(High-Strength Low-Alloy Steel Microalloyed with Vanadium) 

HSLA-V is intended to represent those steel grades where a small addition of vanadium (generally less than 0.12%) provides enhanced strength over standard low C-Mn steels, while meeting or exceeding all requirements for ductility, weldability and toughness. These steels are normally supplied in the as-rolled or as-forged condition, eliminating the need for subsequent heat treatments. Eliminating heat treating negates the need for higher alloy contents of Cr, Ni and Mo (hence "Low Alloy"), and provides significant energy savings.

Why HSLA-V Steel?

HSLA-V Steel, or high-strength low-alloy steel produced with vanadium, provides many benefits over standard low C-Mn steel and other alloy steels. In general, HSLA-V provides an increased strength-to-weight ratio over standard low C-Mn steels. Vanadium, when used as an alloy, helps to improve the critical engineering properties of standard low C-Mn steels without greatly increasing the cost. Reduced Weight. Increased Strenght.

HSLA-V steels enable lighter structures, compared to standard low C-Mn steel structures and also provide:

  • Weldability
  • Ductility
  • Strength
  • Elongation
Vanadium, when used as an alloy, leads to:
  • Ease of use during the steelmaking process
  • High recovery of alloy additions
  • Good castability
  • High solubility during reheating
  • Avoidance of high roll forces
  • Effective strengthening at all carbon levels
  • Predictable strengthening with the addition of up to 0.15% Vanadium in HSLA-V steels

Market opportunities Marketing

Looking at the potential growth market for vanadium, there is a real opportunity in terms of the global explosion in demand for infrastructure, and therefore the need for raw materials - steel, reinforced concrete and other necessary resources to support and develop an infrastructure. Global steel production will be strained at the current levels. In a few years, it appears that demand will be about 2 billion tons of steel per year. 

The pressure on iron ore production is illustrated by a near price doubling in the latest contracts. An attractive alternative is micro-alloy steels made with recycled scrap. It is possible to use about 30 to 40 percent less steel and achieve the same engineering objectives. As a consequence, there is also less impact on the environment. 

Steel manufacturers can meet their customer's required specifications of strength, toughness, ductility, elongation or weldability by producing high-strength, low-alloy steel with vanadium. 

For engineers, HSLA-V steel provides a good alternative to standard low C-Mn steel when a given project requires high-strength, toughness, ductility, formability, elongation and weldability. Specific examples of these properties can be found in the case studies:

  • Long Span Structures
  • Military Trailer Weight Reduction
  • Reinforcement Bar
  • Non-Standard Fixed Bridges

High-strength, low-alloy steel with vanadium is often the best value for a given project. 

Environmental SustainabilityWater and Nature

 Vanadium is always found combined in nature and widely distributed through a variety of minerals. In the United States, the primary source of vanadium is through recovery from spent catalyst from oil refining operations. These catalysts, along with other vanadium-bearing "waste" materials, are processed for recycling by several companies that, in turn, supply ferrovanadium alloys. The environmental benefits of recycled vanadium are worth noting. Each year six million pounds of vanadium are recycled from spent catalysts. This reduces the need to mine for vanadium minerals, which reduces the energy consumption and subsequent pollution from mining. The use of recycled vanadium also reduces the energy requirements normally associated with processing ores, eliminating or reducing the need for land filling these "wastes," and ensuring a domestic supply of vanadium for U.S. steel producers. When used as an alloy in the steelmaking process, less steel is needed to meet the same structural strength requirement as standard low C-Mn steel. This reduces the amount of energy need in manufacturing. There is also a savings in fuel consumption in operating lighter vehicles and pulling lighter weight trailers with components made from HSLA-V steel.

HSLA-V Applications

HSLA-V can be found in these applications:

  • Bridges
  • Suspension Components
  • Building Structures
  • Vehicles/Transportation
  • Tubular Components
  • Heavy Equipment
  • Rails
  • Off-shore/Platforms

Building Case Studies

HSLA-V Steel Long-Span Structures

Project Background

An initial case study of long span structures focused on the redesign of joist member sizes which resulted in weight savings when HSLA-V steel, or high-strength low-alloy steel microalloyed with vanadium, is used. In addition to the potential weight savings for joist girders, an added benefit of using HSLA-V steel was the increased load capacity of the joist girders for a given span. 
Project Objective

Use a military long-span structure as a demonstration project to more specifically determine the benefits of using HSLA-V steel joists. Significant potential cost and environmental benefits are expectd for military facility construction, such as hangers, maintenance facilities and warehouses. 

Detailed case studies for this project listed below. Please click link to download pdf for more details. 
PDF An Experimental Study on the Behavior of Trusses Built with HSLA-V Steel 7.50MB

HSLA-V Steel Reinforcement Bar
Rebar Dry and in Concrete

Project Background

The project objective is to investigate HSLA-V steel, or high-strength low-alloy steel microalloyed with vanadium reinforcement bar and high-strength concrete for newly constructed reinforced concrete protective structures. These structures could be integrated into new US Army facilities or civilian applications. 
Project Objective

The use of HSLA-V steel reinforcement bar combined with high strength concrete has potential application to the construction of facilities designed to resist extreme dynamic loads, such as blast or seismic loads. Combining this evolving class of construction materials would enable hardened structures to protect occupants and property while preventing progressive collapse. The HSLA-V reinforcement bar research provides opportunities to study and initiate structural component designs for enhanced energy absorption or reduced deflection for blast or seismic applications.

Assembly line, Roofer, and Ductwork

Detailed case studies for this project listed below. Please click link to download pdf for more details. 
PDF Vanadium Rebar Case Study 2.35MB
Powerpoint Dynamic BLS Slab Experiments (Powerpoint) 1.70MB
Quicktime Steel Reinforcement Bar Blast Simulation (.mov)

Detailed case studies for this project listed below. Please click link to download pdf for more details. 
PDFHSLA-V Non-Standard Fixed Bridge for Military Applications-Poster

Military Case Studies

HSLA-V Steel Military Trailer Weight Reduction

Truck towing blocks
Project Background

 The Military Trailer Weight Reduction Team has conducted investigations on the application of HSLA-V steel, or high-strength low-alloy steel microalloyed with vanadium, to reduce weight and improve performance of various military trailers. Based on the findings of these investigations, the team will develop a project plan for deployment of HSLA-V steels in current and proposed military trailers to achieve previously idenified weight savings and performance improvements. 
Project Objective

The objective of this project is to reduce the weight of military trailers by at least 15% through the application of HSLA-V steels. With a trailer weighing about 17,000 pounds; a 15% weight reduction would eliminate 2,550 pounds of weight.

Detailed case studies for this project listed below. Please click link to download pdf for more details. 
PDF Use of Vanadium High-Strength Low-Alloy Steels in Military Trailers 3.57 MB

HSLA-V Steel Non-Standard Fixed Bridge

Project Background

The U.S. Army maintains bridge designs for rapid reconstruction during deployed operations. However, heavy military loads and the materials required to support these loads often limit these bridges to short spans. The U.S. Army has need of bridges which can span long gaps and are readily deployable. HSLA-V steels are now used in girders and plates for highway bridges in the private sector, as they offer stronger, yet lighter weight structures. As an economical alternative to standard low C-Mn steels, HSLA-V steels are also easier to weld, exhibit a higher toughness, and are more resistant to the effects of corrosion. 

Project Objective

 The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of South Carolina (USC) and the Engineering Research and Development Center (ERDC) of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have agreed to jointly investigate the benefits of HSLA-V steel and the utilization of existing private sector bridge technology in the redesign of current Army non-standard fixed bridges for rapid construction and minimized weight. 

PDFHSLA-V Non-Standard Fixed Bridge for Military Applications-Poster

HSLA-V Research

Click on download links to view reports below...

The following technical publications are provided to assist steel producers, metallurgists, design engineers and engineering students. The intent of these papers is to include results and conclusions of relatively recent study outcomes that describe material property data, steel processing results and material behavior outcomes that results from microalloying steel with vanadium.

The selected publications are put into general categories to assist the reader with the primary subject matter and most likely target audience. 

Category: Effects of Vanadium on Metallurgy, Microstructure and Material Properties
Audience: Metallurgists and Steel Producers

Category: Effects of Vanadium on Manufacturability
Audience: Steel Producers

Category: Specific Applications
Audience: Design Engineers

Applications  HSLA-V Applications
Steel Reinforcement Bar Blast Simulation

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