The Science of Metallurgy: Identifying the Four Types of Steel

Posted on by Ted Wideman

Types of SteelIn building and structural construction, classifying steel in terms of their property and grades is essential to figure out which type is suitable for your project. Many of their uses can be determined based on their chemical compositions which are grouped by American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) into four different kinds, such as:


Carbon steel is a metal alloy that combines the two elements namely: iron and carbon. Its uses depend on the amount of carbon added to the alloy. Carbon steel can be grouped into three other types based on their carbon content these include:

Low-Carbon or Mild Steel – this is usually used for chain links, fences, gates, and railings.

Medium Carbon Steel – this is the most widely used carbon steel. Its application may range from building and bridge construction to all types of electronics and appliances production.

High Carbon Steel – also known as cast iron, high-carbon steel is usually used for iron pots, radiators, lamp posts, and all types of castings.


This type of metal is widely known for having numerous alloying elements, such as aluminum, chromium, copper, manganese, silicon, nickel, and titanium. With its varying proportions in its properties, you could say that it is easier to manipulate its natural characteristics. You may find this mostly in auto parts and accessories, pipelines, generators, motors, and electric transformers.


This is probably the most popular form of metal in the market. Stainless steel is famous in the industry because of its resistance to tarnishing and oxidation (or rust), as well as a strength-to-weight advantage over the other types. It is normally used for the following:

  • Appliances
  • Cookware
  • Cutlery
  • Hardware
  • Industrial Equipment
  • Medical Instruments
  • Surgical Tools
  • Stainless


The last and final type which is the tool steel has higher heat resistance and provides better durability over the other types. It is most notably used for the production of cutting and drilling equipment, as well as valves, fittings, construction, and other building needs.

Hopefully, these explanations were able to help you identify the steel services you will need in your project. Assess your project carefully right before you decide which option you should go for to avoid making mistakes as you go on.

About the Author

Ted Wideman, a Business Executive and has traveled around the world for leisure. He is also a photography enthusiast.