New superalloys can compete with titanium

Pouring titanium slagMany construction engineers have long been dreaming of a cheap material with a similar weight to strength ratio as titanium. Last year a Korean team of materials scientists made a breakthrough discovery concerning steel-aluminum alloys. These alloys have the potential to reach very high strength to weight ratios.

Current aluminum alloys also offer very high strength, however they are also very brittle. This is because aluminum and iron form very hard B2 crystals. The research team found a way to disperse these crystals such that they are surrounded by softer material. This allowed them to create a very strong, ductile material which could possibly be used in the automobile and aircraft industries.

Nationwide day of action for the German steel industry

Today is a nationwide day of action for the German steel industry. It is organized by the industrial union IG Metall and should raise awareness for the problems facing the German steel industry. These problems range from extremely strict evironmental specifications to low priced imports.
The main rally will take place in DuisburgSteel worker at the blast furnace. where the Minister for Economic Affairs, Sigmar Gabriel, is expected to speak. Other rallies will be in Berlin, Salzgitter and in several cities in Saarland. These rallies are supported by large German steel producers such as Thyssen Krupp and Verband der Saarhütten.
The German steel mills are among the worlds most efficient with respect to carbon emissions. 1.3 tons of CO2 are emitted per ton of produced steel in Germany. In comparison China emits 1.8 tons for the same quantity of steel. Tightening environmental specifications would lead to further reduction of German steel production and would therefor increase worldwide emissions.

Global steel production declining

Steel production in january 2016 declined by 7.1 % in comparison to the same month in the year before. A large portion of this reduction originated in China, where production in january feel 7.8 % to 63.2 million metric tons. Tapping of a blast furnaceAccording to Wirtschaftsvereinigung Stahl steel production in Germany declined 4 % in february 2016 compared to february 2015. Overall Germany produced 3.4 million metric tons of steel in february.

According to a report published in the German Newspaper Handelsblatt Thyssen-Krupp expects to produce 41.5 million metric tons of steel in 2016.  This means a decline of approximately 3 % compared to 2015. The decline is largely attributed to overcapacity in China, where the shrinking economy cannot absorb the amount of steel produced. Therefore chinese producers turn to the global market, where they sell their material at extremely low prices.

EU raises punitive tariffs against Chinese price dumping

Steel prices in Germany have been eroding for some time and the process was amplified by cheap imports of strongly subsidised steel from China and Russia. Recently the European Commission introduced punitive tariffs on cold rolled flat steel products from China and Russia. For imports from China these tariffs are between 13.8 and 16 percent while prices for imports from Russia increase by 19.8 to 26.2 percent.

China, the world's largest steel manufacturer, has an overcapacity of up to 300 million metric tons. This might be one reason for the extremely low prices. Currently protective measures are in place for 37 steel products. Some additional investigations are underway, analyzing tubes, sheets and hot rolled flat steel.

Steel Production in Germany Declining

The Wirtschaftsvereinigung Stahl published data stating that Steel production in Germany declined by approximately 2% during the first quarter of 2015. After an increase in production in january, a decline in March by 4.4% caused the overall reduction during the first quarter. The european steel industry is currently struggling with low prices due to an excess supply of steel products.

Punitive tariff on stainless steel products from China

The European Union decided to levy punitive tariffs on cold-rolled stainless steel products from China and Taiwan for the coming six months. The tariff for products from China is 25.2%, while prices of products from Taiwan will be raised by 12%.