Types of Steel and their advantages

When you look at the steel market in the world, you will realise that there are almost 3,500 different grades of steel. Every type has its own unique physical, chemical and environmental properties. If you look at the most basic composition, steel is composed of iron and carbon. However, when one goes into the specification, there are mainly 4 categories in which we can differentiate steel based on the chemical composition:

1. Carbon Steel

2. Alloy Steel

3. Stainless Steel

4. Tool Steel

Let us take a look at these types of steel and their advantages in detail:

1. Carbon Steel

The steel that contains trace amounts of alloying elements and accounts for 90% of total steel production. One can further divide Carbon Steel into three groups:

I. Low Carbon Steels/Mild Steels contain up to 0.3% carbon
Ii. Medium Carbon Steels contain 0.3-0.6% carbon
Iii. High Carbon Steels contain more than 0.6% carbon

2. Alloy Steel

This type of steel contains alloying elements like manganese, silicon, nickel, titanium, copper, chromium, and aluminum. The quantity and proportion of these elements determines the strength, resistance to corrosion, welding ability, etc of the steel which we will obtain. We can look at pipelines, generators, electric motors, etc and see that alloy steel is actually used here.

3. Stainless Steels

This kind of steel contains 10 to 20% chromium and are famed for their high corrosion resistance. This is the reason why stainless steel is one such type of steel that every person, even the person who is not educated in science, will know of. This popularity is because stainless steel is used maximum in household products like kitchenware, washing machines, ovens, fridges, etc and is durable as well as useful in everyday life.

4. Tool Steels

Tool steel is the type of steel that contains cobalt, vanadium, molybdenum and tungsten. The quantity of these other elements varies. The presence of these elements gives tool steel durability and heat resistance for which it is known. Tools like drilling equipment and cutting equipment use tool steel a lot.

When you study the various properties of these different kinds of steels, you will notice that they can be used to the advantage of every industry you can think of, from our households to automobile industry to space research and aviation industry. The types of steel discussed above can be used at different places, in different shapes and sizes in order to create vessels, cars, and even space ships. If you think about it, the advantages of steel are endless and the fields of steel manufacturing has just begun exploring all these benefits.

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