Alloy Steels

Augusta Machine and Welding, Inc.

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An alloy steel is a steel to which one or more of such elements as nickel, chromium, manganese, molybdenum, titanium, cobalt, tungsten, or vanadium have been added. The addition of these elements gives steel greater toughness, strength, resistance to wear, and resistance to corrosion.

Alloy steels are called by the predomination element which has been added. Most of them can be welded, provided special electrodes are used. The more common elements added to steel are:

Chromium When quantities of chromium are added to steel the resulting product is a metal having extreme hardness and resistance to wear without making it brittle. Chromium also tends to refine the grain structure of steel, thereby increasing its toughness. It is used either alone in carbon steel or in combination with other elements such as nickel, vanadium, molybdenum or tungsten.
Manganese The addition of manganese to steel produces a fine grain structure which has greater toughness and ductility.
Molybdenum This element produces the greatest hardening effect of any element except carbon and at the same time it reduces the enlargement of the grain structure. The result is a strong, tough steel. Although molybdenum is used alone in some alloys, often it is supplemented by other elements, particularly nickel or chromium or both.
Nickel The addition of nickel increases the ductility of steel while allowing it to maintain its strength . When large quantities of nickel are added(25-35%), the steels not only become tough but develop high resistance to corrosion and shock.
Vanadium Addition of this element to steel promotes fine grain structure when the steel is heated above its critical range for heat treatment. It also imparts toughness and strength to the metal.
Tungsten This element is used mostly in steels designed for metal cutting tools. Tungsten steels are tough, hard, and very resistant to wear.
Cobalt The chief function of cobalt is to strengthen the ferrite. It is used in combination with tungsten to develop red hardness; that is, the ability to remain hard when red hot.
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