D. Križan: Development of steel for the automotive industry continues skyrocketing

15. 07. 2015

Dr. Ing. Daniel KrižanAn interview with Dr. Ing. Daniel Križan, a successful Slovak scientists and recognized expert in material engineering, the head of the research team for the development of high strength steels for the automotive industry in the steel company voestalpine Steel Division GmbH, Linz, Austria.

Daniel Križan (1977) comes from Bratislava. He studied at the Faculty of Materials Science (FMS) SUT in Trnava, where in 2000 he defended his master's degree in the field of material engineering - metallic materials. In 2005, he has been granted with postgraduate doctoral degree in material engineering specializing in the development of high strength steels for the automotive industry at the University of Ghent, Belgium.

He excelled as a student in his field of study. He graduated with the prize of Rector and he was the winner of several student scientific conferences also at international level. His Master's thesis, dealing with the structural stability of duplex stainless steels, led by prof. Hrivňak, was awarded as the best in the field of material engineering. After graduating in 2000, he has started to work at the FMS SUT in Trnava as internal doctoral worker.

In 2001, he had been rewarded by a one-year bilateral scholarship at the University of Ghent (Laboratory for Iron and Steelmaking) in Belgium, where he dealt with the laser welding of stainless steels and steels for the automotive industry. After the internship, he decided to stay in Belgium for postgraduate doctoral studies in the development of high strength steels for the automotive industry. His work was awarded at the international level, when he has been awarded the Canadian metallurgical company in Vancouver in 2003 and first prize in the Belgian doctoral symposium in Ghent in 2004. During his studies, he became the first non-Belgian leader of the above-mentioned institute at all, when he managed the department of vacuum metallurgy and casting for three years.

After finishing of his doctorate in 2005, he began working in the research department at the Austrian steel plant voestalpine Stahl in Linz as the main coordinator of the research and development of high strength steels for the automotive industry containing residual austenite. In 2006, Dr. Daniel Križan had the honour to present the introductory plenary lecture with topic "Steel with transformation induced plasticity for application in the automotive industry" at the conference COM-MAT-TECH at the Faculty of Materials Science and Technology  in Trnava, also attended by leading representatives of then political life. When using these steels, thanks to their high strength and excellent formability, we can reduce the thickness of the individual components of automobile body and thus the total weight of the car. This reduces overall fuel consumption and harmful emissions released into the atmosphere during the same time improving the resistance of collision of car.

He is an internationally recognized expert in his field, at which steels developed by him are found in almost all automotive brands active on the current European automotive market.

Dr. Ing. Daniel Križan will be a guest at the Science Café called the Science in CENTRE - Summer Special on Thursday which will take place in the premises of the Slovak Centre of Scientific and Technical Information of SR (SCSTI SR) in Bratislava on Thursday, 16th June 2015 at 05:00 PM. Traditionally in summer, the National Centre for Popularisation of Science and Technology in Society a department of SCSTI SR invites into the Science Café young researchers who are famous also abroad thanks to their scientific work. On this occasion, we asked Dr. Ing. Daniel Križan for an interview.

M. BARTOŠOVIČOVÁ: Based on what have You decided to study at the Faculty of Materials Science and Technology SUT in Trnava?

D. KRIŽAN:  At the Technical College in Trnava, I graduated in engineering focused on technologies, including machining, welding, casting and molding. I liked this field of study, so I decided to study it more deeply at the Faculty of Materials Science and Technology SUT in Trnava. At that time, I thought that I will concentrate on the study of one of the possible engineering technologies in the future.

M. B.: You achieved excellent academic results in school. Can we say, that You had been caught by physical metallurgy?

D. KRIŽAN:  At the time of my studies, the first three years of our study had been joined and then we had to choose our specialization. At the end of the second year, we had a subject Physical metallurgy and limit conditions of materials that clearly decided that I will continue to concentrate on the material. I was fascinated by the interdisciplinary character of the subject, where was the combination of solid substances physics, thermodynamics and physical chemistry into one and it could be seen how they complete each other. Since then, I have become addicted to materials and in particular steels, which were reflected also on my excellent study results.

M. B.: In 2001, You had been granted by annual bilateral scholarship to study in Belgium at the University of Ghent. How did you get this scholarship?

D. KRIŽAN:  After finishing my studies at the university, I had applied for on annual bilateral scholarship of Slovak Academic Information Agency(SAIA) in Bratislava supported by the Kingdom of Belgium and the Slovak Republic. Based on study results, the award-winning theses and victory in international student scientific conference, I also received this scholarship. After a one-year internship, because of my good work results, I could stay on doctoral studies at the University of Ghent, where I specialized in developing high strength steels for the automotive industry.

M. B.: In December 2009, You have invented a new kind of steel. How did you get to this?

D. KRIŽAN: This was a new kind of steel with high strength and very good formability. Its basis were born already during my doctoral studies in Belgium and  I had continue to work on its development in my work in the Austrian company voestalpine where we could test the results obtained in the laboratory directly in production and subsequently they could by patented.

M. B.: Today, You have been credited with five world patents. What have they caused in your life?

D. KRIŽAN: These patent protected advanced high strength steels with a good formability are just getting to our customers in the automotive industry and in proportion to their power in the form of excellent mechanical properties and price, we clearly keep up first fiddle in Europe. By this our research and development department further maintains the respect of our competitors and high cvengo with our customers. The application of patents filed was in my case, of course, also connected with certain financial improvement from the company.

M. B.: You participate on international projects. Could You mention some of them?

D. KRIŽAN: International projects, in which I am engaged, are engaged in research of new types of steels for the automotive industry with the participation of the academic sector and selected car manufacturers. In addition to international projects are also important national projects supported by the Austrian Government, for example. I coordinate one such high strategic project nowadays.

M. B.:  What do you consider as the most important in work of scientists?

D. KRIŽAN:  Certainly the most important feature of researcher should be curiosity - wanting to learn or develop something new. Next we need to have a very large view and read a lot, to be able to learn new information which might be useful in our own research and development. As in every field, it is important sedulity and patience because not everything always turns out well for the first time.

M. B.: Do you think that at there is sufficient interest among young people to study science and technical subjects nowadays?

D. KRIŽAN: It was probably a Europe-wide trend that many young people chose the easier courses mainly humanities just to make it easier to get a higher education diploma. It is now but very good to know that for these surpluses of graduates is very difficult to seek employment in the labour market. I think that today's young generation is beginning to realize that the path does not lead in that direction. It is now absolutely clear that the strong industrial oriented Slovakia is in high demand after graduates of natural science and especially in technical fields. While it is difficult to study these disciplines, it is awarded by a certain job and a decent financial evaluation. In addition to these important factors for life, these disciplines provide an immeasurable quantity personal fulfilment and creative thinking. So I can only recommend studying science and engineering to young people.

M. B.: In conclusion, could You bring us closer in concise and popular form the theme of your presentation at the Science Café in July called the Science in CENTRE - Summer Special on theme New steel = lighter and safer cars?

D. KRIŽAN: The aim of the lecture is to show to the general public that on such notorious construction materials as steel, is still something to develop, at which its development at least for the automotive industry continues literally skyrocketing. Next, I would like to show in a lecture that in their development are used the most advanced experimental methods supported by the whole amount of computer simulations. Finally, I would like to emphasize the impact of science and technology on our daily live. In the case of development of modern steels for the automotive industry, it is reduction of the negative impact of effects of transportation on the environment by significantly increased security.

M. B.: Thank You for an interview.

An interview prepared by: PhDr. Marta Bartošovičová

Translated by: LŠ

SCSTI, Engineering, Popularization of Science and Technology , inventions,

Technical Sciences

Science in CENTRE - Summer Special: New steel = lighter and safer cars