University of Pittsburgh
July 12, 2007

Steel Experts Trained in Pittsburgh Return for International Conference on the Latest Methods of Producing Strong and Cost-Effective Steel, Hosted by Pitt's Basic Metals Processing Research Institute, July 16-19

Pitt faculty members to cochair Association for Iron and Steel Technology's international conference on innovative production and application of low-cost, durable steel during current industry boom times
Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH-Although the mill fires have dimmed and the smoke cleared, Pittsburgh has retained its international prominence in steel manufacturing as a research center for the latest production innovations. As a top contributor to that reputation, the University of Pittsburgh's Basic Metals Processing Research Institute (BAMPRI) will host the Association for Iron and Steel Technology's (AIST) international conference on developing and producing cost-effective, high-quality steel. The conference will be held July 16-19 at Soldiers and Sailors Hall, 4141 Fifth Ave. Approximately 150 metallurgists, engineers, and academicians from 18 countries will convene to share the latest methods of producing and building with microalloyed steel, a strong and low-cost material.

Pitt's BAMPRI has specialized in microalloy innovation since the technique was developed 35 years ago, said conference cochair and BAMPRI director Anthony DeArdo, Pitt's William Kepler Whiteford Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science (MEMS) in the School of Engineering. DeArdo organized the conference with cochair C. Isaac Garcia, also a professor in Pitt's MEMS department and the associate director of BAMPRI. BAMPRI is a world-renowned research facility in Pitt's School of Engineering that serves the basic metals industry through development and implementation of the latest products and processing technology. The institute helps compensate for the reduction of in-house research and development that has occurred throughout the metal production industry in recent decades.

Many of the conference's featured speakers studied under DeArdo and gained their expertise in Pittsburgh's vital environment of steel research. They will return to the city next week as the top minds in their fields. The attendees include:

° Pittsburgh native Eric Palmiere, senior lecturer of metallurgy at the University of Sheffield in England, is renowned for his study of innovative steel production methods that improve efficiency and accentuate material strength. He also directs the university's Quarrell Materials Processing Laboratory and the Thermomechanical Processing Laboratory. Palmiere held an assistant professorship at Pitt from 1993-97.

° Hongtao Zhang studied for three years at Pitt before becoming senior researcher at China's Central Iron and Steel Research Institute (CISRI), a leading organization in China's booming steel and construction industries.

° Also from CISRI is Ruizhen Wang, who studied at Pitt before returning to China as an expert on casting and rolling microalloyed steel.

The conference comes to Pitt and Pittsburgh (for the eighth time) during boom times for the global steel industry, and the University and city are again poised as hubs of steel manufacturing, this time in the area of innovation and research, DeArdo said.

As stock and market prices for steel balloon, buyers and producers clamor for low-cost yet durable steel, DeArdo continued. Microalloyed steel provides greater strength than conventional steel as it contains small amounts of elements such as niobium, titanium, and vanadium, he said. With correct processing, microalloyed steel boasts 50-100 percent more strength than conventional steel with a cost increase as low as 10 percent.

Registration for the AIST conference begins at 4 p.m. July 16 with a reception to follow from 5 to 7 p.m.

The technical sessions begin at 8 a.m. July 17 with the conference's opening remarks by John P. Surma, U.S. Steel President and Chief Executive Officer. Presentations for each day follow a research theme such as plate steels used for oil and gas pipelines or sheet steels for manufacturing automobiles.

For more information and a conference schedule, visit the AIST Web site at