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3 Types of Steel and How They Are Used

Did you know that industrial steel has the highest production rate of any construction material? In fact, in 2020 steel industries produced over 1800 million metric tons of crude steel.

Industrial steel forms the foundation for most construction and vehicle manufacturing worldwide. But what types of steel are there? And what are the differences between them?

This article covers three main types of steel, their properties, and their uses.

The Differences Between Hot and Cold-Rolled Steel

There are two different manufacturing processes for industrial steel construction. These are hot-rolled and cold-rolled steel.

Hot-rolled steel gets pressed at high temperatures of over 1700˚F / 930 °C. This makes the steel more flexible and moldable. Hot-rolled steel is cheaper to produce, as it requires less processing.

But this also means that it can be lower in quality. This is because of the shrinkage caused during the cooling process. The shrinking can cause minor distortions and a less finished appearance.

Cold rolled steel is subject to the same heating process as hot-rolled. The difference comes from the further rolling processes after it has cooled.

This creates a higher surface quality and allows you to mold the steel to exact dimensions. Cold-rolled steel has defined corners and edges. Cold-rolled steel tubes will also be straighter and more uniform.

The term “rolled” gets used as an umbrella term in the steel industry. But it actually refers to a series of finishing processes. These include polishing, grinding, and turning.

Now that we have discussed the processing of steel, let’s look at three of the main types of steel available on the market.

Stainless Steel – Stainless steel is often used in the food and medical industries. It is also used for chemical manufacturing and civil engineering.

The main alloying element in stainless steel is chromium. This hard lustrous metal gives stainless steel its famous shiny quality. It also makes it harder and corrosion-resistant when exposed to high temperatures.

Carbon Steel – Carbon steel is the most common steel in production. It is available in different carbon densities: low (0.30%) medium (0.60%), and high (1.5%).

Carbon steels are very strong and have a more matte finish than stainless steel. But, despite their strength, they are vulnerable to corrosion.

Their use depends on their carbon density. Common carbon steel items are screws, automotive production, and high-tension wires.

Tool Steel – Tool steel gets used in the manufacturing of tools and construction machinery. It is different than the other steels mentioned due to the tempering process used. This makes it extremely durable and heat/scrape-resistant.

Tool steel is usually alloyed with durable elements. These include tungsten, cobalt, or molybdenum.

All You Need to Know About Types of Steel!

Steel is an amazing material that has many different uses, from building to furniture. There are various types of steel available, and now you know the differences between them and the processes involved.

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