Steel is one of the most common structural materials, truly one of the foundations of modern civilization. An alloy of iron and carbon, steel has been made since biblical times. With two thousand years of experience in steelmaking, it would seem all there is to know about steel would already be known. But for Allison Beese, McFarlane Assistant Professor in Materials Science and Engineering, the secret world of steel is still unfolding.
"There is a lot known about traditional steels, but advanced, high-strength steels are a different story," says Beese. "Traditional fracture models don't accurately predict the properties of these advanced steels. We're still trying to understand the mechanisms for damage accumulation and fracture, and steel companies are very interested in developing other designs for steel."