In recent years there has been an increased emphasis on the development of new advanced high strength sheet steels (AHSS), particularly for automotive applications. Descriptive terminology has evolved to describe the “First Generation” of AHSS, i.e. steels that possess primarily ferrite-based microstructures, and the “Second Generation” of AHSS, i.e. austenitic steels with high manganese contents which include steels that are closely related to austenitic stainless steels. First generation AHSS have been referred to by a variety of names including dual phase (DP), transformation induced plasticity (TRIP), complex-phase (CP), and martensitic (MART). Second generation austenitic AHSS include twinninginduced plasticity (TWIP) steels, Al-added lightweight steels with induced plasticity (L-IP
), and shear band strengthened steels (SIP steels). Recently there has been increased interest in the development of the “Third Generation” of AHSS, i.e. steels with strength-ductility combinations significantly better than exhibited by the first generation AHSS but at a cost significantly less than required for second generation AHSS. Approaches to the development of third generation AHSS will require unique alloy/microstructure combinations to achieve the desired properties. Results from a recent composite modeling analysis have shown that the third generation of AHSS will include materials with complex microstructures consisting of a high strength phase (e.g. ultra-fine grained ferrite, martensite, or bainite) and significant amounts of a constituent with substantial ductility and work hardening (e.g. austenite). In this paper, design methodologies based on considerations of fundamental strengthening mechanisms are presented and evaluated to assess the potential for developing new materials. Several processing routes will be assessed, including the recently identified Quenching & Partitioning (Q&P) process developed in the authors’ own laboratory.