A look at steel and manufacturers like Montanstahl who specialize in the production of special profiles in steel – stainless and carbon.

The Eiffel Tower is not made of steel, but it certainly showcases what humans are capable of with the use of iron. As manufacturing techniques improved, so did the human ways of iron processing. Inevitably, that evolutionary process has brought us to the use of steels – in things that range from the little tools like knives to the big, skyscraper structures.

It may be a surprise to many that steels and irons are not the same. It is also a surprise how the presence of a little bit of carbon can bring about such an emphatic change in the physical properties. Of course, this entire process of turning pure irons into steel and delivering it to all over the world is no easy task.

There are many different categorizations and classifications of steels, each of which requires a different manufacturing process. Not to mention the additional process of producing special profiles and shapes of steels. Thanks to companies like Montanstahl this all happens pretty much away from the eyesight.

Steels and Its Different Varieties

In physics’ terms, steels are iron-based materials that distinguish themselves from pure iron with the addition of carbon. It results in a significant physical change, making steel much harder and stronger than pure iron. Despite the use of carbons, however, not all steels are the same.

Based on the amount of carbon added to the iron properties, steel can be of different categories and many subcategories. However, there are mainly four types of steels:

Stainless Steel

Perhaps the most well-known steel variant, stainless steel is made using 10 to 20% chromium, which is its principal alloying element. They are greatly resistant to corrosions and look very shiny. They are also very flexible and can be easily manipulated into different shapes. That’s the reason why stainless steel is so popularly found in tools such as surgical equipment, kitchenettes, silverware, exterior cladding, etc.

Carbon Steel

The name pretty much says everything about carbon steel, that it uses very little of other alloy elements except carbon. In fact, the alloy elements must be under 10% for it to be considered carbon steel. They look dull and are vulnerable to corrosion, yet offers an exceptional strength to be used in things such as high-tension wires, car parts, knives, and so on.

Alloy Steel

A mixture of different metals as well as elements like nickel, aluminum, and copper; alloy steel is a relatively cheaper version of steel. However, they are pretty resistant to corrosion and have found their use in things like pipelines, engineering projects, few automotive parts, etc.

Tool Steel

Offering extensive durability and heat resistance, tool steel is named for its extensive applications in tools such as hammers. They are very hard and resistant to scrapes, which is derived from their use of elements like cobalt and tungsten.

Different Grades of Steel

In addition to the foundational categorizations, steels are also often graded to better classify them in terms of their most suitable applications and use. It takes into account every single step of the manufacturing process to better understand their properties, consistency, and quality of materials.

For instance, stainless steels alone have more than 100 different grades; which not only makes them versatile but also provides some definitive guidelines for its multi-facade applications.

Anyhow, the two most reliable grading systems to classify the different types of steels are:

The SAE Grading System: It uses a four-digit grading system to classify steels after rigorous testing. The first two digits refer to the steel type and its alloying elements, while the last two refer to its carbon concentration.

The ASTM Grading System: Regularly used by scientists and governments, this system assigns a pre-defined alphabet to denote a particular steel category. It’s then given a sequential number to classify its specific properties. To clarify, the letter ‘A’ stands for steel and iron materials in this system.

Special Profiles of Stainless and Carbon Steels

Despite all these categorizations, architects, structural engineers, and tool manufacturers often find themselves in need of some special profiles in steel with special properties and customized shapes. To meet those needs, some manufacturers offer the expertise to turn a bespoke design into the shapes of steels. With their help, you can not only create geometric shapes with or without special surface finishes, and get them delivered in special lengths.

Montanstahl – a Swiss company with more than 30 years of expertise in manufacturing special profiles in stainless steel and carbon steel – is renowned for its superior quality, extensive technical and commercial assistants, special mechanical properties, etc. Their worldwide supply channels are also impeccably efficient.