Steel Grades Guide

Steel is graded as a method of classification. it is commonly categorised into these four groups – Carbon, Alloy, Stainless, and Tool.

  • Carbon Steels only contain trace amounts of elements besides carbon and iron. This group is the most common, accounting for 90% of steel production. Carbon Steel is divided into three subcategories: Low Carbon Steels/Mild Steels (up to 0.3% carbon), Medium Carbon Steels (0.3–0.6% carbon), and High Carbon Steels (more than 0.6% carbon).
  • Alloy Steels contain alloying elements such as nickel, copper, chromium, and aluminum. These additional elements are used to influence the metal’s strength, ductility, corrosion resistance, and machinability.
  • Stainless Steels are valued for their high corrosion resistance. These steels are commonly used in medical equipment, piping, cutting tools, and food processing equipment.
  • Tool Steels make excellent cutting and drilling equipment as they contain tungsten, molybdenum, cobalt, and vanadium to increase heat resistance and durability.
Grade Common Uses Description Annealed Tempered Cold-rolled
Cold Rolled 1008/1010 Steel Hand tools, Furniture, Domestic Appliances 1008 cold rolled steel and 1010 cold rolled steel are easily formable for moderate draw applications. It is available in thicknesses from 0.005 to 0.134, in drawing quality up through full hard tempers.
A109 Cold Rolled Strip Steel Automotive, Manufacturing, Domestic Appliances A109 strip steel offers tighter thickness tolerances than ASTM A1008 steel. It is highly formable, depending on temper, and is useful in a wide range of applications.
Tempered spring steel Hand Tools, Industial Manufacturing Spring steel is typically characterized by its carbon content: low, medium, or high. Spring steels are known for their high yield strength, which allows objects made of spring steel to return to their original shape after significant bending or twisting.
Annealed spring steel Hand Tools, Industial Manufacturing, Aerospace Annealed spring steel, which is also known as Softened temper steel, can be easily formed into shape and then heat treated for spring properties.
Grade Common Uses Description Annealed Tempered Cold-rolled
301 stainless steel Medical Tools, Architecture, Stamped Components 301 Stainless Steel is an austenitic chromium-nickel stainless steel that provides high strength and good ductility when cold worked. It is a modification of Type 304 in which the chromium and nickel contents are lowered to increase the cold work-hardening range.
302/304 stainless steel Food Processing, Nuts & Bolts, Cutlery A general purposed steel, 302 stainless steel is designed to offer a greater resistance to corrosion than 301 stainless steel. Constructed with a lower percentage of carbon, 304 stainless steel is designed to limit carbide precipitation. This type of stainless steel is often used in high-temperature applications. Both 302 and 304 stainless steels offer .29 pounds per cubic-inch density. The tensile strength of 302 and 304 stainless steels are 90,000 pounds per square inch (PSI) and 85,000 psi, respectively. Both types of stainless steel are easy to weld and create very durable welds.

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