Are we living in the Steel age?

I think that in the future this age will be recognised as the steel age (or bainite age!), future historians will probably still over look the vital role of steel in their own civilisation (although no doubt it will still be of vital importance if they are civilised). However, with the benefit of hindsight they will probably be able to recognise it’s importance during this era. In a dystopian future they will tell camp-fire stories about the ancients and their hidden steel knowledge, and their ability to make ‘things’.

Probably Stone and Bronze age peoples didn’t recognise they where living in an age defined by the materials they used, either. That’s because they used many other materials too, and concerned themselves with where the next meal was coming from, and generally got caught up in the drama of Bronze age existence.

Steel in action, in the modern city of Vancouver.

Steel in action, in the modern city of Vancouver.


World of Steel Imports and Exports allows us to remap the world making different countries scaled by various metrics (population, GPD, internet users, etc).

For example, this shows which countries are the biggest steel importers;

Map with countries scaled by steel imports.

Map with countries scaled by steel imports.

And this is the countries scaled by steel exports;

Map with countries scaled by steel exports.

Map with countries scaled by steel exports.

Prof. Hans Rosling has made other data and analysis tools available at I talked about that here:

Hadfield vs Hatfield

I always get these two Sheffield related names mixed up.

Hadfield Hatfield
Sir Robert Abbott, Baronet Hadfield Dr. William Hatfield
Inventor/ manufacturer of high Mn
steels known as Hadfield Steel
Inventor in 1924 of 18/8 stainless steel, and 321 stainless steel (18Cr-8-Ni+Ti).
1858-1940, Born in Sheffield, Died in Surrey 1882-1943, Born in Sheffield.
Son of Robert Hadfield
Wrote over 200 Papers Authored many papers.
Made Hadfields foundry one of largest in World Appointed director of Brown-Firth Research Laboratories (succeeding Harry Brearley)
Hadfield steel can also refer to some high silicon steels  Stainless Steels and also some high temperature alloys were developed by Hatfield (12Ni-5Mn-4Cr which has high thermal expansion coefficient and 5Ni-4Cr-3Mo which has strength at high temperature).
Obituary Obituary

TC Graham Prize for innovation

The Association for Iron & Steel Technology AIST has announced they will be awarding a $20,000 prize for innovative applications of steel.

Sharks attracted to steel

Cage diving was invented by a diver who survived an attack by a shark. Wanting to return to the sea he was inspired by the lions cage in Melbourne zoo.

At first it was thought the sharks were attracted to the people in the cage, but later it was observed that sharks also investigated empty cages. It turns out that they are attracted to the steel. I wonder if this is electrical effect, or if they are usually attracted to the iron in blood? Dissolving iron from the cage may seem similar to haemoglobin.

Most expensive Iron?

I went to the pharmacy today, the price of Iron there is pretty expensive.

Picture of Iron Supplements

Expensive Iron, 5.2 p per 14 mg.

5.2 pence per 14 mg tablet. That means the price per kg is £371,000 (371 thousand pounds), or 3.7 million pounds per tonne (3.7 M£/tonne).

This is amazing, the usual price of steel is more like 600 pounds per tonne, and around 1.5 trillion tonnes (1,510,222,000 tonnes) (1.5 Gigatonnes) of steel are produced annually. It seems like the steel industry should be selling this steel for 1000 times more. That would be a total of £5.6 &times 1015 or 5.6 P£ or 5.6 petapounds (I don’t know the financial term £5.6 million billion or 5.6 thousand trillion or 105 times world GDP).

Compared to the human body, the average amount of iron is about 3.5 g per person. That means we need 250 of these tablets to replace the iron in our body, at a cost of 13 pounds.

Adventures in Physical Metallurgy of Steels

During July 2013 I attended Adventures in Physical Metallurgy of Steels hosted by the Phase Transformations and Complex Properties research group of the Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy.

The programme looked like this, videos are appearing on bhadeshia123’s channel on youtube (links). There is also a playlist available.

Introduction to Adventure. H. Bhadeshia

Architectured Steels, T. Koseki

Magneto-structural coupling. I. Abrikosov

Quench and partitioning. J. Speer

Crystallographic variant selection. S. Kundu

Secondary hardened bainite, J. R. Yang

Welding of high carbon steel, K. Fang

Isotropy and Fatigue: P. Ölund

Atoms in bainite, atomic mechanisms. F. Caballero

Pulsed steels, R. Qin

Fullerenes & buckyballs in steel: I. V. Shchetinin

Boron: Type IV cracking, F. Abe

Low-density steel, H-L. Yi

Friction stirring of steel, T. Debroy

Flash Processing, G. Cola

Reliable first principles calculations for iron: A. Paxton

Steels composites for energy applications, C. Capdevila-Montes

Microstructures without contact, C. Davis

Pop-in deformation, H. N. Han

Plausibility of fine bainite, C. García-Mateo

Reduced Activation, K. Wu

Architectured microstructures, G. Anand

Flash microstructure, S. Babu

Energetic TWIP, D. Dye

Mass production of fine bainite: A. Rose

Voids and 30000 atoms, S. Munetoh

Soft Particles, T. Tsuchiyama

Mechanochemistry, F. Miani

Simplex and Kappa steels, I. Gutierrez-Urrutia

Innoculated high-speed steel, A. Chaus

Non-cubic ferrite, D-W. Suh

Montage of events