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July 23, 2018

4 Kinds of Steel: Which One Is the Best for You?

What are the 4 kinds of steel that you could make use of?

  1. Carbon steel
  2. Alloy steel
  3. Tool steel
  4. Stainless steel



Steel is a very versatile alloy. It is not a metal in and of itself. It is composed of primarily iron, and a mixture of different components such as carbon, manganese, nickel chromium aluminum, and a lot of other metals. Because of its variety of possible compositions, there are many kinds of steel.

In the Philippines, steel and its many kinds can be classified into 4 major types. Each has something unique to them and them alone. These 4 types can still be subdivided when you take into consideration the components used in the making of the steel.

To help you choose which one is the right fit for you, here are the 4 major kinds of steel.



Carbon Steel

Carbon Steel

The majority of steel produced every day is called carbon steel. It is the most basic kind of steel. Depending on its carbon content, it can still be subdivided into more categories.

Steel with a maximum of 0.3% carbon is known as low-carbon steel. It is the most common out of all the kinds of carbon steel. It is cheap and very flexible with its numerous applications. Compared to the other kinds of carbon steel, it has relatively low tensile strength, but it is malleable and ductile. This is made into flat-rolled sheets and strips that are used for shipbuilding, wires, vehicle bodies and some domestic appliances. It can also be used for fencing, gates, and railing because it is hard, but not brittle.

When the carbon content is around 0.3% to 0.6% it is called medium-carbon steel or mild steel. It is a bit stronger than low-carbon steel and is trickier to form, weld, and cut. Its quality can be easily enhanced by adding small amounts of silicon and manganese. Mild steel is primarily used for buildings and bridges as axles, gears, shafts, rails, pipelines, couplings, as well as cars, fridges and washing machines.

High-carbon steel is also called carbon tool steel and has 0.6% to 1% carbon content. It can easily be exposed to heat treatment however it is vulnerable to impurities particularly sulphur, which makes the steel brittle and crumbly when worked on. It has better tensile strength than the previous two and is used in making cutting tools like blades, punches, and springs and high-strength wire.

Lastly, ultra-high carbon steel contains 1.25% to 2% carbon and is brittle yet very hard. It can’t be cold-worked and is usually utilized to make extremely hard components for cutting tools, large machine parts, hot water radiators, and industrial castings. It is also more commonly known as “cast iron”.



Alloy Steel

Alloy steel is a steel which has had small amounts of one or more elements such as manganese, silicon, nickel, titanium, chromium, aluminum, and chromium. Alloy steels are prized in many industries because of its low costs, ease of processing and extensive availability. It also has unique mechanical properties depending on the components of the steel. The most common elements used in alloy steels are the following:

  • Aluminum – acts as a deoxidizer
  • Boron – acts as a hardening agent for improved deformability
  • Copper – produces hardening properties and increases corrosion resistance
  • Lead – improves machinability
  • Manganese – increases strength at high temperatures, improves hardenability, ductility and wear resistance
  • Chromium – significantly improves corrosion resistance, and also enhances hardenability, strength and physical resistance

Alloy steel is most commonly used in heavy-duty pipes that are used for oil and gas drilling, and ball bearings of complicated and heavily stressed machinery.



Tool Steel

Tool Steel

Tool steel is a type of carbon alloy that is well-suited for tool manufacturing. These are commonly resistant to abrasion or corrosion, very hard, impact resistant and able to hold an edge. There are a number of grades of tool steel: W-grade or water hardening, A-grade for air hardening, D-grade for D types, O-grade for oil hardening, S-grade for shock resisting types, and H-grades for hot-working.



Stainless Steel

The most commonly used steel in the household, stainless steel is something that you are sure to interact with daily. It is highly resistant to corrosion thanks to a high concentration of chromium in its composition. Because of its composition, stainless steel is very easy to clean, polish and even sterilize.

Stainless steel is used in a variety of everyday objects that most people will usually utilize. Cooking utensils, knives, cookware, are just some of its popular uses. However, it can also be found in medical equipment, automotive and aircraft, and architecture.



Key Takeaway

In the Philippines, steel is something that has taken over many industries. It is the foundation of many things because it makes up most of the equipment people use. With the variety of kinds of steel, there will surely be something that will satisfy your every need.

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