Steel 101: What to Know About Abrasion-Resistant Steel

Steel plate materials used in construction and fabrication produce products of varying qualities, depending on their grade and composition. Abrasion-resistant steel plates, in particular, are preferred by many industries since they are more durable. 

Compared to a regular high-strength structural steel plate, this type of steel plate lasts four times longer. This is because it is a high-carbon alloy steel plate, which means it has an increased toughness and hardness due to its extra carbon. It is also weather-resistant because of added alloys.

How Is an Abrasion-Resistant Steel Plate Used?

Because of its durability and hardness, abrasion-resistant steel plate is used in various applications, including construction, industrial manufacturing, mining, and material handling. These applications consider abrasions and wear and tear as the main causes of failure. 

Additionally, this type of steel plate material is used to help resist material wear and tear in conveyors, dump liners, buckets, and construction attachments. It is not ideal for structural construction purposes.

How Are AR400, AR450, and AR500+ Different from Each Other?

Abrasion-resistant steel plate comes in different types based on its level of hardness. The category into which a produced material falls is determined by administering a hardness test called the Brinell Test. As for this type of steel plate, it usually meets ASTM E10 specifications for testing material hardness.

AR400, AR450, and AR500 have different Brinell Hardness Numbers (BHNs), indicating the material’s hardness level. The higher the BHN, the greater the level of hardness. In contrast, materials with lower BHNs have lower levels of hardness. Here are the different types of steel plates with their corresponding BHNs:

  • AR400: 360-440 BHN
  • AR450: 430-480 BHN
  • AR500: 460-544 BHN
  • AR600: 570-625 BHN

What Does “F” Mean in Steel Plate Labels?

Abrasion-resistant steel is often labeled “AR400F,” “AR450F,” or “AR500F.” While this steel plate material can now be used with or without an “F,” adding one to the label originally means that it was formable. This means that it could be bent to a certain degree without cracking.

A formable steel plate initially was more expensive than a non-formable one. However, due to more competitive rates and reduced demand for non-formable steel, mills decided to produce a formable one exclusively.

How Is Usability Determined?

In terms of usability, the specific material a project needs can be determined by considering its hardness, wear resistance, formability, and machinability. Plate grades with higher BHNs like AR500 or AR600 are ideal for applications requiring material that can resist extreme levels of wear and stress. 

For applications that need more moderate levels of wear resistance, plate grades with lower BHNs like AR400 and AR450 can be a better choice. On the other hand, AR400 and AR450 are good options for projects requiring a sweet spot in excellent hardness and formability. These materials can be formed and machined without sacrificing hardness.


Since every project is different, it needs a unique material to ensure satisfactory results. If your industry requires abrasion-resistant steel, team up with a reputable steel distributor. They can guide you if you are unsure which material to use in your project.

Get in touch with KGS Steel if you are interested in partnering with a steel service center in Birmingham. We offer a full line of carbon steel products and processing. Request a quote today!

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