Metal Matters: Steel Grades You Should Know About Today

Carbon steel has high tensile strength, shear strength, toughness, hardness, and ductility, compared to other metals. Hot-rolled carbon steel–heated above their recrystallization temperature–has all of these mechanical qualities at an affordable price.

Like any manufacturing process, hot rolled steel produces metal of different grades. This variety is necessary to fit a wide range of construction-related outputs. Here are some of the most often used steel grades you should know about today:


The most commonly utilized hot-rolled steel is the A36. Certified by the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) and the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), A36 is a low-carbon steel with a carbon content of 0.25 to 0.29 percent by weight. The yield tensile strength of A36 must be at least 36,000 pounds per square inch. 

A36 is a suitable choice since it is machinable, weldable, and mechanically sound. This explains why it’s so common in structural applications. A36 is also available in a variety of shapes, including round, rectangular, square, and angle.

C1010 and C1018

The steels AISI C1010 and AISI C1018 are both hot rolled and carbon neutral. C1010 has 0.08 to 0.13 percent carbon, whereas C1018 contains 0.14 to 0.20 percent carbon. While carbon content affects ductility and tensile strength, they are otherwise rather comparable. They can be welded, machined, and shaped more easily than alloy and high carbon steels. 

The grades C1010 and C1018 are commonly used in structural applications, as well as automotive and furniture. They are also commonly sold as C1010 round tubes, C1018 round bars, and mesh sheets. 

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A1011 contains trace metals, making it an extremely versatile steel. It is utilized in general metal manufacturing for sheet steel structural applications. It is commonly sold in flat sheet and expanded metal shapes.


Similar to ASTM A36 steel, a C1026’s carbon content is more than the standard for low-carbon steel products. The carbon content of AISI 1026 ranges between 0.22 and 0.26 percent. Their mechanical characteristics are also quite comparable when hot rolled.

Theis steel product is suitable for applications that call for hot-rolled steel with a higher yield strength than A1011, C1010, or C1018. Moreover, hot-rolled steel AISI C1026 is utilized in a wide range of applications, including constructions, automotive components, and furniture.


A500 is a hot-rolled mild steel with a low-carbon content. Its chemical composition is quite similar to that of ASTM A36, with up to 0.26% carbon by weight. Each type of hot rolled steel has a specific shape between ASTM A500 and ASTM A36. Round, rectangular, square, channel, angle, plate, tread plate, round tube, and shafting are among the shapes and sizes available in A36. Meanwhile, A500 is only used for tubing. ASTM A500, as well as other low-carbon hot-rolled steels, is commonly utilized in structural applications.


This designated hot rolled steel is a medium carbon steel, as opposed to the other steels listed. Because it includes 0.42 to 0.50 carbon by weight, it is stronger than low carbon hot-rolled steels. It has a high enough carbon content to be heat treatable, with its mechanical characteristics that can be altered by quench hardening and annealing. C1045, like low carbon hot-rolled steel, is employed in situations where strength trumps ductility. 

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Similar to C1045, the AISI C114 has sulfur and manganese additives that change its characteristics. To begin, heat-treating C1141 outperforms heat-treating C1045. C1141 is also a high-performance machining steel. This makes it easier to machine, which is important when the carbon concentration and hardness of the material grow, both of which affect machinability. The sulfur additives that allow C1141 to be machined also make it unweldable.


Now that you’re knowledgeable of the differences between the commonly used steel grades today, the next step is to identify which of them are best for your needs. Depending on your next project, assess carefully with the options presented above. With these steel grades, you’re given low-cost yet quality material which you can use and maximize in the future.

If you need a steel distributor in Nashville, TN, KGS Steel, Inc. is a trusted full-service carbon steel service center warehouse for almost 40 years. We can guarantee quality steel products made to withstand the test of time. Get a FREE quote from us today!

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