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Steel - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Steel is an alloy of iron and other elements, primarily carbon, that is widely used in construction and other applications because of its high tensile strength and low cost. Steel's base metal is iron, which is able to take on two crystalline forms (allotropic forms), body centered cubic (BCC) and face centered cubic (FCC), depending on its temperature. Ariens Snowblower Manuals Service Repair Maintenance Parts read more. It is the interaction of those allotropes with the alloying elements, primarily carbon, that gives steel and cast iron their range of unique properties.
In the body- centred cubic arrangement, there is an iron atom in the centre of each cube, and in the face- centred cubic, there is one at the center of each of the six faces of the cube. Carbon, other elements, and inclusions within iron act as hardening agents that prevent the movement of dislocations that otherwise occur in the crystal lattices of iron atoms. The carbon in typical steel alloys may contribute up to 2.
Varying the amount of alloying elements, their presence in the steel either as solute elements, or as precipitated phases, retards the movement of those dislocations that make iron comparatively ductile and weak, and thus controls its qualities such as the hardness, ductility, and tensile strength of the resulting steel. Steel's strength compared to pure iron is only possible at the expense of iron's ductility, of which iron has an excess. Steel was produced in bloomery furnaces for thousands of years, but its extensive use began after more efficient production methods were devised in the 1. With the invention of the Bessemer process in the mid- 1. This was followed by Siemens- Martin process and then Gilchrist- Thomas process that refined the quality of steel. With their introductions, mild steel replaced wrought iron. Further refinements in the process, such as basic oxygen steelmaking (BOS), largely replaced earlier methods by further lowering the cost of production and increasing the quality of the product.
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Today, steel is one of the most common materials in the world, with more than 1. It is a major component in buildings, infrastructure, tools, ships, automobiles, machines, appliances, and weapons. Modern steel is generally identified by various grades defined by assorted standards organizations. Definitions and related materials. These values vary depending on alloying elements such as manganese, chromium, nickel, iron, tungsten, carbon and so on. Basically, steel is an iron- carbon alloy that does not undergo eutectic reaction.
In contrast, cast iron does undergo eutectic reaction. Too little carbon content leaves (pure) iron quite soft, ductile, and weak. Carbon contents higher than those of steel make an alloy, commonly called pig iron, that is brittle (not malleable).
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While iron alloyed with carbon is called carbon steel, alloy steel is steel to which other alloying elements have been intentionally added to modify the characteristics of steel. Common alloying elements include: manganese, nickel, chromium, molybdenum, boron, titanium, vanadium, tungsten, cobalt, and niobium. Cast iron is not malleable even when hot, but it can be formed by casting as it has a lower melting point than steel and good castability properties. Steel is also distinguishable from wrought iron (now largely obsolete), which may contain a small amount of carbon but large amounts of slag.
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Material properties. Iron is extracted from iron ore by removing the oxygen through combination with a preferred chemical partner such as carbon that is lost to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. This process, known as smelting, was first applied to metals with lower melting points, such as tin, which melts at about 2. In comparison, cast iron melts at about 1,3.
With care, the carbon content could be controlled by moving it around in the fire. All of these temperatures could be reached with ancient methods used since the Bronze Age. Since the oxidation rate of iron increases rapidly beyond 8. Unlike copper and tin, liquid or solid iron dissolves carbon quite readily. Smelting, using carbon to reduce iron oxides, results in an alloy (pig iron) that retains too much carbon to be called steel.
Nickel and manganese in steel add to its tensile strength and make the austenite form of the iron- carbon solution more stable, chromium increases hardness and melting temperature, and vanadium also increases hardness while making it less prone to metal fatigue.