Most Common Types Of Steel And What Makes Them Different

Von John Griffith / February 21 2023
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Around 6, 000 years ago mankind started learning how to work with iron. Then a few thousand years later, we cracked the code, and learned how to produce steel from iron. A common material used in pretty much everything around us. Steel is used in heavy construction equipment, jewelry, kitchen appliances, tools, buildings, and more. It just has a ton of mechanical and electrical applications. However, not all steel is equal. Steel is an iron alloy, meaning that it is primarily composed of iron, but mixed with other alloying metals. This way new materials are produced, each with unique properties. Each type of steel serves different purposes. That’s why today we want to show you the most common types of steel and how they differ from one another.

Steel is used in heavy construction equipment, jewelry, kitchen appliances, tools, buildings, and more

steel beams in weird positiobs

Most Common Types Of Steel

While most people may think that steel is a ready-to-go, pre-set combination of iron and carbon, there are actually more than three thousand grades of steel. This is because steel is classified by its composition. But, there are four main types of steel that are commonly used everywhere. So, let’s see what they are made of, and what they are typically used for.

There are actually more than three thousand grades of steel

man working on a construction site

#Stainless Steel

You probably own a lot of things that are made of stainless steel. This type is used a lot to manufacture kitchen appliances, medical equipment, and even jewelry. Chromium is the added alloy that sets apart stainless steel from the others. This addition gives the material it’s distinctive luster. Stainless steel is also used a lot in structural usage for buildings, for example under the form of stainless steel unequal angles, as it is great for use in environments that are corrosion-prone. This means it can withstand rough weather well.

You probably own a lot of things that are made of stainless steel

engine made from steel

#Carbon Steel

Carbon steel is one of the most commonly used types of steel. While all steel variation contain carbon, what makes this type of steel is its notable absence of any other elements within its structure. This type of steel is very strong and durable and accounts for 90% of steel production. Carbon steel is used for bridges, cars, cables, rails, buildings, and more. There are three types of carbon steel – low, medium, and high.

Carbon steel is one of the most commonly used types of steel

rail road tracks with rocks

#Alloy Steel

Alloy steels made from a mix of additional alloying metals such as copper, aluminum, chromium, nickle, etc. With all of these elements incorporated the steel’s durability, resistance, strength are all enhances. Alloy steel is used in many spheres. For example, shipping containers are made with this type of steel, as well as pots and pans, toasters, silverware, and most often pipes that have energy-related applications.

Alloy steels made from a mix of additional alloying metals

pots and pans hanging

#Tool Steel

Tool steel is used to tool manufacturing machinery. This type of steel is created by tempering. Tempering is a process in which high heat is applied, cooling quickly, then applying high heat again. This creates a steel that is super heat-resistant and hard. Tool steel is used in a lot of high-impact environments. This type of steel is often used to create bits, reamers, and cutters, alongside other needed items for machine metals, plastics, and wood.

Tool steel is used to tool manufacturing machinery

tools made from tool steel

These were some of the most common types of steel and the differences between them. We hope you found this article useful. Now you understand the differences between steels a little bit better. Cool, right?

These were some of the most common types of steel and the differences between them

steel plate with criss cross pattern

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