With the general aim of increasing competitiveness and contributing to sustainable development, the main emphasis of research and technological development is on the development of new or improved technologies to guarantee the economic, clean and safe production of steel and steel products characterised by steadily increasing performance, suitability to use, customer satisfaction, prolonged service life, easy recovery and recycling.
Proposals submitted under this topic must relate to one of the following research objectives (see Art 8 to 10 of Council Decision 2008/376/EC).
1. New and improved steelmaking and finishing techniques
This objective aims to improve steel production processes with a view to enhancing product quality and increasing productivity. Reducing emissions, energy consumption and the environmental impact as well as enhancing the use of raw materials and the conservation of resources are an integral part of this improvements. Proposals shall address one or more of the following areas:
(a) new and improved iron-ore reduction processes; (b) ironmaking processes and operations; (c) electric arc furnace processes; (d) steelmaking processes; (e) secondary metallurgy techniques; (f) continuous casting and near net shape-casting techniques with and without direct rolling; (g) rolling, finishing and coating techniques; (h) hot- and cold-rolling techniques, pickling and finishing processes; (i) process instrumentation, control and automation; (j) maintenance and reliability of production lines.
2. RTD and the utilisation of steel
RTD related to the utilisation of steel is undertaken to meet the future requirements of steel users and to create new market opportunities. Proposals shall address one or more of the following areas:
(a) new steel grades for demanding applications; (b) steel properties addressing mechanical properties at low and high temperatures such as strength and toughness, fatigue, wear, creep, corrosion and resistance against fracture; (c) prolonging service life, in particular by improving the resistance of steels and steel structures to heat and corrosion; (d) steel-containing composites and sandwich structures; (e) predictive simulation models on microstructures and mechanical properties; (f) structural safety and design methods, in particular with regard to resistance to fire and earthquakes; (g) technologies relating to the forming, welding and joining of steel and other materials; (h) standardisation of testing and evaluation methods.
3. Conservation of resources and improvement of working conditions
In both steel production and steel utilisation, the conservation of resources, the preservation of the ecosystem and safety issues forms an integral part of the RTD work. Proposals shall address one or more of the following areas:
(a) techniques for recycling obsolete steel from various sources and classification of steel scrap; (b) steel grades and design of assembled structures to facilitate the easy recovery of steel scrap and its reconversion into usable steels; (c) control and protection of the environment in and around the workplace; (d) restoration of steelworks sites; (e) improvement of working conditions and quality of life in the workplace; (f) ergonomic methods; (g) occupational health and safety; (h) reduction of exposure to occupational emissions.