Different Types of Steel Grades and Properties

Different Types of Steel Grades and Properties

Close-up of steel and workers

The World Steel Association states that there are around 3,500 various grades of steel, each encompassing unique chemical, environmental, and physical properties. Steel is composed of carbon and iron, although it is the level of impurities, amount of carbon, and added alloying elements that determine the properties of each grade.

If you’re looking for steel sheets for sale, here are important things you need to know. Wasatch Steel cites some of them.


Steels made of carbon hold trace amounts of alloying components. There are three main categories depending on their carbon content: low (up to 0.3%), medium (0.3 – .6%), and high (more than 0.6%). Carbon also accounts for over 90% of overall steel production.


The main alloying element of stainless steels is chromium, which comprises about 10-20% in production. This material is highly valued for its high corrosion resistance. Since steel generally contains more than 11% chromium, it is 200 times more resistant to rusting than mild steel. There are three main groups in this category: ferritic, martensitic, and austenitic.


Alloy steels contain a number of elements that vary in proportions to manipulate the product’s properties. Some of these include nickel, titanium, manganese, chromium, copper, and aluminum. All of these affect the steel’s corrosion resistance, formability, ductility, hardenability, and strength. Alloy steels are commonly found in power generators, electric motors, pipelines, and transformers.


Molybdenum, cobalt, vanadium, and tungsten in varying quantities increase the durability and heat resistance of tool steels. That is why they are ideal for drilling and cutting equipment. These steel products have various applications depending on their structural shape. Rails, rods, sheets, plates, fittings, and flanges all fall under tool steels.

The steel industry is vast, and each sector relies on specific steel products for their operations. One can look at a steel’s chemical composition to easily figure out its properties and how it’s going to be useful in a project.