Finnish steel research concentrated in Oulu

The Genome of Steel profiling project, which gets funding from the Academy of Finland, is making great strides forward at the University of Oulu. The project has led to a concentration of steel research in Oulu, and a strengthening of skills and knowledge among researchers. The head of the project, Professor Jukka Kömi, estimates that three quarters of steel research in Finland takes place in Oulu.

Research into steel takes place at the Centre for Advanced Steel Research (CASR) at the Faculty of Technology at the University of Oulu. CASR is a multidisciplinary research community comprising 95 researchers. Taking part are eight research groups from the University of Oulu, researchers from other Finnish universities, VTT, and 30 different enterprises.

Professor Jukka Kömi of the Materials and Mechanical Engineering Unit says that at the beginning of the project the focus has been on raising the quality of the research and developing the research environment. The research community has been reinforced by recruiting two top researchers for tenure track posts, nine post doc researchers, and by implementing structured international researcher exchanges. Twenty researchers from the Lappeenranta University of Technology have joined the CASR research consortium, focusing on developing steel structures. Professor Seppo Louhenkilpi (Department of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering at Aalto University), associate professor Qifeng Shu (University of Science and Technology Beijing) and associate professor Wei Cao (Dr.Rer.Nat in Fribourg Swizerland) have joined the group to deeper and wider expertise of solidification, control of inclusions and atomic scale characterisation of steels.

In addition to Professor Kömi's unit, the main figures behind the Genome of Steel profiling project include the Nano and Molecular Systems Research Unit (NANOMO) headed by Professor Marko Huttula and the Process Metallurgy Group headed by Professor Timo Fabritius.

With respect to research infrastructure, the Centre for Advanced Steel Research is supported both by its own basic equipment as well as close collaboration with the university's NANOMO research unit. The equipment has been upgraded through new acquisitions. In research on surface materials for the steel industry it is also possible to utilise the state-of-the-art equipment at the MAX IV synchrotron radiation laboratory at Lund University in Sweden.

“The vision of CASR is to become one of the world's leading centres of steel research.”

The Genome of Steel profiling project focuses on basic phenomena involving steel as well as the sustainable manufacture and use of steel production. The aim of profiling is to combine experimental and theoretical knowledge and skills so that understanding about the manufacture, microstructure, and physical features of steel might grow.

The focus of research at the Centre of Advanced Steels Research, CASR is on high-strength steels in structures that are light and durable. Also connected with this is another central and topical research goal of the Centre: the reduction of the carbon footprint of the production and use of steel by increasing skill and knowledge about steel.

The vision of CASR is to become one of the world's leading centres of steel research.  Ways to strive for that goal include strengthening its own skills and knowledge in research and developing the division of labour among universities, as well as through nurturing closer collaboration with the steel industry and international research institutions.

Professor Jukka Kömi sees that steel research at the University of Oulu has reached a stage at which it is possible to conduct world-class steel research.

“The research environment has been developed in such a way that we now have at our disposal an extensive amount of industrial data and we can focus on high-quality fundamental research. This has been reflected in increasingly brisk publishing activity”, Kömi says.

Centre for Advanced Steels Research CASR

Last updated: 6.6.2019