How Many Types of Steel are There?
If you’re unfamiliar with the steel industry, you probably think there’s only one type of steel. However, there are four different types of steel, each with its own uses and purpose. It’s important to choose the right kind of steel fabrication, depending on what industry you’re involved in.
While all steel is stronger and more durable than many other metals, certain types are stronger than others. All steel consists of mainly iron and carbon. However, steel fabricators, such as Steel Specialties, can create different types of steel by adding other elements to the picture, such as phosphorous and manganese. Steelmakers also add or subtract carbon and alloying elements depending on the type of steel they’re making.
Carbon steel is the most popular form of steel fabrication and consists of roughly 90% of all steel production. It’s known as carbon steel, not because of the high carbon percentage but rather because very few additives get mixed with it aside from carbon and iron.
There are three different classes of carbon steel depending on the carbon percentage.
Low Carbon Steel – Contains roughly .30% carbon
Medium Carbon Steel – Contains roughly .60% carbon
High Carbon Steel – Contains up to 2% carbon
Carbon steel is one of the strongest steel forms and is often used to make high-quality knife blades, car parts, and wires. It’s also the preferred steel for manufacturing bolts, nuts, washers, and other small components and tools.
Alloy steel fabrication is one of the more interesting types of steel. It’s like the equivalent of a soup or casserole in that many different metals and elements are utilized to make alloy steel. Some of the most common include nickel, aluminum, copper, chromium, vanadium, and molybdenum.
Because of these many different ingredients, you can easily change the characteristics of alloy steel. It can be more corrosion-resistant, lighter, heavier, darker, lighter, and stronger than other types of steel, depending on the ingredients.
Stainless steel fabrication also contains many elements and ingredients, but not as many as alloy steel. In most cases, between ten and twenty percent of stainless steel consists of chromium, with the remainder consisting of iron, carbon, manganese, nickel, and silicone.
Stainless steel is known for being extremely resistant to corrosion and rust and is often used for items used around water or outdoors, such as grills, smokers, tools, pipes, and food processing equipment.
Converted metal using stainless steel fabrication is also preferred for medical and eating equipment. However, while stainless steel is flexible and high-quality, it isn’t always as strong as other steel forms depending on the ingredients. The higher the chromium content, typically, the better the steel is.
As the name indicates, tool steel is often used in the making of tools, heavy machinery, and things that are expected to take a beating. Tool steel is one of the strongest, most durable, and most heat-resistant types of steel. The reason for its strength and durability is because of the metals and elements that get used in its creation, including:
The quality of tool steel also depends on the method that’s used to harden them, and there are six different methods.
Turn to Steel Specialties for All Your El Paso Steel Needs
No matter what type of steel fabrication you require, Steel Specialties is here to help. We’re the premier company in El Paso and the surrounding area for steel and stainless steel fabrication. No matter what type of steel you need or what industry you work in, we can fulfill your steel fabrication needs. To learn more about the process or browse our inventory list, contact us online or call 915-590-2337.