Generally speaking, steel grades can be distinguished based on:
- Chemical composition, such as carbon, low-alloy or stainless steel grades
- Manufacturing methods, such as open hearth, basic oxygen process, or electric furnace methods
- Finishing process, such as steel grades for hot rolled or cold rolled products
- Product form, for example bar plate, sheet, strip, tubing or structural shape
- Deoxidation practice, such as killed, semi-killed, capped or rimmed steel grades
- Microstructure, such as ferritic, pearlitic and martensitic steel grades
- Required strength level, for example steel grade A240 Grade C specified in ASTM standards has the tensile stress value between 515 and 655 MPa
- Heat treatment performed, such as annealing, quenching and tempering, and thermomechanical processing.
Based on carbon content, steel grades are often divided into three main groups:
- low carbon steel grades, such as AISI1005 to AISI 1026, IF, HSLA, TRIP, and TWIP steels,
- middle carbon steel grades, for example AISI 1029 to AISI 1053, and
- high carbon steel grades, such as AISI1055 to AISI1095.
On the other hand, according to European classification, steel grades are divided into the following groups:
- non alloy steel grades, such as EN DC01-DC06; S235; S275, etc.,
- alloy steel grades, like 2CrMo4 and 25CrMo4,
- stainless steel grades,
- tool steel grades, for example EN 1.1545; AISI/SAE W110; EN 1.2436, AISI/SAE D6,
- steel grades for sheet and strip, and
- steel grades for electrical sheet and strip, like EN 1.0890 and EN 1.0803.
Sometimes a particular grade may have different properties as defined by various standards. For example, steel grade 34CrMo4 is specified by both DIN and EN. Within EN there are 6 different specifications (sub-groups) while the DIN standard reports 10 different specifications. These steel specifications report a variation for tensile properties up to three fold due to the various thermo-mechanical treatments.
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