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Metallurgy concerns the materials science and the technology of metals, the processing, product building and industrial exploitation of metals. It is the core activity underpinning primary metals production, alloying and processing, production and strategic use management (e.g.: reuse and recycling). These activities account for 46% of the total manufacturing value and 11% of the total gross domestic product (GDP) in the European Union.

At present metallurgy requires expenditures of energy, extraction of raw materials – coal, ore, use of expensive alloying elements, pre-processing, etc. However, such expenditures continue to decline as processes become more efficient and proficient, limiting the risk of pollution. The development of new technologies, including nanotechnologies, raw material and waste minimization and energy conservation has always been at the forefront of metallurgical process innovations.

Thus, further development of material science and metallurgy provides opportunities for the foreseeable future to enhance classical metallurgy, taking into consideration its major problems in economy, energy, environmental and social direction, with fundamentally new processes. These processes will have a significant impact on both the global economy and the social image of society.

The strategy of the metallurgy industry will havefour main thrusts:

  • Meeting new demands on new products and applications and promoting product innovations to meet new social and economical challenges
  • Enhanced materials properties and performance
  • Improved exploration/mining, manufacturing and processing, recycling/recovery
  • Enabling technologies and infrastructure.

The field of metallurgy covers the entire innovation landscape from discovering scientific basics to developing new applications and products, large-scale production innovation, monitoring metallurgical changes of the materials under service conditions, recycling/recovering the materials.. Metallurgy contributes significantly to solutions of the grand societal challenges in Europe.

Historically, Europe has been strong in metallurgy. However, to compete today with America and Asia and to maintain its patent priority on metal-based products, Europe must increase its efforts to make metallurgical discoveries and develop innovation in its products and production capabilities. Many stakeholders have pointed to the necessity of reinforcing Europe's strategic industrial strength in metals. They have called for a pan-European effort to strengthen the "metallurgical infrastructure" in Europe consisting of academic, industrial and governmental organizations through a dedicated R&D and Innovation programme for metallurgy in Europe.

It was recognised that for this effort, to be successful, it must fulfil four standard quality criteria:

•       The goal of the programme must be ambitious and ground breaking,

•       The teams engaged must be the best ones,

•       The benchmarks and milestones must be appropriate and adequately measureable,

•       The control feedback must be accurate, fast and effective in directing the programme.

The “Metallurgy made in and for Europe”roadmap identifies alternate technology paths for meeting certain performance objectives. It is driven by a need and is an important tool for collaborative technology planning and coordination for companies.  

Even today there is a tendency for forward planning to be a linear extrapolation from current competences and capabilities which results in a future of limited opportunities (Figure1). By focusing on areas of future need and projecting backwards to the present, a broader scope of potential can be addressed and multiple pathways found to reach the targets (Figure 2).

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(Source: Lecture by Rebecca Radnor, North Western University 1999___Culture Issues in Global Technology Relations)                                                                                                                                 

The approaches employed in pursuing a Figure 2 methodology will cater for the inclusion of disruptive concepts. These approaches are equally valid at the level of Member States and the EU.

The Commission sought and received the views of many businesses and interest groups during the development of the Metallurgy Roadmap, through debates and workshops, position papers, personal interactions. At these interactions there were present European associations, European Technology Platforms, networks of research organizations, companies.

The Science Position Paper of the European Science Foundation on a programme for Metallurgy in Europe for 2012-202[1] was included in the roadmap considerations. The summary requirements in this Position Paper have been reflected and confirmed in the outcomes of the roadmapping exercise.

The European stakeholders presented their viewpoints on key trends and challenges for metallurgy in Europe. Their points can be organised along five broad lines:

  • Manufacturing
  • New and improved materials and material data availability
  • Recycling and recovery
  • Modelling and simulation
  • Energy efficiency

In Manufacturing, the following categories were considered by most of European associations and Technology Platforms: (i) Powder metallurgy and Forming; (ii) Joining technologies; and (iii) Improved processes.

The category New and improved materials grouped the issues raised by the European stakeholders in (i). Metals and alloys; (ii). Coatings and treatments; (iii). Functional and multi-functional materials; (iv). Metal Matrix Composites, MMC; and (v). Improved material performance.

(i). Metals and alloys. Most of European stakeholders included metals and alloys among their main needs for research and innovation: multi-metals; new metals; conventional alloys (new single crystal alloys for HT turbine blades. weldable alloys for temperatures higher than IN718 and Ti-6-4 for engine structures); conventional materials mechanical behaviour and damage (Cr-base alloys, Ni-base alloys, Ti-alloys); new alloys; develop a better understanding of alloy behaviour during thermo-mechanical processing; develop a more in-depth understanding of the effect of trace elements on the properties of recycled alloys; a better understanding of the corrosion - strength - formability balance of high-strength aluminium alloys; accelerated synthesis, discovery and insertion of new alloys into real applications; higher temperature capabilities and alloy phase stability, especially for energy systems or other extreme environments ; aluminum alloys (cost reduction by use of secondary alloys, foams); designing alloys for high recycling rates; High strength metallics / alloys made with abundant alloying elements; scatter of alloying elements in the production process and properties of highly stressed components made of recycled alloys (secondary materials); multi-physical damage of new magnet alloys; austenitic steels and  ferritic-martensitic steels but also nickel based super alloys; new metals and alloys to meet the functional requirements strength, corrosion, wear, conductivity).

The industry requirements related to (iii). Functional and multi-functional materials; (iv). Intermetallics (for example, TiAl used in turbine blades; high temp intermetallics); and (v). Metal Matrix Composites were addressed withinn the Roadmap by sectors Transport, Energy, Construction. The broad category of (vi). Improved material performance, including lightweight (for instance, mechanic performance; environmental performance and REACH compliance; multi-parameter optimisation of performance; predictability of product performance) was addressed in the Roadmap by all sectors.

The Recycling and recovery category of challenges raised by the European stakeholders (, as well as the Modelling and simulation, were addressed in the Roadmap within each sector, and the key issues of Energy efficiency were considered in the Transport and Consumer goods sectors.

Research Topics and Champions

To achieve the goals in a medium term, we suggest the European Commission consider the topics recommended below as "champions" in the area of enabling-tools.

Topic 1: High-throughput experimentation and assessment for the construction of a material database for advanced materials to meet urgent industrial needs. It should include in future calls advanced material-characterisation instrumentation and fast procedures for the development and validation of a co-ordinated materials database with a clear emphasis on metallurgy.

Topic 2: ModellingofNew Metallic-Materials with Life-Time Approach and Creation of European Metallic-Material-Models Library. Significant results in material-modelling have been made/achieved in Europe. However, to fully take advantages of these for the benefit of the industry, these need to be further developed and need to connect the whole life-cycle process (e.g. considering design, manufacturing, environment, and recycling) to meet latest and future industry needs.

Topic 3: Integrated Computational Platform for Life-Metallurgy-Engineering and Product Innovations. An integrated computational platform is needed to: support Europe in metal-product innovations; enable much more efficient "Materials by Design" and moving towards "Material-industry as a service"; significantly shorten the material development cycle; and effectively monitoring and predicting metals' life-time performance, etc. It would need to integrate different models, material-databases, computational techniques and software-tools, to address all material-processing steps, life-time performance prediction for both existing and emerging materials.

Topic 4: European Network of Excellence for Enabling Tools for Metallurgy. A European Network of Excellence (NOE) in metallurgical enabling-tools could be a vehicle to drive and facilitate such integration effectively and to act as a executing body to address many cross-cutting issues, e.g. a European Platform (virtual institute) of Metal Physics to work closely with metallurgically based industries to identify fundamental mechanisms of deformation and failure through a combination of characterization, mechanical testing and simulations based on physical models. This platform would also provide education and training in metal physics for engineers and metal physicists in industry.

Topic 5 – Identify common fundamental deformation and failure processes across a range of industrial sectors, including nuclear power, aerospace, automotive and metal production, and formulating theoretical and computational strategies to model them. Examples include fatigue crack initiation, slip transmission at interfaces, hydrogen embrittlement, micro-structural evolution under irradiation and concomitant changes to the ductile to brittle transition, and plastic deformation under shock loading.

Link-up “champion” topics to Horizon 2020

Factories of the future, (FoF), PPP

Resource-efficient Processing Industry, (SPIRE), PPP

Energy-efficient Buildings, (EeB), PPP (CON2, )

Green Vehicles, (EGVI) PPP

Fuel Cells and Hydrogen, (FCH) JTI

Aeronautics and Air Transport, (Clean Sky) JTI

Nanoelectronics, (ENIAC) JTI

Active and healthy ageing, EIP

Sustainable Agriculture, EIP

Smart cities and communities, EIP

Raw materials, EIP

Water, EIP

[1]‘Metallurgy Europe – A Renaissance Programme for 2012-2022’, Science Position Paper of the Materials Science and Engineering Expert Committee (MatSEEC) of the European Science Foundation, 2011