The development of a hot rolling process for variable cross-section I-beams

M. A. Carruth, J. M. Allwood

To meet targeted reductions in CO2 emissions by 2050, demand for metal must be cut, for example through the use of lightweight technologies. However, the efficient production of weight optimized components often requires new, more flexible forming processes. In this paper, a novel hot rolling process is presented for forming I-beams with variable cross-section, which are lighter than prismatic alternatives. First, the new process concept is presented and described. A detailed computational and experimental analysis is then conducted into the capabilities of the process. Results show that the process is capable of producing defect free I-beams with variations in web depth of 30–50%. A full analysis of the process then indicates the likely failure modes, and identifies a safe operating window. Finally, the implications of these results for producing lightweight beams are discussed.