Mechanical Properties

Mechanical Properties of Steel

The physical properties of steel include: high strength, low weight, durability, ductility and corrosive resistance. Steel offers great strength, even though it is light in weight. In fact, the ratio of strength to weight for steel is lower than any other building material. The term ductility means steel can easily be moulded to form any desired shape.

Other physical properties of steel which are totally different are its component elements viz. iron and carbon. Steel has the ability to cool down rapidly from an extremely hot temperature after being subjected to water or oil. Physical properties depends on the percentage composition of the constituent elements and the manufacturing process. A particular amount of carbon can be dissolved in iron at a specific temperature. Unlike the constituent element iron, steel does not corrode easily after being exposed to moisture and water. The dimensional stability of steel is a desired property, as the dimension of steel remains unchanged even after many years or being subjected to extreme environmental conditions. Steel is a good conductor of electricity, i.e. electricity can pass through steel.

Steel grades are classified by many standard organizations, based on the composition and the physical properties of the metal. The deciding factor for the grade of steel is basically its chemical composition, and the supplied condition. The higher the carbon content, the harder and stronger the steel metal is. A high quality steel containing less carbon is more ductile.

Earlier forms of steel consisted of more carbon, as compared to the present day steel. Today, the steel manufacturing process is as such, that less carbon is added and the metal is cooled down immediately, so as to retain the desirable physical properties of steel. Rapid cooling (quenching) of steel also alters the grain structure. There are other types of steel such as galvanized steel and stainless steel (corrosion-resistant steel). Galvanized steel is coated with zinc to protect it from corrosion, whereas stainless steel contains about 10 percent of chromium in its composition.

Table with mechanical properties of common steel types

swipe for more...

Material properties
SAE1010 SAE1008 SAE1012 300WA JISGV132 DD11 S355 S235 S275 Corten_A
Tensile strength, ultimate (Mpa) min 310 303 300 390 490 340 410 470
Tensile strength, ultimate (Mpa) max 360 358 370 540 440 630 470 560 630
Tensile strength, Yield (Mpa) min 180 180 450 170 355 235 275
Tensile strength, Yield (Mpa) max 240 240 310 620 270 340 355
Elongation at Break in(%) min 32 42 12 17 14
Elongation at Break in(%) max 48 48 19 20 25 23 22 26 22 20
Modulus of Elasticity,GPA 200 200 205