Gary Cola, an entrepreneur based in Detroit, has invented a new heat-treatment process called flash processing that produces steel with enhanced properties in a fraction of a second.
The steel's trademark name is Flash Bainite. According to Cola, the produced steel is 7% stronger than the martensitic high-strength steel and demonstrates better shock-absorbing property than common titanium alloys. He also claimed that the steel can be lengthened and thinned 30% more than the martensitic steel without compromising its improved strength.
If all the claims were true, the new steel can be used to develop lightweight, robust and better fuel-efficacy military vehicles and cars. Cola is now collaborating closely with the Ohio State University scientists to know the physics and technology behind the new process.
Cola's innovative heat-treatment process was described in detail in the latest issue of the Materials Science and Technology journal. The Ohio State researchers visited Cola's lab setup located at SFP Works, LLC. They observed that the steel is heat treated at a temperature of up to 1100°C and then cooled in a liquid bath.
Scientists then tested the steel samples to validate the properties using an electron microscope. They observed that Cola's steel exhibited martensite microstructure as well as bainite microstructure, scattered with carbides, which are carbon-rich compounds.
According to the Ohio scientists, the steel's novel microstructure improves ductility, which means that the steel can be used as an impact-absorber for automotive uses.