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What are the Different Types of Steel

  • October 21, 2020

The Four Types of Steel

Steel is a combination of two elements, iron and carbon. Steel are broken is broken into four types and then in those types steel is broken down into grades. There are four main types of steel, Carbon Steels, Alloy Steels, Stainless Steels, Tool Steels. Each different type of steels has unique characteristics which lead it to being used in it’s respected fields.

Carbon Steels

Carbon steels are the most common types of steel accounting for around 90% of steel production. Carbon steel typically contains up to 2% of carbon. Carbon steel is broken into three main sub categories, low carbon steel, also known as mild steel, medium carbon steel, and high carbon steel. The term carbon steel can also be used as a catch call term for steel that isn’t stainless steel.

Alloy Steels

Alloy Steels use different types of elements to influence the characteristics of the metal. Common elements are chromium, nickel, copper, molybdenum, vanadium, and aluminum. These elements are used to change the ductility, strength, machinability, and it’s corrosion resistance. Alloy steels can have up to 50% of it’s weight consit

Stainless Steels

Stainless steel is the go to steel for applications with corrosives. Stainless steel has to include chromium, usually around 11-12%. To be classified as stainless steel it has to have a minimum of 10.5% chromium content. Stainless steel is easily identified by it’s sheen and is commonly used in the food, medical, hard and architectural industries.

Tool Steels

Tool steels are commonly used in cutting and drilling equipment due to the higher heat resistance and hardness they get from the alloys they have in them. Tool steels commonly contain tungsten, molybdenum, cobalt and vanadium. There are 6 grades of tooling steel, air-hardening, water-hardening, D-type, hot-working, shock-resisting types, and oil hardening.

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