Everything You Need to Know About Steel: Different Types

Steel is a versatile material that can be used in different engineering and construction works. It is also used in countless products to build various necessities and projects for people like cars, refrigerators, washing machines, cargo ships, and medical tools. Steel is all-purpose, but it’s important to note that there are different types. 

By far, steel is the most widely used material for building various infrastructure and industries in the world. This material is an alloy, and it is composed of iron combined with one or more alloying metals to produce new materials with unique properties. 

However, the different types of steel come with different purposes, and here, we will discuss everything you need to know about these types. 

4 Different Types of Steel

Carbon Steel

Carbon steel has a high concentration of carbon, unlike other types of steel. While it is lighter compared to other types, carbon steel is strong and durable. It’s less likely to break under pressure compared to different steel types. Carbon steel is best suited for applications that require strength and durability, like construction materials, tools, and automotive components. This type of steel has three main kinds, and they are classified according to their carbon content. 

  • Low Carbon (0.05% to 0.3%)
  • Medium Carbon (0.31% to 0.60%)
  • High Carbon – (More than 0.61%)

Stainless Steel

What makes stainless steel different from the other types of steel is its chromium and nickel content that can’t be found in other steel types. These added features are alloying elements that act as a protective surface to prevent air and moisture from causing the steel to rust. Stainless steel variants are prized according to their corrosion resistance and strength. Here are some of the stainless steel variants: 

  • Martensitic Alloys 
  • Ferritic Alloys 
  • Austenitic Alloys 
  • Duplex Alloys 
See also  Steel Processing: 6 Common Applications of Hot-Rolled Steel

Alloy Steel

While all the types of steel contain alloy, alloy steel includes a diverse range of alloys with an equally diverse range of properties. This type of steel needs to have other elements, and these elements must be intentionally added to the iron and carbon composition to form alloy steel. Alloy steel is ideal for applications requiring resistance to extreme conditions of heat or corrosion. They are also versatile, like carbon steel, and the two have the most popular usage. Some of the most common alloys include: 

  • Aluminum 
  • Copper 
  • Manganese
  • Molybdenum
  • Silicon
  • Vanadium

Tool Steel

As the name suggests, tool steel is commonly used for tools production because of its exceptional hardness, resistance to abrasion and deformation, and ability to hold a cutting edge at elevated temperatures. They are heat-resistant, and they are suitable for high-impact environments. Tool steel is used in various ways, and the added elements will depend on the type of application. Here are some of the tool steel types used in multiple applications:

  • Air-Hardening 
  • Water-Hardening 
  • Oil-Hardening
  • High-Speed 
  • Hot-Working 
  • Shock-Resisting 


Now that you know the difference among each type, you can now utilize steel in its various forms to produce valuable infrastructure, equipment, automotive, metal products, transportation, domestic appliances, electrical equipment, and more. 

KGS Steel can serve as your steel distributor in Bessemer, Alabama, and Nashville, Tennessee. We are a family-owned and -operated company with a complete line of structural steel and carbon steel service centers to serve you. Contact us today! 


Bessemer, AL

3725 Pine Ln,
Bessemer, AL 35022


Mon - Fri7:30 AM–4:30 PM
Sat - Sun: Closed 

Nashville, TN

310 Herron Dr,
Nashville, TN 37210


Mon - Fri7:30 AM–4:30 PM
Sat - Sun: Closed 

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