Alloying elements are added to steel during the manufacturing process to effect changes in the mechanical properties of the steels. The addition of these elements can have a significant effect on the performance of the end product. The most common alloying elements and their associated effects on steel are presented below. Listed below are definitions for each of the effects listed.
The resistance of a material to a force tending to stretch or extend the material.
The resistance of a metal to surface indentation (denting) or abrasion (scratching). Indentation hardness can be measured with the Rockwell or Brinell methods.
The capacity to withstand surface damage from contact with other metals, non-metallic particles or flowing liquids. Wear generally involves the progressive loss of surface material due to motion of that surface and a contacting surface or substance.
The ability of a material to become harder by the addition of alloying elements and heat treatment processes. It should not be confused with hardness.
The ability of a ferrous metal to resist oxidation in the presence of water (rust).
The ability to resist localized surface damage from contact with other material in use, such as gouging, grinding, scratching or erosion.
The ability of a metal to absorb energy and deform plastically before fracturing.
The ability to resist the sudden application of an external force that results in the rapid build-up of stress.
The ability of a metal to resist fracture from repeated application of stresses. Fatigue failure usually occurs at loads which if applied statically would have little effect, but repeated cycles of the stress or strain lead to eventual failure.
Fine Grain Structure
A compressed molecular structure in steel. The finer, or smaller, the grain structure the higher the toughness of the steel. A fine grain structure is achieved by hot or cold rolling the steel.
Elements added to control the amount of change in a metal due to stress, thermal change, change in moisture, or other changes.
Elements added during the manufacture of steel to control the residual amount of oxygen that remains in the steel.
A pocket of trapped gas due to the release of gases as molten metal solidifies.
The relative ease to which a metal can be machined or worked on with tools.
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