Thibaut Heremans
PhD student
Chemistry and Material Science engineer at UCL in 2020

Main project: Analysis and understanding of the damage and fracture mechanisms in advanced high strength steels for automotive applications
Funding: FRIA/other
Supervisor(s): Pascal Jacques, Thomas Pardoen

The environmental challenge the world is facing today is driving car manufacturers to limit their vehicule weight in order to reduce their fuel consumption. As a consequence, steels with higher specific strength performances are being constantly developed, while insuring that proper ductility and toughness levels are retained to allow for forming operations and passengers safety. Lately, the so-called "third generation" of advanced high strength steels (AHSS) has emerged, among which one finds the Quenching & Partioning (Q&P) steels. These Q&P steels demonstrate an excellent combination of ultimate tensile strength (UTS = 1500 MPa) and adequate ductility (TE = 18%). Nevertheless, their fracture properties and the underlying mechanisms are still not fully understood and start raising concerns as the strength levels of these steels increase. Indeed, recent studies have highlighted a shift in failure mechanism, from ductile to brittle, depending on the loading conditions. Although often left behind strength and elongation, toughness issues constitute essential stakes not only for ever more demanding applications but also for forming processes during which edge cracking is a key concern. The objective of my research project is to investigate the failure properties of these Q&P steels in order to understand how microstructural and micromechanical parameters influence the competition between three possible mechanisms : ductile flat, ductile slant and brittle intergranular.

IMMC main research direction(s):
Processing and characterisation of materials

microstructure-processing relationships

Research group(s): IMAP
Collaborations: ArcellorMittal