The Different Types of Steel

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30 Sep The Different Types of Steel

Carbon Steel– This is the most widely used kind of steel. Its carbon content is under 2% and is usually less than 1%. It often also contains a little manganese. Common uses for Carbon Steel are things like simple structural applications such as cold formed fasteners and bolts. It is often used in the case-hardened condition.

Stainless Steel– This is the most corrosion-resistant kind of steel. It normally contains at least 12% (and sometimes up to 30%) chromium, and it usually also contains nickel. A very popular stainless-steel formulation is 18-8, 18% chromium and 8% nickel. Stainless Steel and other corrosion resistant alloys are extensively used in the power generation industry to combat corrosion, particularly at elevated temperatures.

Alloy Steels– These contain a little carbon, and sometimes silicon, but they mainly contain added metals, such as manganese (hardness), nickel (strength), molybdenum (improved wear), tungsten (high-temperature strength), chromium (corrosion resistance), and vanadium (toughness). Alloy steels grade P91 are mainly used for the power industry.

Galvanized Steel– This steel is coated with zinc to protect against corrosion. You can read more about the galvanization process here.

Tool Steel– This is very hard steel made by tempering (heating to a very high temperature and then quickly cooling). This grade of tool steel is essentially plain high carbon steel. It is commonly used because of its low cost. Cold-work classes is a group of three tool steel’s: oil-hardening, air-hardening, and high carbon-chromium.

Damascus Steel– Quality ancient steel with a beautiful wavy surface pattern used in making sword blades. It seems to have come mainly from India. This is also known as ‘Damascened Steel and sometimes Watered Steel, now commonly refers to two types of steel used in custom knife and sword making, pattern-weld (giving the appearance of original Damascus steel) and Wootz.

Wootz Steel– This was actually a European mispronunciation of Ukku, the very fine steel made in ancient India that they called ‘Wook’. (It is probably the same material as Damascus Steel). The process to prepare Porous Iron involves hammering it while hot to release slag, breaking it up and sealing it with wood chips in a clay container, and heating it until the pieces of iron absorbed carbon from the wood and melted steel.

Electroplated Steel– This steel has a coating of another metal, usually tin, applied by the use of an electric current. Tin-plated steel is widely used for making cans and other containers. Electroplated Steel is primarily used to change the surface properties of an object (such as abrasion and wear resistance, corrosion protection, lubricity, aesthetic qualities), but may also be used to build up thickness on undersized parts or to form objects by electroforming.

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