ARC linkage projects: using research to assist commercial success

In 2016, Baoshan Iron and Steel Co Ltd (Baosteel) became the second largest steelmaker in the world. Part of this success can be attributed to the company’s strong focus on R&D and, according to Scientia Professor Liangchi Zhang, their extensive Nationally recognised and award-winning Central Research Institute.

“Our team has been collaborating with Baosteel for the last eight years,” says Zhang who leads UNSW’s Laboratory for Precision and Nano Processing Technologies. Zhang says they have completed two Australian Research Council Linkage Projects with Baosteel and have another underway.”

Industry projects & world first breakthroughs

The first project was interested in developing higher-wear resistance materials for hard steel rolling and resulted in a significant improvement of over three times in the equipment’s service life. Baosteel is going to apply this technology to their production lines.

The second project sought to develop a new technique to characterise friction and rolling pressure between the roll surface and the metal plate, which is a worldwide issue. “We were able to achieve a very good result on this project,” Zhang says. “We developed and transferred a statistical prediction method to Baosteel. This makes them the only company in the world to have this ability.”

The third project started in 2016 and wants to more deeply understand interface problems during the rolling process, continues Zhang, who says there are many ideas and opportunities for future collaborations.

Long-term partnerships

Mr Peilei Qu, who works in Baosteel’s Central Research Institute, says the company is not only thrilled with the technical transfer of the research, which he says has improved Baosteel’s competitiveness, but is most pleased with the opportunity to establish a long-term partnership with a world-leading research group.

“Professor Liangchi Zhang is a top scientist in steel cold rolling. The comprehensive collaborations and communications between Baosteel and UNSW have significantly improved our innovative abilities by converting the academic research to technical application,” he says.

“The experience of working with UNSW has been excellent. Two Baosteel researchers, including myself, have spent time at UNSW and the University has sent the principal investigators to Baosteel to deliver the technical outputs. All these efforts have ensured the continuation of our successful collaboration,” Qu concludes.

Partnership in summary


Baoshan Iron & Steel Co Ltd

Type of partnership



$1.1M in Australian Research Council Linkage Project grants

Collaborating since



To develop new techniques for cold rolling to reduce the power consumption, decrease pollution and improve the quality of steel products.


An innovative roll surface hardening technology and a new technique to characterise friction and rolling pressure.

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