Steel Properties

Owing to its material properties, steel is possibly the most important engineering and construction material in the world.

The most important properties of steel are great formability and durability, good tensile and yield strength and good thermal conductivity. As well as these important properties the most characteristic of the stainless steel properties is its resistance to corrosion.

When selecting a material for a particular application, engineers must be confident that it will be suitable for the loading conditions and environmental challenges it will be subjected to while in service. Understanding and control of a material’s properties is therefore essential. The mechanical properties of steel can be carefully controlled through the selection of an appropriate chemical composition, processing and heat treatment, which lead to its final microstructure.

The alloys and the heat treatment used in the production of steel result in different property values and strengths and testing must be performed to determine the final properties of a steel and to ensure adherence to the respective standards.

There are many measurement systems used to define the properties of a given steel. For example, Yield strength, ductility and stiffness are determined using tensile testing. Toughness is measured by impact testing; and hardness is determined by measuring resistance to the penetration of the surface by a hard object.

Tensile testing is a method of evaluating the structural response of steel to applied loads, with the results expressed as a relationship between stress and strain. The relationship between stress and strain is a measure of the elasticity of the material, and this ratio is referred to as Young's modulus. A high value of Young's modulus is one of steel’s most differentiating properties; it is in the range 190-210 GPa, which is approximately three times the value for aluminum.

The physical properties of steel are related to the physics of the material, such as density, thermal conductivity, elastic modulus, Poison’s ratio etc. Some typical values for physical properties of steel are:

  • density ρ = 7.7 ÷ 8.1 [kg/dm3]
  • elastic modulus E=190÷210 [GPa]
  • Poisson’s ratio ν = 0.27 ÷ 0.30
  • Thermal conductivity κ = 11.2 ÷ 48.3 [W/mK]
  • Thermal expansion α = 9 ÷27 [10-6 / K]


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 Steel Properties

You can quickly and easily search over 3 million steel properties and stainless steel properties records by designation, countries/standards, type, standard number, chemical composition, mechanical properties, other properties or any combination of these criteria. For example, let’s look for a German stainless steel and its material properties, which needs to have Cr > 10%, Ni and V > 0.2%, tensile stress over 650 MPa, impact over 30 J, and needs to be suitable for application in high temperatures.

Click Advanced Search from the main window. Next, choose Germany/DIN in the Country/Standard list, Stainless Steel in Group of Materials list, check box Properties on High Temperatures and enter requested steel properties and alloying elements. This will search for the combined properties of this stainless steel.

Steel properties: Example of combined steel properties search by composition, mechanical and high temperature properties

The search results screen appears. Click on a steel from the list to review its properties, in this we will discuss the first position – 1.4922.

Steel properties: Result list of the steel properties search

After clicking on the material, a list of subgroups appears. In Total Materia, the term “subgroups” refers to standard specifications that define steel properties; in this case the specification DIN 17175 is selected. Note that material properties defined according to different specifications may differ significantly.

Steel properties: Example of the properties of German steel 1.4922

Steel properties within the Total Materia Database include composition, cross-reference tables, mechanical properties, physical properties, and even creep and fatigue properties. Click on the examples below to enlarge them.

Steel properties: The chemical composition of steel 1.4922
Steel properties: Cross-Reference Table for steel 1.4922
Steel properties: The mechanical properties of steel 1.4922