Steel Composition

Steel comprises iron and other elements such as carbon, manganese, phosphorus, sulfur, nickel, chromium and more.

Variations in steel compositions are responsible for a great variety of steel grades and steel properties.

Iron is the basic component of steel. When carbon, a nonmetal, is added to iron in amounts up to 2.1%, the result is an alloy known as steel.

Each element that is added to the basic steel composition has some effect on the properties of the steel and how that steel reacts to fabrication processes. These additions and variations in steel compositions are responsible for a great variety of steel grades and steel properties. For example, proper steel composition provides enhanced strength and /or toughness and an opportunity to use cost-effective and straightforward heat-treatment methods.

Besides alloying elements, steel composition almost always includes small amounts of impurities which are present in steelmaking raw materials such as scrap or hot metal. Generally, the impurity content is kept so low that its presence is not detrimental to the properties of the steel.



The Total Materia database brings global metal properties together into one integrated and searchable database. Quick and easy access to the mechanical properties, chemical composition, cross-reference tables, and more provide users with an unprecedented wealth of information. Click the button below to test drive the Total Materia database.

Total Materia Search by Chemical Composition

Finding a material from the database of over 130,000 alloys takes mere seconds. For example, let’s look for a low alloy Japanese steel with the following chemical composition of: C 0.15 – 0.26; Si < 0.35; Mn < 1.5; P < 0.035; S < 0.040; Mo 0.4 – 0.6.

Click Advanced Search from the main window. Next, select Japan/JIS in the Country/Standard field.

Steel composition: Example of searching for a steel material based on chemical composition

Within the Chemical Composition group, check the known parameters, enter values and click the right arrow icon.

Steel composition: Entering alloying elements for searching steels by composition

The search results screen appears. You can simply click on a material to review its detailed properties.

Steel composition: Result list of searching by steel composition