Steel Grades Explained


Mild Steel

Mild steel is the most common form of steel because its price is relatively low whilst it provides material properties that are acceptable for many applications.  This steel usually contains less than 0.25% of carbon and insignificant amounts of alloying elements.  The material exhibits good weldability properties and is used in most general fabrication and structural steel applications.

High Yield Steels

High yield steel is another low carbon steel also typically containing less than 0.25% of carbon but the steel strength is increased through the addition of manganese and/or vanadium.  This type of steel can also be further enhanced through small additions of molybdenum, niobium and titanium.  This material again exhibits good weldability properties and is used in more demanding structural applications.

Carbon Steels

Carbon steels which can successfully undergo heat-treatment have a carbon content in the range of 0.30-1.70%.  This type of material is generally very strong with high levels of wear resistance.  The material is often used for hot forging/pressing components such as hand tools.  Material in the higher band of carbon is also used for making high strength wires for applications such as spring steel.

Boron Steels

Boron steel is a grade of steel that can be processed at high temperatures by heating in a furnace and pressing whilst still hot, using a cooled tool.  The rapid cooling rate transforms the microstructure to form a very hard, tough and durable steel.  This type of material is used to form wear parts and for other applications where exceptional strength and wearability properties are required.

Engineering Steels

Engineering steels, also known as Special Bar Quality steels, represents a wide variety of higher-quality carbon, alloy and free cutting bars that are used in the forging, machining and cold-drawing industries for the production of automotive parts, hand tools, electric motor shafts and valves.  These materials generally contain higher alloy content than the commodity grades and are produced with more precise dimensions and chemistry.