Classification of Steels

Steels can be classified by a variety of different systems depending on:

• The composition, such as carbon, low-alloy, or stainless steels

• The manufacturing methods, such as open hearth, basic oxygen process, or electric furnace methods

• The finishing method, such as hot rolling or cold rolling

• The product form, such as bar, plate, sheet, strip, tubing, or structural shape

• The deoxidationpractice, such as killed, semikilled, capped, or rimmed steel

• The microstructure, such as ferritic, pearlitic, and martensitic

• The required strength level, as specified in ASTM standards

• The heat treatment, such as annealing, quenching and tempering, and thermomechanical processing

• Quality descriptors, such as forging quality and commercial quality

Of the aforementioned classification systems, chemical composition is the most widely used and will be discussed below. More detailed information on the classification and designation of carbon and alloy steels can be found in Ref 1.

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