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Classification and Uses of Steel

by TKL Steel Corp. August 24, 2020

Steel is an alloy that contains up to 2% of carbon, the most important commercial component of steel. There are many types and classification of steel – some look at its chemical composition, steels are grouped into the most frequently used types of steel – the plain carbon steel, low-alloy steel, and high-allow steel. This blog aims to explain and breakdown the differences and common uses of each steel.

 

Plain Carbon Steel

Plain Carbon Steel is the world’s most used and produced steel. It is an iron that is made-up of less than one percent carbon with a few amounts of manganese and silicon from the deoxidation procedure conducted in the ladle. Plain carbon steel is grouped into Low-Carbon Steel with lower than 0.30% carbon, Medium-Carbon Steel with 0.30 to 0.45% carbon, High-Carbon Steel with 0.45 to 0.75% carbon, and Ultra-High Carbon Steel that contains up to 1.50% carbon.

Low-Carbon Steel

Low-carbon steel has low tensile strength but it has high malleability and ductility. It is commonly used in the production of metal sheets, pipes, chains, box, wires, cases, rivets, vehicle frames and many more.

Medium-Carbon Steel

Increased carbon indicates greater resistance and tensile strength, reduced ductility, and less malleable. As a result of its durability, this class is mostly used for gears, axles, crankshafts, couplings, forgings, machinery parts, railways, and structural steel.

High-Carbon Steel

High-carbon steel is classified as a strong, brittle, and hard steel. It is being utilized for high strength wires and springs, and a practical material for producing shock-absorbing
machinery.

Ultra-high Carbon Steel

Ultra-high carbon steel is known to have great strength and good tensile ductility. It is utilized in manufacturing non-industrial equipment such as knives, axles or punches.

Types
of Carbon Steel

Carbon
Content

Characteristics

Uses

Low-Carbon
Steel

0.30%

Low tensile
strength, high malleability and ductility

Production of
metal sheets, pipes, boxes, chains, wires, rivets, cases, vehicle frames

Medium-Carbon
Steel

0.30-0.45%

Greater
resistance and tensile strength, reduced ductility and malleability versus LowCarbon Steel

Gears, axles,
crankshafts, couplings, forgings, machinery parts, railways, and structural
steel.

High
Carbon Steel

0.45-0.75%

Strong,
brittle and hard steel

High strength
wires and springs, and material for producing shock-absorbing machinery

Ultra-High
Carbon Steel

0.76-1.50%

Great
strength and good tensile ductility

Knives, axles
and punches


Low-Alloy Steel

Low-Alloy Steel contains up to 8% of alloying elements composed of carbon, manganese, silicon, aluminium, nickel, chromium, cobalt, molybdenum, vanadium, tungsten, titanium, niobium, zirconium, nitrogen, sulphur, copper, boron, lead, tellurium and selenium. The alloy was made to increase its durability and toughness after the heat treatment. Low-alloy steel is used for the production of pipes, round bar, rectangular bar, flat bar, square bar, round tube, steel plates, railways and other structural engineering plates.

High-Alloy Steel

High-alloy steel has chromium that allows the material to exhibits resistance to corrosion because of its formation of a thin layer of chromium oxide on the surface and high nickel content. Stainless steel is a high-allow steel that contains at least 12% chromium. There are three basic types of stainless steel, the austenitic, ferritic and martensitic.

Austenitic

This type of stainless steel provides excellent weldability but is not stable at room temperature, hence, alloys such as nickel, manganese and carbon are added to stabilize the material. This is commonly used in chemical and food processing and kitchen equipment such as cookware and cutlery.

Ferritic

Ferritic stainless steel has 12-17% chromium content, up to 0.1% carbon, and with small amounts of aluminium, molybdenum and titanium. This type of stainless steel is known for its tough, strong, and magnetic characteristics. It is utilized in solar heaters, low-cost production kitchenware and car-exhaust systems.

Martensitic

Martensitic steels contain 11.5 to 18% chromium and 1.2% carbon. This type of steel is not only receptive to heat treatments but also contains magnetic properties. It is uses in dental and surgical instruments, knives, blades, and other cutting tools.

Types
of High-Alloy Steel

Chromium
Content

Carbon
Content

Uses

Austenitic

18%

0.80%

Cookware and
cutlery

Ferritic

12-17%

0.10%

Solar
heaters, car-exhaust systems and low-cost production kitchenware

Martensitic

11.5-18%

1.20%

Cutting
tools, dental and surgical instruments


Other Types of Alloy Steel

Aside from plain carbon steel, low-alloy steel, and high-alloy steel, there are several other kinds of steel alloy that is also widely used in the market – Nickel, Manganese, Molybdenum, Tungsten, Silicon, Vanadium, and Chromium-Vanadium Steel.

Nickel Steel

This type of steel is generally the most used steel alloy in the world. It contains 3.5% of nickel and 0.35% carbon. Nickel Steel is known for the strength of its structural steel without its ductility. Once nickel is added, it increases the toughness of the material which helps resist the damages that may be caused by high impact loads and shocks. Aside from this, another benefit of nickel is it decreased the critical temperature making the steel adaptive to any kind of heat treatment process.

Manganese Steel

Manganese steel contains 11-14% of manganese which is used in manufacturing of complex railways tracks due to its outstanding hardening characteristic and wear resistance. Other application of manganese are shovel buckets, shot blast cabinets, scrapers, anti-drill security and many more.

Molybdenum Steel

Molybdenum is an important alloying agent for steel since it improves the steel’s toughness, weldability, and corrosion resistance. This makes it excellent to use in structural steel, marine environment applications, oil and gas pipelines, and ball bearings.

Tungsten Steel

Tungsten steel, also known as wolfram, is primarily made up of silver metal that possesses the highest melting point among other metal types. It can withstand high temperature and it is resistant to corrosion and wear. It is used to fabricate rocket engine nozzles and if tungsten is combined with cobalt, nickel and iron, it can produce turbine blades, and other tools that are high heat resistant.

Silicon Steel

Silicon steel is the most important material used when it comes to magnetic force. Its notable properties are saturation, reduction, resistivity, magnetostriction, and magneto-crystalline anisotropy. With 1-2% addition of silicon, the steel is mostly utilized to make permanent magnets.

Vanadium Steel

This type of steel is known for its corrosion-resistant characteristic and its capability to absorb shocks. It is being used for chemical-carrying pipes, tubes, and in the form of a fine layer to affix titanium to steel for aerospace and automobile applications.

Chromium-Vanadium Steel

Chromium-Vanadium Steel utilizes both chromium and vanadium properties that makes it extremely high tensile strength which can be easily cut but is not brittle. It is commonly utilized in gears, axles, connecting rods, automotive frames and many more.

Types of Alloy Steel

Characteristics

Application and Uses


Nickel Steel

Known for the strength of its structural steel without its ductility

Heavy forgings, turbine blades, bolts, nuts, bearings and many more


Manganese Steel

Known for its outstanding hardening characteristic and wear
resistance

Manufacturing of railway tracks


Molybdenum Steel

Known for its toughness, weldability, and corrosion resistance

Oil and gas pipelines, and ball bearings

Tungsten Steel

Known for its ability to withstand high temperature and its
resistance to corrosion and wear

Rocket engine nozzles, turbines blades, and many more


Silicon Steel

Known for its magnetic force

Magnets


Vanadium Steel

Known for its ability to absorb shock and corrosion resistance

Aerospace and automobile


Chromium-Vanadium Steel

Known for its high tensile strength but it can still be cut easily
without being brittle

Gears, axles, connecting rods, automotive frames and many more

 

Are you looking for a trusted steel supplier that provides good quality steel products at competitive prices? Contact TKL Steel Corporation, the trusted steel supplier in the industry with 35 years of experience in valuing the trust of our customers and providing good quality steel products at competitive prices. For inquiries, you may reach us at 0917 569 2087, 0923 082 9160, (02) 8588 1155 to 99, email us at sales@tkl.com.ph, or send us a message in our official Facebook page www.facebook.com/tklsteelph and our friendly sales associates will assist you with your steel requirements.


Sources:

Metallurgy Matters: Carbon content, steel classifications, and alloy steels. (2003, August 28).
Retrieved July 11, 2020, from https://www.thefabricator.com/thewelder/article/metalsmaterials/carbon-content-steelclassifications-and-alloy-steels
Carbon Steel: Properties, Production, Examples and Applications. (n.d.). Retrieved July 13, 2020, from https://matmatch.com/learn/material/carbon-steel
26 Different Types of Steel. (2019, August 28). Retrieved July 15, 2020, from https://www.homestratosphere.com/types-of-steel/