Different Types of Steel and Their Properties [PDF]

Download the PDF below!

Steels are widely used materials in the industry. They are the alloys of iron, carbon and other elements such as silicon, phosphorus, sulphur and manganese. The carbon present in the form of iron-carbide(Fe3C) increases the hardness and strength of the steel.

Steels are classified based on their chemical composition, applications, and methods of production. In this article, I am going to discuss on Types of Steel and Their Properties.

Steel Making Process
Steel Making

Different Types of Steels:

Steels can be classified

1.Based on Carbon Content: 

  • Low Carbon Steels
  • medium Carbon Steels
  • high Carbon Steels

Low Carbon Steels:

  • Composition: 0%C to 0.25 % C.
  • Microstructure: Predominantly α - ferrite and small quantities of pearlite.
  • Properties: Outstanding ductility and toughness. good machinability and weldability, high formability, toughness, high ductility etc.

For example, Mild steel.

  • Advantages: The least expensive to produce.
  • Disadvantages: Martensite is difficult to form owing to very low carbon content.
  • Applications: Automobile body components, structural shapes, pipes, sheets etc.

Medium Carbon Steels:

  • Composition: From 0.25% to 0.55% C.
  • Microstructure: α - ferrite and pearlite.
  • Properties: Stronger than low – carbon steel but less tough than it.
  • Advantages: Best range for adding alloying elements.
  • Applications: Railway wheels & tracks, gears etc.

High Carbon steels:

  • Composition: From 0.55% up to 2.1 % C
  • Microstructure: Fe3C, Pearlite(C >0.8%), - ferrite and pearlite (C < 0.8%).
  • Properties: Hardness, strongest, and least ductile compared to Low carbon steels.
  • Advantages: To make tool steels.
  • Applications: Knives, hack saw blades, chisels, hammers, drills, dies, machine tool cutters, punches, etc.

2.Based on the Method of manufacture of Steels: 

Based on Method of manufacturing of steels, they are classified as Bessemer steel method and Electric Arc Furnace method whose explanation is below.

Bessemer steel Method:

The principle of Bessemer Converter is the removal of impurities from the iron by oxidation and the air is being blown through the molten iron.

The furnace is made of steel with fire clay bricks to resist heat.

The impurities manganese(mn) and Silicon(Si) are converted into their respective oxides and that can be expelled out.

Electric Arc Furnace Method:

It is an extremely hot enclosed region, where heat is produced employing electrodes for melting certain materials such as steel (scrap) without changing the electrochemical properties of the material(metal).

The electric arc produced between the electrodes and the metal is used for melting the metal(scrap).

Read more: Bessemer steel method and Electric Arc Furnace method

3.Based on properties of some other types of Steels:

  • Shock-resisting Steels
  • High strength Steels
  • Tool Steels
  • Spring Steels
  • Heat Resistant Steels

Shock-resisting Steels: 

These steels can resist fatigue loads and shock loads.

High strength Steels:

Applied where Low weight and high strength are required.

Tool Steels:

These are mainly used for making Tools and Dies for cutting, forming and forging metals in their hot or cold conditions.

Spring Steels:

used for making Coiled and Leaf springs.

Heat Resistant Steels:

These steels can resist corrosion, oxidation and creep at higher working temperatures.

4.Based on Effect of Alloying elements on Steel:


  • It has high servicing temperature or high temperature sustainability.


  • It improves Corrosion resistance and Abrasion resistance.


  • It exhibits high temperature, hardness and strength.


  • It improves fracture toughness and acts as deoxidant.


  • It increase strength, hardness and improves machinability.


  • It improves machinability.


  • It exhibits high hardenability.


  • It improves toughness and machinability.


  • Wear resistance and hardenability is high.

Applications of Steel:

As Steel has high tensile strength, it was used in:

  • Construction of buildings
  • Infrastructure
  • Tools
  • Ships
  • Automobiles
  • Machines & appliances
  • Weapons
  • Machine steel
  • Spring steel
  • Boiler steel
  • Structural steel
  • Tool steel etc.

I hope you liked my article on Types of Steel and Their Properties. If so then do share it on social media, or with your friends, and if you have any further doubts feel free to ask us in the comment section.

References [External Links]:

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

About Mohammed SHAFI

Mohammed Shafi is the founder, managing editor, and primary author of Mechanical E-Notes. He is an Assistant Professor (Department of Mechanical Engineering) at the Sreenidhi Institute of Science and Technology. He has a 6 years of vast experience in design, research, and data analysis. Shafi has co-authored two journals 1. Dynamic and Fatigue Analysis on Tillage Equipment  2. Welding Procedure and Testing Analysis on Mixing and Nodulizing Drum.

Continue Reading

Cast Iron: Properties, Types, Advantages, Disadvantages, and Applications

In the last article, we had discussed the Mechanical properties of metals along with Non-Ferrous metals and Iron-Carbon diagram explanation. Whereas in today's article, we will discuss the properties, types, advantages, disadvantages, and applications of Cast iron in detail. What is Cast Iron? The cast iron is obtained by melting Pig iron with coke, limestone, […]

Properties of Ceramics: Mechanical, Physical, Electrical & Chemical Properties [With PDF]

Hello Readers, today in this paper we will be going to learn about Ceramics and their properties like Mechanical, Electrical, Physical and chemical. So let's get started. Introduction of Ceramic: Most ceramics have a crystalline structure and exist in a wide variety of compositions and forms. The bonding between the atoms is primarily ionic and […]

Types of Plastics-Properties of Thermosetting Plastics & Thermoplastics [PDF]

In this article, I will be explaining the different types of Plastics used in our household applications as well as industrial applications in the form of Thermoplastics and Thermosetting Plastics with there Properties. but before that let we know what is a Plastic? Plastics:  Plastics are also called as Polymers. They are made up of carbon, hydrogen […]

Iron-Carbon Diagram Explanation [PDF]

In the last session, we had learned Different Types of steels, Methods for Manufacturing of Steel & Mechanical Properties of Metals whereas in today's session, we are going to discuss Iron- Carbon Phase Diagram with four Phase Transformations. What is Critical Concentration? Carbon is added to iron as an interstitial inclusion to improve the strength of iron. The maximum […]

Difference Between Nano, Macro, Micro and Smart Material [PDF]

Every component or material has its own features and depending upon the application or usage those materials are taken into consideration for Industrial applications. Nano Material has its demand in the field of communications in the form of fibres. Similarly, smart materials are highly in demand because they can react according to the environment. Therefore, in this article, I […]

Mechanical Properties of Metals [PDF]

In the last session, we had learned about Different Types of steels and also the Methods for Manufacturing of Steel, and Today we are going to discuss Mechanical Properties of Metals in a detailed way. If you are a design engineer from the field of Mechanical Engineering then you should have to know about Mechanical properties of metals so that, those can be […]