Luleå University of Technology

Sustainable solution for high performance PM steels (SSPM)

  • Circularity and Replacement
  • Properties
Industrial project

Research question

Powder metallurgy (PM) using press and sinter method is an important process for manufacturing high performance components in large volumes. PM has several advantages, however, it faces a key challenge of achieving circularity for Fe‐Cu‐C materials used in PM steels. Copper (Cu) and nickel (Ni) are critical elements. Cu recovery using the current steel recycling process has proved difficult. Ni is added as an alloying element as it improves the hardenability properties of PM steels. This project focuses on establishing a method of substituting these elements with more sustainable ones. Incorporation of chromium (Cr), manganese (Mn) and silicon (Si) yields similar properties in PM steels as Ni and Cu. The obstacle to overcome with these elements is finding the best alloying method to introduce them in PM steels since they are easily oxidized. Therefore, this project explores the master alloying (MA) route to alloy the PM steels with these elements as a preferred solution together with a suggested process route.

Sustainability aspects

The project helps to promote sustainable development by reducing the environmental impact of
manufacturing process. The focus is substitution of Ni and Cu with Mn and Cr in powder metallurgy
metal powders. One key problem with the use of copper is the recyclability of components after end of
life since it is challenging to remove copper from the steel in the present steel recycling processes.
Nickel on the other hand is accompanied by large CO2 footprint from extraction to refined form.
Additionally, there is a foreseen competition for these critical elements during the shift to electric
vehicles as they find huge application in batteries. Substitution with chromium and manganese will
make the components easily recyclable and reduced dependence of the critical elements. Furthermore,
Cr and Mn raw materials have lower CO2 footprint compared to Ni.


Dimitris Chasoglou


researcher photo

Luleå University of Technology

Marta-Lena Antti


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