical behaviour of existing grades and guarantee their safe implementation, as well as to guide and optimize the microstructural design of future advanced steel developments.

      Key Data

  • Start-end date: 1 July 2023 – 31 December 2026

  • Duration: 42 months

  • Funder under: Research Fund for Coal and Steel (RFCS) programme of the European Union

  • Overall budget: 2,489,252.55€

  • Reference number: 101112540

Why Sup3rForm?

To meet the Green Deal objectives of drastically reducing CO2 from transport and the increasingly stringent safety regulations in the automotive sector, there is an increasing need for lighter, more efficient, safer and economic vehicles. This is only possible by the implementation of new high-performance steel solutions, such as 3rd Generation AHSS, with higher strength and crashworthiness.

Sup3rForm activities

What are we focused on?

Formability of Q&P and M-Mn steels

Investigating the global and local formability of new Q&P and M-Mn steels, and determining the main damage and deformation mechanisms.

Fracture toughness

Performing investigations to better understand the deformation and fracture mechanisms  taking place during the fracture process in Q&P steels.


Providing further knowledge on the influence of microstructure on the fatigue resistance of Q&P and M-Mn steels.


Investigating different experimental and numerical methods for an accurate description of the spot weld performance of Q&P and M-Mn steels under both quasi-static and dynamic loads.

Crash resistance

Generating relevant insights about the crashworthiness of Q&P and M-Mn steels and the influence of microstructure on crush ductility.

Microstructural modelling of AHSS

Developing high-resolution digital microstructural models with dislocation-based crystal plasticity and damage model, to represent the complicated microstructure of Q&P and M-Mn steels and the underlying mechanisms.

Edge fracture and crash modelling

Boosting a fracture-energy criterion to predict the energy absorbed at crack nucleation and following crack propagation.

Sup3rForm objectives

  • To understand the relationship between microstructure and mechanical properties of Q&P and M-Mn steels.

  • To gain knowledge on some of the most critical in-use properties of 3rd Gen Q&P and M-Mn steels for automotive.

  • To establish time- and cost-efficient characterization methods for a rapid market uptake of new steel products.

  • To develop advanced finite element models for edge fracture and crash performance prediction.

  • To develop digital microstructural models for mechanical performance prediction.

  • To demonstrate the industrial viability of the proposed steel solutions for the production of body in white components.

  • To quantify the environmental impact of the proposed solutions.


Microstructural characterization

Characterization of in-use properties

Modelling and simulation

Industrial implementation


Relevant scientific knowledge

New 3rd generation Q&P and M-Mn steels

Successful automotive part demonstrator

New microstructural predictive models

New experimental and modelling characterization techniques for AHSS


Sup3rForm partners cover the entire value chain of the automotive industry with specific knowledge and experience in complementary fields, with a solid R&D background and experience in European multi-partner projects.

The Sup3rForm consortium, coordinated by Eurecat Technology Centre, is made up of eight partners from Austria, Finland, France, Italy, Spain and Sweden.

Eurecat is the leading Technology Centre of Catalonia, providing the industrial and business sector with differential technology and advanced expertise.

The centre offers solutions to their innovation needs and boosts their competitiveness in a fast-paced environment. It brings together the expertise of 650 professionals who generate a volume of income of 50M€ per year. Serving more than a thousand companies, Eurecat is involved in 200 projects of R&D national and international with high strategic value.

Contribution to Sup3rForm

EUT will undertake project coordination and will lead the tasks focused on fatigue, fracture toughness and edge fracture resistance characterization. EUT will be also responsible for micromechanical characterization of the investigated multiphase 3rd Gen AHSSs by means of nanoindentation and in-situ SEM testing.

The consortium CELLS manages the Spanish ALBA Synchrotron Light Source, which has currently ten operational state-of-the-art beamlines, comprising infrared, soft and hard X-rays, which are devoted mainly to biosciences, condensed matter and materials science, in particular metal and alloys have been studied in the material science powder diffraction beamline. ALBA-CELLS provides high-end technological and scientific services to more than 2400 researchers per year and to more than 75 companies. It is also co-leading the SME industry services provided by the European light sources through several European projects, such as LEAPS-INNOV or ReMade@ARI.

Contribution to Sup3rForm

ALBA Synchrotron is in charge of carrying out in-situ X-Ray diffraction experiments at the ALBA synchrotron in the studied steels to analyse in detail the evolution of stress/strain-induced retained austenite to martensite transformation during crack propagation.

voestalpine is a leading global steel and technology group with around 500 companies and locations in more than 50 countries on all five continents with it’s headquarter situated in Linz, Austria. The voestalpine group is organized into four divisions, where the steel division is the group’s largest one in terms of revenue (6.7 billion € in the 2021/22 FY). The steel division is a global market leader for manufacturing high-quality steel products such as heavy plate, steel strip and cast parts. The steel division comprises research-intensive companies and is involved in cooperations with roughly 50 universities and research institutes all over the globe.

Contribution to Sup3rForm

Within Sup3rForm project, voestalpine is providing cold-rolled steel grades referring to the 3rd generation advanced high strength steels for structure-properties investigations. In this context, voestalpine is performing the microstructural characterization of all steel grades involved in this project. Here, special emphasis is lying on the volume fraction, size and morphology of the individual phase constituents. Furthermore, voestalpine is leading the tasks related to crash performance, where the crash behaviour of the individual steel grades will be analysed in detail.

ArcelorMittal Maizières Research is ArcelorMittal’s largest research campus.

ArcelorMittal is a world leading steel maker serving all major global markets and the largest steel producer in the EU. Its research and development division, global R&D, employs around 1600 full-time researchers in its 14 worldwide research sites in 9 countries. Around 600 people are dedicated to the automotive market whose role is to adapt steel to the evolution of car industry needs.

Contribution to Sup3rForm

The role of ArcelorMittal in this project is firstly to prepare and supply the 3rd Gen AHSS steel blanks. AM is leading the tasks related to microstructural and mechanical characterization using EBSD, X-Ray diffraction and uniaxial tensile tests. AM will also work on the local formability assessment through performing V-bending tests according to VDA 238-100. Furthermore, AM will perform bending impact tests to evaluate the crash behavior of the investigated steels.

Centro Ricerche FCA (CRF) is an industrial research organization providing R&D and innovation services for the different companies of the FCA group and its automotive suppliers. The core competence of CRF is centred on land transportation and advanced technologies, materials, and processes for the aforementioned organizations. CRF is equipped with state-of-the-art laboratories for the researching, engineering, and testing of material, processes, and technologies, from the long term research up to the materials and processes validation and standardization, capable to guaranteeing a prompt transfer to the sectorial product design functions. In the project, the following CRF departments will participate – Metal Alloys and Surface Treatment, Physical and Chemical Testing, Environment and Legislation, New materials and process technologies and the Manufacturing Research Business Line

Contribution to Sup3rForm

CRF work will focus on characterizing global and local formability, understanding the influence of stress state and stress triaxiality on microstructure evolution and ductile fracture, and determining the weldability of Q&P and M-Mn steels. CRF will perform the fatigue test to obtain the relevant ε-N curves for each steel.

MA S.r.l (MA) is the automotive division of CLN Group.

MA is a leader in the production of metal parts for automotive for every type of vehicles (passenger car, light commercial vehicles, heavy truck).

Contribution to Sup3rForm

The work of MA will be focused on the virtual and experimental validation of the proposed steel solutions for manufacturing lightweight automotive parts.

MA will lead the forming simulations of the selected prototype components and the semi-industrial stamping trials.

MA will also collaborate in the implementation of new damage and fracture models in forming simulations and will study the viability of implementing the new steel grades in industrial stamping lines with current production tools.

Luleå University of Technology shapes the future through innovative education and ground-breaking research results, and based on the Arctic region, we create global social benefit.

Luleå University of Technology is in strong growth with world-leading competence in several research areas. It shapes the future through innovative education and ground-breaking research results, and based on the Arctic region, we create global social benefit. Their scientific and artistic research and education are conducted in close collaboration with international, national and regional companies, public actors and leading universities. Luleå University of Technology has a total turnover of SEK 1.9 billion per year. They currently have 1,840 employees and 17,670 students.

Contribution to Sup3rForm

LTU will lead dynamic properties characterization and crash modelling tasks. LTU will work on the development of damage evolution models based on fracture mechanics for edge fracture and crash failure behaviour prediction.

Aalto University is a Finnish multidisciplinary university founded in 2010 by merging The Helsinki School of Economics, The University of Art and Design Helsinki, and Helsinki University of Technology. Aalto has nearly 11 000 students and 4000 employees, including 400 professors. With 37% of our academic faculty coming from outside Finland, Aalto is a highly international community with a strong academic standing. Aalto is particularly important for engineering in Finland, educating more than 40% of the country’s engineering graduates.

Contribution to Sup3rForm

Materials to Products Group from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Aalto specializes in integrating multiscale material modeling with advanced experimental characterization, leveraging deep expertise in Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME). In Sup3rForm, the group will focus on the development of microstructure-sensitive computational material models and data-driven scale bridging approaches to capture the quantitative correlation between the microstructure and mechanical properties of materials.


504, 2024

Exhibiting a Sup3rForm poster during a seminar on correlative material characterisation

April 5th, 2024|

Marc Raventós, Postdoctoral researcher from ALBA Synchrotron, attended the seminar “Frontiers in Correlative Material Characterisation: Samples, Techniques, Instrumentation and Data Management”, organised by the Wilhelm and Else Heraeus Foundation between April 2nd-5th in Bonn (Germany). During the second poster session of the event, on April 3rd, he exhibited the [...]

2610, 2023

Six RFCS projects coordinated by Eurecat presented at the SteelTech Congress

October 26th, 2023|

Eurecat has participated as exhibitor of the Steel Tech 2023 this week in Bilbao Exhibition Center from October 25-27. Amongst the center capacities in the steel sector, information on six Research Fund for Coal and Steel (RFCS)-funded projects COOPHS, HELIX, SupreAM, NewAIMS, Sup3rForm and MiPRE was displayed and presented. [...]

2809, 2023

European consortium to study the optimization of third generation and high resistance steels to boost their use in the automotive industry

September 28th, 2023|

The Sup3rForm project seeks to demonstrate the industrial viability of third-generation quenching and partitioning steels and medium-manganese steels for the manufacture of high added value automotive parts at low cost and with a lower carbon footprint. The outcomes obtained by the project will help to consolidate the role of [...]

407, 2023

The Sup3rForm project kick-starts

July 4th, 2023|

The Sup3rForm project has kicked off on July 4th 2023 in the facilities of Eurecat in Manresa (Spain). This project aims to exploit the full potential of 3rd Generation Q&P and medium-Mn steels with superior formability for lightweight structural applications in future mobility, adressing the need for lighter, more [...]


Here is a list of Sup3rForm work packages and deliverables.

WP1 – Project management, coordination and dissemination

D1.1 – Comprehensive overview of the project

D1.2 – Risk management plan

D1.3 – Communication and dissemination plan I

D1.4 – Exploitation plan

D1.5 – Communication and dissemination plan II

D1.6 – Publishable report

WP2 – Microstructural and mechanical characterization

D2.1 – Report on the microstructure and mechanical properties of Q&P and M-Mn steels

WP3 – Formability and weldability

D3.1 – Report on formability of 3rd Gen AHSS

D3.2 – Determination of welding process parameters and mechanical performance of welded joints

WP4 – Fatigue and fracture resistance

D4.1 – Report on fatigue and fracture behaviour

WP5 – Crash performance

D5.1 – Report on dynamic material performance

D5.2 – Report on impact resistance

WP6 – Multiscale modelling and simulation

D6.1 – Scale bridging from micro to macro by microstructure-sensitive modelling and verification by experiments

D6.2 – Virtual stamping and crash testing using a fracture energy-based modelling approach of automotive prototype components

WP7 – Industrial implementation and Life Cycle Assessment

D7.1 – Experimental stamping and crash testing of automotive prototype components

D7.2 – Industrial guidelines for the implementation of 3rd Gen AHSS in serial production

D7.3 – Report on LCA and DNSH compliance of the proposed solutions

Download below the Sup3rForm promotional materials, containing key information about the project.

Rollup 1

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Rollup 2

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The Sup3rForm project has received funding from the European Union’s Research Fund for Coal and Steel (RFCS): project num. 101112540. Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Research Executive Agency (REA). Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.

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