NLMK Group, a global steel company, has opened a laboratory center in Lipetsk for microstructure analysis, which will analyze the properties of steel to develop new premium products and optimize metal processing techniques.
The center is equipped with the latest high-precision measuring equipment. Several dozen unique devices enable more than a thousand types of microscopy and chemical analysis measurements to be taken. This multi-method research will facilitate the development of new steel grades and products for the automotive, energy and construction sectors.
The center will also become a platform for knowledge sharing within the professional community and will contribute toward the development of cooperation with leading research organizations. Students of NLMK’s partner colleges and field-specific universities will have the opportunity to receive on-the-job training at the center, learning to operate unique laboratory equipment, master computer simulation and microstructure analysis, and discover how to identify promising technological trends.
Anna Korotchenkova, NLMK Group R&D Director, said: “The growing demands from the market to improve the properties of steel can only be satisfied today through in-depth research at the nanoscale level. We have an international team of highly qualified scientists working at our center, which enables NLMK Group to set ambitious goals and offer our customers new premium-class products.”
The R&D center’s equipment reflects the best practice in the industry. Some of it is the only equipment of its kind in Russia. For example, an transmission electron microscope makes it possible to visualize the atoms of a crystal lattice that are 0.15 nanometres in size. A similar microscope was employed by scientists Dubochet, Frank and Henderson in 2017, which earned them a Nobel Prize in chemistry for the development of high-resolution cryo-electron microscopy. The optical emission spectrometer may be used to quickly determine the content of non-metallic inclusions, among other applications. The quenching-deformation dilatometer enables real-time simulation of mechanical loads being applied to steel.
NLMK plans to continue to equip the research and development area with new laboratories. A physical simulation laboratory is set to be opened in Lipetsk this year, to analyze the processes of thermal and mechanical processing of steel, while in La Louviere, Belgium, a laboratory will be established to focus on the development of coatings for rolled steel and technologies for their application. (NLMK/Ukrainian metal)