What is Sustainable Metallurgy and why is it important ?
Metallic materials which have enabled progress over thousands of years and given entire ages their name, are now facing severe limits set by sustainability. The accelerated demand for practically all structural alloys in key areas such as energy, infrastructure, medicine, safety, construction and transportation creates huge growth rates of up to 200% until 2050. Yet, most of these metallic materials are energy, greenhouse gas and pollution intense when extracted and manufactured. In a set of projects we study approaches to improve the sustainability of and through structural metallic alloys. We work on ideas related to progress in direct sustainability for different steps along the value chain including CO2-reduced primary synthesis; recycling; scrap-compatible alloy design, contaminant tolerance of alloys, and improved alloy longevity through corrosion protection, damage tolerance and repairability for longer product use. We also investigate how structural materials enable improved energy efficiency through reduced weight, higher thermal stability, and better mechanical properties. The respective leverage effects of the individual measures on rendering structural alloys more sustainable can be quantified.