High-Strength, Low-Alloy Steels

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Science  23 May 1980:
Vol. 208, Issue 4446, pp. 862-869
DOI: 10.1126/science.208.4446.862


High-strength, low-alloy (HSLA) steels have nearly the same composition as plain carbon steels. However, they are up to twice as strong and their greater load-bearing capacity allows engineering use in lighter sections. Their high strength is derived from a combination of grain refinement; precipitation strengthening due to minor additions of vanadium, niobium, or titanium; and modifications of manufacturing processes, such as controlled rolling and controlled cooling of otherwise essentially plain carbon steel. HSLA steels are less formable than lower strength steels, but dualphase steels, which evolved from HSLA steels, have ferrite-martensite microstructures and better formability than HSLA steels of similar strength. This improved formability has substantially increased the utilization potential of high-strength steels in the manufacture of complex components. This article reviews the development of HSLA and dual-phase steels and discusses the effects of variations in microstructure and chemistry on their mechanical properties.