Although there are allegedly over 3,500 different types of steel, it can be separated into four groups depending on its chemical content. Steel is a metal alloy composed of both iron and carbon, but it is the level of impurities and elements such as nickel, magnesium, molybdenum, silicon, copper, vanadium that help to determine the grade of each steel. A widely used metal, varieties of steel are produced with different qualities in order to make them better suited for different applications. So to help you to distinguish the different types of steel, we’ve compiled this short guide.
Accounting for 90% of total steel production, carbon steels contain small amounts of alloying elements. It is slightly different to other steels since a few other elements are allowed in carbon steel with low maximum percentages. Carbon steels can be also be separated further into groups depending on their carbon content.
Alloy steels are made up of different alloying elements in order to suit the material’s properties. Divided into two groups: low alloy steels and high alloy steels, it is used for things such as pipelines, auto parts and electric motors.
Perhaps the most popular material due to its attractive appearance, stainless steel is used in the development of sculptures, monuments and other artistic projects. Originally known as ‘rustless steel’ due to its chromium content, stainless steel has the great advantage of being resistant to rusting and corrosion.
Produced with a distinctive hardness, tool steels contain tungsten, molybdenum, cobalt and vanadium in different amounts to make them ideal for cutting and drilling equipment. These varying elements increase heat resistance and durability for different applications.
Steel products can also be categorised according to their shapes and purposes for example, round bars, flat bars and flanges.
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