COOPHS in a nutshell

Enhancing low CO2 steel production for the automotive sector through the development of more sustainable processing methodologies

ABOUT THE PROJECT

The COOPHS project focuses on evaluating how eco-friendly steel processing affects the performance of ultrahigh strength Press Hardened Steels (PHS). By delving into the influence of residual elements in press hardening steel, the project seeks to enhance low CO2 steel production for the automotive sector, ultimately advancing the industry’s environmental and technological standards by minimising CO2 emissions.

During the project, the impact of residual elements from EAF steel production routes on microstructures and subsequent material properties will be examined. The project also aims to determine segregation effects on critical properties, design a tool for emissions-product compromise to facilitate the progression of low CO2 steels in the PHS automotive market, compare EAF and BOF-based solutions, and propose optimized low emission processing routes.

This initiative aims to advance both environmental sustainability and the European steel market’s competitiveness, in line with RFCS Research programme objectives and the European Green Deal Roadmap.

      Key Data

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

  • Duration: 42 months

  • Funded under: RFCS Programme

  • Overall budget: 1.121.328,48€

Project phases

The project is articulated in five different phases, each strategically designed to advance the understanding and capabilities of ultrahigh strength press hardened steel.

Residual Element Diversification

Production of Ultrahigh Strength Press Hardened Steel introducing residual element contents representative of steelmaking routes with a wide range of CO2 emission levels.

Microstructural Insights

Advanced description of surface and grain boundary segregation behaviour of residual elements in Press Hardened Steel microstructures.

Mechanical Characterisation

Characterisation of phase transformation, low and high-temperature ductility, toughness, and embrittlement behaviour of Ultrahigh Strength Press Hardened Steel with increasing residual element content.

Correlation Discovery

Determination of key relationships between surface and grain boundary segregation of residual elements and phase transformation, ductility, toughness, and embrittlement behaviours.

Environmental-Performance Equilibrium

Identification of the optimum compromise of CO2 emission levels and product and application performance of ultrahigh strength press hardened steels.

COOPHS EXPECTED RESULTS

The COOPHS project is to deliver outcomes through cutting-edge research and innovation. The project is set to provide results contributing to a more sustainable future of steel processing:

Deeper insight into residual element impact on PHS microstructures

Quantified local residual element concentrations in microstructures.

Enhanced understanding of PHS mechanical property effects.

Development of a tool for CO2 emission-product compromise in automotive sector.

Comparative analysis of EAF vs. BOF steel solutions.

Optimised low emission processing routes for high-performance steels.

PROGRESS BEYOND THE STATE OF THE ART

Enhanced Compatibility of Automotive Press Hardened Parts

State of the art: Initial insights from literature and lab tests revealed that PHS have potential ductility risks in martensitic parts due to residual elements.

COOPHS contribution: The project aims to establish a direct link between residual element content and mechanical behaviour in press hardened steel. This understanding pave the way for countermeasures to mitigate associated risks and ensure compatibility with automotive safety standards.

Optimized Press Hardening Processes

State of the artExploration of alternative steel manufacturing methods demonstrated promising results within the standard hot stamping process parameters.

COOPHS contributionThe project will focus on non-BOF steel manufacturing methods, adapting hot stamping processes and parameters accordingly. This advancement could ensure the attainment of required results and offers insights into parameter optimization for superior property outcomes.

Quantification of Solute Segregation at Grain Boundaries

State of the artInsights from existing literature emphasized the significance of solute segregation at grain boundaries during heat treatments.

COOPHS contributionThe project aims to unravel the intricate effects of solute segregation on steel properties. This newfound knowledge will enable a comprehensive assessment of acceptable solute quantities concerning industrial deployment and product risk evaluation.

Advanced Analysis of Coated PHS Interfaces

State of the artPrevious research highlighted the potential of FIB+APT technique for analysing interfaces like oxide/Fe or Zn/Fe.

COOPHS contribution: The COOPHS project will go beyond by successfully adapting this technique for complex Fe/Al interfaces in coated PHS. This innovative approach enables safe quantification of intricate soft/hard coating/substrate interfaces.

CONSORTIUM

The project, coordinated by Eurecat Technology Centre of Catalonia, is participated by six entities, including actors from the steel industry, the automotive safety sector and research organisations: ArcelorMittal, Gestamp HardTech Ab, Letomec, Aix-Marseille University, the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) and ALBA Synchroton (ALBA-CELLS).

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

The centre offers 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 COOPHS

Eurecat is in charge of coordinating the project through the Metallic and Ceramics Unit.  With large expertise in areas such as fracture mechanics, lightweight applications based on advanced high strength steels (AHSS) and press, tribology, corrosion and degradation, micromechanical characterization and optimization of sheet forming processes, Eurecat takes responsibility of the COOPHS microstructural characterisation (EBSD analysis), phase transformation kinetics studies and mechanical tests. Moreover, the centre is also responsible for managing IPR and the project’s communication and dissemination activities.

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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 (LEAPS INNOV & REMADE).

Contribution to COOPHS

ALBA-CELLS is in charge of performing high energy X-Ray diffraction tests in the ALBA synchrotron to follow in-situ the phase transformation taking place in the studied steels. It will be also used to follow the tempering kinetics including the carbide formation and the evolution of the dislocation density.

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Gestamp is a multinational specialized in the design, development and manufacture of highly engineered metal components for the main vehicle manufacturers. It develops products with an innovative design to produce lighter and safer vehicles, which offer lower energy consumption and a lower environmental impact. Its products cover the areas of BiW, chassis and mechanisms.

The Company is present in 24 countries with 115 production plants (5 under construction), 13 R&D centers and a workforce of nearly 43,000 employees worldwide. Its turnover in 2022 was €10,726 million. Gestamp is listed on the Spanish stock exchange under the ticker GEST.

Contribution to COOPHS

Gestamp has the industrial experience of hot stamping of steels and will therefore coordinate, and work within, the topics related to the hot stamping process. Both the process limitations (process parameters, formability etc.) and the final properties (tensile properties, bending angle etc.) of the hot stamped material will be investigated.

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ArcelorMittal (AMMR) is the world’s leading steel and mining company. It has steel manufacturing in 16 countries and customers in 155 countries. ArcelorMittal has a large offer (more than 200 trademark products) representing ~62.9MTon of steel shipments in 2021. Moreover, the group holds more than 724 patent families and has launched 51 new products and solutions in 2021. This is supported by a workforce of around 1,500 full-time researchers at 11 geographical sites throughout the world, with centres strategically placed in Europe, North and South America and close to key operations and customers.

Contribution to COOPHS

The department of Metallurgy for Products and Process of AMMR in France will responsible for the design and production of lab-scale and industrial Press Hardening Steels obtained by steelmaking routes with different CO2 footprint levels. AMMR will also participate in the microstructural, mechanical and metallurgical characterization of the steels.

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Letomec is an innovative SME and a Spin-off company of the University of Pisa, promoting scientific and technological research by developing cutting-edge solutions for Hydrogen Industry.

The company operates consultancy services and research activities aimed at studying the effect of hydrogen on materials’ behaviour and improving technologies for energy transition, resulting in this way a reference laboratory for several large industrial companies of national and international scenarios.

Contribution to COOPHS

Thanks to the long-standing expertise in the study of hydrogen-metal interaction, and thanks to a dedicated and patented line of instruments named HELIOS (patent N EP2912452), Letomec leads the investigation on hydrogen embrittlement susceptibility of steels, including the set-up of hydrogen charging procedure, the mechanical tests and correlation of metal behaviour in presence of hydrogen to microstructural features.

Letomec contributes also to basic microstructural characterization by SEM analysis to characterize the micro-scale modifications as tempering or auto-tempering and identification of lower bainite.

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Aix-Marseille University IM2NP is a research laboratory of Aix-Marseille University. As a multidisciplinary research unit of more than 300 people at the confluence of physics, chemistry and microelectronics, IM2NP has a broad spectrum of skills that enable it to link many fundamental aspects to applications in the fields of advanced materials, integrated electronics and nanoscience. The RDI team conducts research on the phenomena driving atomic redistribution as well as the kinetics of atomic transport and phase growth at the nanometric and atomic scales, in volume, on the surface and at interfaces.

Contribution to COOPHS

AMU/IM2NP will quantify at atomic scale the segregation taking place either at prior austenitic grain boundaries or at the Fe / Al interface using the Atom Probe Tomography and develop of a multiscale modelling to predict locally the amount of residual elements.

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The French National Centre for Scientific Research is among the world’s leading research institutions. IM2NP is a research laboratory of Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique. As a multidisciplinary research unit of more than 300 people at the confluence of physics, chemistry and microelectronics, IM2NP has a broad spectrum of skills that enable it to link many fundamental aspects to applications in the fields of advanced materials, integrated electronics and nanoscience. The RDI team conducts research on the phenomena driving atomic redistribution as well as the kinetics of atomic transport and phase growth at the nanometric and atomic scales, in volume, on the surface and at interfaces.

Contribution to COOPHS

IM2NP will participate with AMU in the quantification at atomic scale of the segregation taking place either at prior austenitic grain boundaries or at the Fe / Al interface using the Atom Probe Tomography and develop of a multiscale modelling to predict locally the amount of residual elements.

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NEWS & EVENTS

1212, 2023
  • SuPreAM GA

SuPreAM project celebrates its 1st General Assembly

diciembre 12th, 2023|

Last 12th of December, SuPreAM partners celebrated the first General Assembly of the project in the DRT Rapid facilities located in Leiria (Portugal).  Representatives from each partner entity participated in the meeting to present and review the work done during the first 6 months of SuPreAM with the objective to optimise

2610, 2023

Six RFCS projects coordinated by Eurecat presented at the SteelTech Congress

octubre 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

COOPHS project to boost the production of low-carbon steel to contribute to the sustainability and decarbonization of the automotive industry

septiembre 28th, 2023|

The project seeks to minimize CO2, emissions from the automotive industry, in line with the objectives of the Research Fund for Coal and Steel Research Programme and the European Green Deal Roadmap.   The consortium, coordinated by the Eurecat technology centre, is participated by seven European entities including actors from

609, 2023

COOPHS project kicks off to enhance low CO2 steel production for the automotive sector

septiembre 6th, 2023|

The COOPHS project has kicked off. Project partners have met in Manresa (Spain) on July 19th 2023, aiming to enhance low CO2 steel production for the automotive sector through the development of more sustainable processing methodologies. During the meeting, which was assisted by a representative of the RFCS project officer,

RESOURCES

Here is a list of COOPHS work packages and deliverables.


WP1 – Project Coordination

D1.1 – Comprehensive overview of the project

D1.2 – Risk assessment and contingency plan

D1.3 – Communication and dissemination plan

D1.4 – Public publishable report

WP2 – Materials and processing

D2.1 – Material reference file

WP3 – In use properties and CO2 imprint

D3.1 – Product database

WP4 – Segregation studies steel and coating

D4.1 – Crystallographic and micro-scale segregation

D4.2 – Prior austenitic grain boundary and Fe/AI interface segregation – experiments and modelling

WP5 – Metallurgy studies (hardenability / temp embrittlement)

D5.1 – Laboratory investigations of phase transformation kinetics

D5.2 – Impact of the new steelmaking routes on the press hardening processes

WP6 – Ductility studies 

D6.1 – Report on the influence of residual elements on fracture resistance of PHS

WP7 – Hydrogen studies

D7.1 – Report on the impact of N, Cu, Sn, P content and routes on hydrogen embrittlement resistance of PHS grades

WP8 – Tool for optimisation of low Co2 – product performance compromise

D8.1 – Scientific report: residuals in Press Hardened Steels

D8.2 – Optimised compromise CO2 – PHS performance

D8.3 – Guidelines for low CO2 press hardening steel application

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


Rollup

Click here to download

Trifold

Click here to download

See below a selection of articles featuring COOPHS project

November 11th, 2023 | Interempresas MetalMecánica

Eurecat lidera la optimización de componentes de acero y la decarbonización de su fabricación  (Spanish)


October 25th, 2023 | Regió 7

Eurecat Manresa lidera tres projectes europeus amb un pressupost total de 6,9 milions d’euros  (Catalan)



October 25th, 2022 | Nació Manresa

Eurecat Manresa lidera tres projectes europeus que impulsen l’optimització de components d’acer  (Catalan)

CONTACT US

To contact with COOPHS team please fill contact us by clicking the button below . We will get in touch with you as soon as possible.

The COOPHS project has received funding from the European Union’s Research Fund for Coal and Steel (RFCS): project num 101112485.  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.