What are Grades of Steel?

Today, there are over 3,500 grades of steel. Grading is based on the chemical composition and mechanical characteristics, and the way the steel has been produced.

In order to differentiate between different types of steels and to ensure buyers are getting the same steel anywhere in the world, the World Steel Association, along with National Standard Associations (i.e. ASTM and ASME in North America), developed an international set of standards to grade different steels.

The Naming Process

When it comes to carbon steels, their numerical designations indicate the amount of carbon they contain. The names usually follow a variation of 10XX, where the XX refers directly to the amount of carbon. As an example, a 1045 steel has a nominal carbon of 0.45.

For steels with a particular physical property such a yield or tensile strength, or hardness, there is a qualifier in the name. Each governing body uses something a little different but everything is well publicized.

For example, ASTM uses a naming convention that typically begins with a letter, such as A 36, A 572 Grade 50, A 514, or AR 500. In the case of A 36, the 36 refers to a minimum 36,000 PSI yield strength. As another example, AR 500 refers to the hardness level of 500 BHN, or the Brinell Hardness Number according to the Brinell scale.

Choosing the Right Grade of Steel

When choosing the right grade of steel for your application, its best to use what has been specified by the engineer or the customer. If that has not been established, a steel specialist at Titus Steel can explain the advantages and disadvantages of various grades and recommend the right grade of steel for your project.

To learn more about the different grades of steel, and Titus Steel’s high-quality and innovative product solutions, including ENDURA, ENDURA Dual, and Manganese Steel, contact us – your Wear & Impact Steel Specialists.