Steel is an alloy that consists mostly of iron and has carbon content between 0.2% and 2.1% by weight, depending on the grade. Carbon is the most common alloying material for iron, but various other alloying elements are used, such as manganese, chromium, vanadium, and tungsten. Carbon and other elements act as a hardening agent, preventing dislocations in the iron atom crystal lattice from sliding past one another. Varying the amount of alloying elements and the form of their presence in the steel (solute elements, precipitated phase) controls qualities such as the hardness, ductility, and tensile strength of the resulting steel. Nickel and manganese in steel add to its tensile strength and make austenite more chemically stable, chromium increases hardness and melting temperature and vanadium also increases hardness while reducing the effects of metal fatigue. To prevent corrosion, at least 11% chromium is added to steel so that a hard oxide forms on the metal surface; this is known as stainless steel. Tungsten interferes with the formation of cementite, allowing martensite to form with slower quench rates, resulting in high speed steel. On the other hand, sulfur, nitrogen, and phosphorus make steel more brittle, so these commonly found elements must be removed from the ore during processing. Major groups off steel are as below:


Stainless Steels

  • Austenitic
  • Ferritic
  • Martensitic
  • Duplex
  • Precipitation-Hardening

Alloy Steels

  • Low-alloy steel
  • High-alloy steel


High-Strength Low-Alloy Steels (HSLA)

  • Weathering steel
  • Control-rolled steel
  • Pearlite-reduced steel
  • Microalloyed steel

Carbon and Low-Alloy Steels

  • Low carbon steel
  • Mild Carbon Steel
  • High carbon Steel

Heat-Resistant Steels

Tool Steels

  • Heat treatable steels
  • Carbon tool steel
  • Case hardening steels
  • Nitriding steels
  • Spring steels
  • High speed steels
  • Hot work tool steel
  • Plastic mould steel
  • Cold work tool steel




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