Steel is one of the most sought-after materials for construction and other projects. A combination of iron and other elements (primarily carbon), the material is naturally strong and durable, making it a perfect choice for a wide range of uses. However, due to the uniqueness of each project, industrial manufacturers often produce many different types of steel. They differ in properties such as strength, elasticity, thermal conductivity and hardness. These varying properties make the different types of steel ideal for the different physical and mechanical properties needed for each application. Knowing the different types of steel available will help you choose the right one for your project. Below is a breakdown of the common types of steel you will find.
Also known as plain-carbon steel, this type of steel is made of iron and carbon. Plain carbon steel is further divided into more groups depending on the level of carbon content in the alloy. The primary carbon steel categories are low carbon, medium carbon, high carbon and ultra-high carbon steel. Low carbon steel, also known as mild steel, has the lowest carbon content and tends to cover the largest groups of carbon steel. It costs comparatively less than its counterparts in the group and is best suited for applications ranging from decorative ironwork, nails, wires and chains.
Medium carbon steel has a higher carbon content than low carbon steel but lower than high carbon steel. Due to its strength and resistance to basic wear and tear, it's an option to consider if you need structural steelwork. Some of its other applications include making cylinders, axles and crankshafts. On the other hand, high carbon steels have a much higher carbon content than the other two. It's mostly used to manufacture tools such as edge tools, hammers, screwdrivers and wrenches. It's also ideal for making high-strength wires, strings and ropes.
Ultra-high carbon steel is the hardest material in this group. It's usually non-malleable and mainly used for industrial purposes like the manufacture of shear blades, milling cutters and razors.
Alloy steels are usually made from combining carbon steel and other 'alloying' elements like chromium, nickel, aluminium, or copper. Stainless steel is an example of alloy steel and it's another common type of steel you will find. It's an alloy of carbon steel and chromium or sometimes nickel. Stainless is highly preferred for its high corrosion resistance. It also has applications including piping, medical equipment and cutting tools.
Like carbon steel, alloy steels are further classified as high-alloy or low-alloy depending on the percentage of the alloying elements used. Besides their corrosion resistance, alloy steels are also highly resistant to heat against temperature and are a more cost-effective structural steel alternative. For more information, contact a steelwork facility.