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A Detroit inventor has found a way to make steel seven percent stronger than any steel on record, offering the promise of lighter, thinner car bodies and stronger armored vehicles.

When self-taught metallurgist Gary Cola approached engineers at Ohio State University with his process - which takes just ten seconds - they thought he must have made a mistake.

"The process that Gary described – it shouldn’t have worked," says associate professor of materials science and engineering Suresh Babu . "I didn’t believe him. So he took my students and me to Detroit."

Cola's process involves rapid heating and cooling, which changes the microstructure inside the alloy to make it stronger and less brittle. At his proprietary lab setup, where rollers carried steel sheets through flames as hot as 1100 degrees Celsius and then into a cooling liquid bath.

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Category: Science