Facts About Steel Grades and Classifications

Steel is an alloy of iron and carbon, and sometimes other elements. Iron is the base metal of steel. Steel also contains varying amounts of other elements, such as manganese, sulfur, phosphorus, and silicon. These impurities alter the steel’s properties, which is why there are many types of steel with different strengths and applications. The amount of carbon in steel affects its hardness, strength, and durability. Because of its high tensile strength and low cost, it is a major component used in buildings, infrastructure, tools, ships, automobiles, machines, appliances, and weapons.

In this blog, we will explore some fundamental facts about the different kinds of steel, including varying grades, classifications, and more.

Steel Recycling Indianapolis Indiana 317-244-0700
Steel Recycling Indianapolis Indiana 317-244-0700

Soft Steel Versus Hard Steel

Different types of steel are produced according to the properties required for their application. The strength of steel can be increased by adding alloys such as manganese, chromium, vanadium, and molybdenum. Steel with a low carbon content is known as soft steel, while higher-carbon steels are referred to as hard steels. The hardness of a steel is usually increased by heat treatment, which involves heating the steel to a high temperature and then cooling it rapidly. This process increases the steel’s strength and hardness, but it can also make the steel more brittle.

Most Prominent Grades of Steel

There are many different grades and types of steel, each with its own properties and applications. The most common steels are low-carbon steel, high-carbon steel, tool steel, alloy steel, spring steel and stainless steel.

Low-carbon steels are the most widely used type of steel. They have a carbon content of less than 0.25% and are very ductile. They are used for making auto parts, machine parts, pipes, railway tracks etc.

High-carbon steels have a carbon content of 0.55-1.0%. They are very strong and hard, but also brittle. They are used for making knives, cutting tools, springs etc.

Tool steels are high-carbon steels that contain one or more alloying elements (manganese, chromium, vanadium, or tungsten) in addition to carbon. They are very hard and tough, and are used for making cutting tools, drill bits etc.

Alloy steels are steels that contain one or more alloying elements (manganese, silicon, nickel, titanium etc.) in addition to carbon. They have different properties from carbon steels, and are used for making auto parts, machine parts, pipes etc.

Spring steels are low-carbon or medium-carbon steels that are used for making springs. They have a high carbon content (0.5-1.0%) and are very strong and tough.

Stainless steels are alloys of iron, chromium, and sometimes other elements (nickel, molybdenum, titanium etc.), that resist corrosion and oxidation. The chromium content of stainless steel ranges from 10% to 30%. Stainless steels are used for making kitchen utensils, surgical instruments, food processing equipment etc.

The recycling of steel is one of the most efficient and effective ways to reduce environmental pollution and conserve energy. Contact Zore’s Recycling division at 317-244-0700 to get paid cash on the spot for scrap metal recycling services in Indianapolis, Indiana.

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The Three Main Categories of Carbon Steel

There are four basic categories of steel according to the American Iron & Steel Institute (AISI). These four groups include Carbon steel, Alloy steel, Stainless steel, and Tool steel, all of which are classified based on their chemical compositions. You can easily remember this by using the acronym, “C-A-S-T.”

Of these 4 primary groups, steel can be further classified by varied properties, including physical, environmental, and chemical. This allows for many different grades of steel. Although all steel is made up of iron and carbon, the measurement of carbon and the particular alloys it contains is what determines the actual properties of each grade of steel.

One of the most common grades is Carbon steel. Continue reading to learn the three main categories of carbon steel.

Steel Recycling 317-244-0700

Steel Recycling 317-244-0700

Carbon steel can be categorized into 3 primary groups: Low, Medium, and High Carbon Steel:

Low Carbon Steel

Low carbon steel is also known as “mild steel” and contains an average of 0.04% to 0.30% carbon content. As a category of carbon steel, it is the largest group. It is primarily used in the construction and building industry, and comes it a wide variety of shapes, from flat sheet to structural beam. The amount of added alloys can be altered and adjusted to make low carbon steel better suited for certain applications. For example, Drawing Quality (DQ) steel has less carbon and more aluminum, while structural beam steel has more carbon and more manganese.

Medium Carbon Steel

Medium carbon steel contains an average carbon content between 0.31% and 0.60%, with an average manganese content of 0.060 percent to 1.65 percent. Compared to low carbon steel, medium carbon steel is stronger, making it well-suited for automotive parts, railway systems and parts, structural beams, and more. However, due to its strength, it is more difficult to mold, shape, cut, and weld. Heat treatment is usually needed to hardening and tempering medium carbon steel.

High Carbon Steel

High carbon steel is also referred to as “carbon tool steel”, and contains an average carbon content between 0.61% and 1.50%. Similar to medium carbon steel, high carbon steel is hard to cut, mold, and weld, and requires heat treatment for hardening and tempering. Due to its properties, it is often used in the manufacturing of tools such as woodworking and cutting tools, as well as, high strength wires and more. Until recently, it was commonly used for railways.

Recycling Scrap Steel for Cash

Indianapolis Metal Recycling 317-244-0700

Indianapolis Metal Recycling 317-244-0700

Call Zore’s Recycling at 317-244-0700 to recycle scrap steel metal and make some fast money at the same time. We are a professional Indianapolis scrap metal recycling center that accepts and recycles all metals in any condition. Best of all, we pay cash on the spot for them! Recycle all sorts of stuff, including sheet metal and beams, cars, boats, construction equipment, power tools, old electronics, and more! Request a free estimate, today.