Zehan CNC Machining Parts Service

Q
How Many Types of Steel & Steel Alloys
A
Find out what kinds of steel & steel alloys for components

There are different types of carbon steel on the marketplace today. Carbon steel, the most commonly used alloy, contains carbon as the major alloying element. Carbon exerts the strongest influence in determining the properties of a steel alloy, especially the hardness and strength levels of the material.
Typically, carbon steels fall into three distinct categories:

High carbon steel: High carbon steels possess a carbon range between 0.61% and 1.50%. These steels prove difficult to cut, bend or weld and may become brittle.

Medium carbon steel: Medium carbon steels typically display a carbon range of 0.31% to 0.60%, and a manganese content ranging from a low of .060% to a high of 1.65%. Much stronger than low carbon steel, medium carbon steel proves more difficult to form, weld and cut.

Low carbon steel: This category typically contains 0.04% to 0.30% of carbon content. It fits a variety of shapes, from flat sheets to structural steel beams. A steel mill may add other elements to low carbon steel to produce specific desired properties.

Alloy Steel

Steel can be alloyed with elements other than carbon to produce specific properties that are not found in regular carbon steel. Some of the most common alloying elements include: 

Manganese
Nickel
Copper
Aluminum
Cobalt
Silicon
Titanium
Chromium
Tungsten
Molybdenum
Silicone
Phosphorus
Vanadium
Niobium

These elements are added to steel in varying proportions and combinations in order to make the material take a wide array of different physical properties. This includes: increased hardness or strength, improved corrosion resistance, improved ductility, improved machinability, and better cutting ability. Steel alloys also allow manufacturers to gain more control over metal grain size, the speed of hardening, stability at high or low temperatures, and even durability (wear resistance).

Which Steel Alloy Is the Best Choice for My Component?

Understanding the properties of each of the alloying elements and their effects is important for selecting an alloy that will best meet the requirements of the part that needs to be manufactured.

To find an alloy suitable for your component, please consult the steel grade table below. For further details and questions, please do not hesitate to speak with one of our sales representatives. Simply outline your design issues and the goals of your project and a company team member will help you select the best steel alloy for your purposes.

Typical steel alloys include, but are not limited to, these grades:
GRADE 1020: cold headed bolts, axles, general engineering parts and components, machinery parts, shafts, camshafts, gudgeon pins, ratchets, light duty gears, worm gears, spindles;

GRADE 1040: machinery parts, couplings, crankshafts, cold headed parts;
GRADE 1050: machinery parts;
GRADE 1095: springs or cutting tools which require sharp cutting edges;
GRADE 1137: tools, springs;
GRADE 1141: shaft, machined parts;
GRADE 4130: general purpose, high strength steel shafts, gears and pins, welded tubing;
GRADE 4140: general purpose, high strength steel shafts, gears and pins;
GRADE 4150: general purpose, high strength steel shafts, gears and pins;
GRADE 4340: power transmission gears and shafts;
GRADE 6150: shafts, gears, pinions;
GRADE 8620: medium-strength applications such as camshafts, fasteners, gears, chains/chain pins;
GRADE 8760: tools, springs, chisels;


Understanding the Steel Numbering Systems

The modern steel industry uses two numbering systems to help identify types of alloy steels. Developed by the American Iron & Steel Institute (AISI) and the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), both of these systems are based on four-digit code numbers that identify the base carbon and alloy steels.
The first two digits in the four-digit series relate to the type of material selected. The initial digit ranges from 1 through 9 to identify the type of steel involved:
 
1xxx Carbon steel
            10xx Plain carbon steels (containing 1.00% manganese maximum)
            11xx Resulfurized carbon steels
            12xx Resulfurized and rephosphorized carbon steels
            15xx Non-resulfurized high-manganese (up-to 1.65%) carbon steels
2xxx Nickel steel
3xxx Nickel-chromium steel
4xxx Molybdenum steel
5xxx Chromium steel
6xxx Chromium-vanadium steel
7xxx Tungsten-chromium steel
9xxx  Nickel-chromium steel
 
The second digit indicates the concentration of the significant element impacting the properties of the steel, expressed in percentiles. Finally, the last two digits represent the percentage (0.00%-0.99%) of added carbon.
For example, the number pair 1018, or “10” and “18”, designates Carbon Steel with 0.18% Carbon added. The number pair 2130, or “21” and “30”, means Nickel Steel Alloy containing 1% of of nickel and 0.30% of carbon. Some manufacturers also insert an “L” into the code to indicate the addition of lead or “B” to indicate the addition of boron.
you can also check out matweb.com, an online searchable materials property database, for very specific information regarding materials. 

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