Rapid Alloy Prototyping: Compositional and Thermomechanical High-Throughput Bulk Combinatorial Design of Structural Materials: Example of 30Mn–1.2C–xAl Triplex Steels

We introduce a new experimental approach to the compositional and thermomechanical design and rapid maturation of bulk structural materials. This method, termed Rapid Alloy Prototyping (RAP), is based on semi-continuous high-throughput bulk casting, rolling, heat treatment and sample preparation techniques.

45 material conditions – i.e. 5 alloys with systematically varied composition, each modified by 9 different aging treatments – were produced and investigated within 35 hours. This accelerated screening of the tensile, hardness and microstructural properties as a function of chemical and thermomechanical parameters allows for the highly efficient and knowledge-based design of bulk structural alloys. The efficiency of the approach is demonstrated on a group of Fe–30Mn–1.2C–xAl steels which exhibits a wide spectrum of structural and mechanical characteristics, depending on the respective Al concentration: High amounts of Al additions (> 8 wt.%) resulted in pronounced strengthening, while low concentrations (< 2 wt.%) led to embrittlement of the material during aging.

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