Modelling microstructures and properties of steel

The drive for lighter cars and less material in constructions calls for the development of stronger steels. Complex, multi-phase, advanced high-strength steels are exemplary for such purposes, but still require improvements in application performance and production efficiency and yield. The Department Materials Science and Engineering of the faculty of 3mE (TU Delft), the Materials innovation institute M2i and Tata Steel Europe will closely collaborate in a unique research programme to develop physical models for the formation of microstructures and the related mechanical properties of new steel grades. Also the faculty EWI, the universities of Twente and Eindhoven and the Max Planck Institut für Eisenforschung in Düsseldorf are partner in this extensive programme. Sixteen Ph.D. students, two PDeng students and one postdoc will work in this programme, which aims at the development of physical models to simulate the entire chain of heat treatments and plastic deformation in secondary steel production. All relevant microstructural processes during hot rolling, cold rolling and annealing, like phase transformations, oxide formation, recrystallisation and precipitation, will be simulated in 3D microstructural models representing microstructural features like grain structure, dislocation structure, texture. From these 3D models Representative Volume Elements will be used to simulate the mechanical behaviour of the designed microstructures. Tata Steel Europe will use these physical computational models to dramatically shorten time to market with simultaneous optimisation of the steel production efficiency. The total investment in this research programme amounts to 6 million euro.

This Digitally Enhanced New Steel Product Development (DENS) programme has a unique scientific and industrial aim, where fundamental science will directly be used in industrial application. State-of-the-art physical models will be further developed and connected in a single through-process model framework. Very efficient simplified models, suitable for online control, will be derived from the detailed models. The through-process modelling chain will be calibrated by high throughput laboratory experiments at the production site.

Vacancies PhD candidates 

At present, we are recruiting excellent Ph.D. candidates for this programme, having a strong interest in the physics of metals and a Master degree in materials science, physics, chemistry or a similar background.

For more information on the individual Ph.D. projects and vacancies visit the website of Minds for Innovation: or For more information on the research programme contact prof. Jilt Sietsma,