Classifying Steel Based on Its Property

Example of Stainless SteelHaving a good understanding of the four categories of steel is necessary to determine their respective uses or applications. Each type encompasses unique environmental, chemical and physical properties. Steel is generally a combination of two elements, namely the iron and carbon. Although its carbon content is the major determinant for most steel, there are other alloying components that further determine the properties for each grade level.

To identify their differences, here are the four classifications of steel as stated byAmerican Iron and Steel Institute (AISI):

Carbon Steel

A steel can be considered as carbon steel when there’s no specified or minimum carbon content needed along with other elements (like nickel, cobalt, molybdenum, nickel, and etc.) to achieve the desired alloying effect. This type of metal can be further classified into three different de-oxidation practices which greatly affect its hardness and strength. Here are the three different types:

  • Low-Carbon Steel (Mild Steel) – usually contains up to 0.3% carbon. This is often used for structural beams, flat sheets, and other non-critical frameworks of a building.
  • Medium Carbon Steel – which typically contains 0.3 to 0.6% carbon. Some of its most common applications include couplings, crankshafts, forgings, gears, rails, and wheels.
  • High Carbon Steel – it has more than 0.6% carbon. It is most commonly used for high-strength wires and production of cutting tools (like sword, knife, and etc), as well as industrial springs.

Alloy Steel

Alloy steel can be defined as steel with two or more combination of alloying components other than the carbon itself. It is usually a combination of aluminum, silicon, copper and nickel. Many companies and products are produced using this metal because it is considerably economical, widely available in the market, and has good mechanical properties. Along with that, it is easier to process and form. It is most widely used in the production of auto parts, electric motors, generators and pipelines.

Stainless Steel

Steel which has 10 to 20% chromium as its main alloying element is known to be as stainless steel. This type is known and valued for its high corrosion resistance. Some of its basic applications include kitchen utensils, processing equipment, medical tools, and other structures that are highly exposed to water or moisture.

Tool Steel

For this next steel, it is composed of varying quantities of the following elements – which are the cobalt, molybdenum, tungsten and vanadium. Due to its high resistance to heat and durability, it is most commonly associated with cutting and drilling equipment production.

Since steel is now readily available online, it is easy to obtain the type of steel you need. However, before you make a purchase, Wasatch Steel says you should be sure to have a little knowledge about what they can and can’t do. This is to help you find the most suitable steel for any future project you might have in mind.