Ferrosilicon for special steel
Enhancing manufacture of special steels using high-purity ferrosilicon
The term ‘special steel’ encompasses a wide range of steel grades, and usually refers to products with a higher proportion of alloying elements, or with tailored properties for niche applications. We understand the important role that ferrosilicon (FeSi) plays in achieving these specifications, and our specialists are ready to help you choose the right product.
Special steels: Optimizing properties by maximizing cleanliness
With properties such as ultra-high tensile strength, hardness and elasticity, special steels include grades that feature in many demanding industrial and commercial applications. But common to all of them is the need for cleanliness in the steel manufacturing process – and in the ferrosilicon alloys too.
- Tyre cord steel: Fine-drawn steel cords are used to reinforce radial tyres, high-pressure hydraulic hoses and heavy-duty conveyor belts, and require minimal inclusions to avoid breakages during the drawing process.
Indeed, this need has increased substantially in recent years as performance requirements have become more stringent – a challenge that can be addressed by selecting the optimum high-purity ferrosilicon alloy.
- Bearing and gear steel: Whether in the form of balls, cylinders or barrels, steel bearings and gears must have high wear resistance and fatigue lifetime.
At Elkem, we understand the link between these properties and the presence of inclusions in the steel – and how this issue can be tackled by minimizing impurities in the ferrosilicon alloy.
- Spring steel: Valve springs, transmission springs and similar components used in vehicles and in other engineering applications must have high elasticity and yield strength, and hence a high proportion of silicon.
To achieve this high silicon content while managing other alloys and minimizing impurities, it’s essential to use ferrosilicon with a low content of aluminium, calcium and titanium.
- Rail steel: Steels used for the manufacture of passenger, high-speed and heavy-haul railways need a combination of high wear resistance and excellent rolling contact fatigue resistance.
Minimizing inclusions is essential to achieve these properties, and this in turn demands ferrosilicon with very low impurity levels.
- Tool steel: Steels used in tools such as drill-bits, dies, gauges and knives commonly require high levels of hardness, toughness, strength and wear resistance – plus often resistance to shock and corrosion.
In many cases, this challenging set of characteristics is achieved by relatively high alloying levels and careful control of carbide phases. These are both aspects that are affected by the purity of the ferrosilicon used in their manufacture.
- And more… At Elkem, we take pride in helping our customers with all types of steel-formulation challenge.
So if you are formulating a steel for an application that falls outside the usual categories, and you’re not sure which ferrosilicon alloy is best suited, call us and we’ll do everything we can to assist.
What’s the best ferrosilicon alloy for special steels?
Whatever the type of special steel you’re manufacturing, Elkem is ready to partner with you to understand your requirements, and deliver a ferrosilicon grade that will result in a premium-quality special steel product.
With the focus on purity in many special steel applications, our PURISIL™ ferrosilicon product range is ideally suited, thanks to its reliably low levels of trace elements and our strict quality control. We also offer grain refiners to enhance nucleation in the microstructure of austenitic and ferritic steel castings.
The Elkem advantage
From producers of tyre cord steels to spring steels and more, Elkem has a long history of helping special steel manufacturers decide on the best ferrosilicon to use in their steel plants. We’re dedicated to developing ferrosilicon product compositions that are tightly optimized for the application in question and so reducing wastage – and our customers value our expertise and honesty about what’s achievable.
And because product purity has long been a priority for special steel manufacturers, it’s important for us too. We’re always ready to tackle new challenges, and you can see the evidence for that everywhere you look at Elkem. From fine-tuning new formulations to using hydropower in our ferrosilicon plants, we’re always striving to improve what we do, with our customers constantly at the forefront of our minds.
Ferrosilicon for steel
The growing demand for higher-performance steels is placing ever-greater emphasis on the quality of ferrosilicon (FeSi) alloys used in steel manufacturing plants – and at Elkem, we’re ready to help you make the best decision for your business.