SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1981

Trends in Rare-Earth Metal Consumption for Steel Applications in the 1980's


During the 1920's and 1930's, rare-earth metals (REM's), periodic chart Group IIIA—lanthanides, were virtually unknown to wrought, carbon, and steel alloy steel producers. Between 1940 and the late 1960's the proven hot and cold formability benefits of rare-earth usage in carbon, alloy, and stainless steels were over shadowed by inconsistent addition recoveries and poor microcleanliness. As a result, rare-earth metals had limited application until the late 1960's, when the development of 550 000-kPa (80 000 psi) high-strength low-alloy steel demonstrated that the formulation of stable globular rare-earth sulfide and oxysulfide inclusions led to substantial improvements in toughness and formability. As metallurgical technology advanced throughout the 1970's, REM consumption increased by a factor of five. The benefits of sulfide-shape control and hydrogen-induced cracking control aided diversification of REM's application while desulfurization technology and continuous casting to some extent had a negative impact upon consumption. It will be concluded that, as the demand for higher-performance steels increases, the steel producer will continue intensifying individualized plant searches toward sulfur control. Moreover, REM consumption during the 1980's will continue to increase as the diversification into additional steel applications continues.

Author Information

Trethewey, WH
Reactive Metals and Alloys Corp., West Pittsburg, Pa.
Jackman, JR
Reactive Metals and Alloys Corp., West Pittsburg, Pa.
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Developed by Committee: A09
Pages: 99–109
DOI: 10.1520/STP27685S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-4805-5
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-0744-1