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Alloy steels are considered to be those steels to which elements, other than carbon, are added deliberately so as to improve mechanical properties, physical properties and/or corrosion resistance. (Plastically deforming or breaking the material measures mechanical properties. Physical properties are those, the measurement of which does not require that the metal be plastically deformed).

The American Iron and Steel Institute has defined alloy steels as containing one, or more, of the following elements in quantities as follows:

  • Manganese above 1.65%
  • Silicon above 0.60%
  • Copper above 0.60%
  • Aluminum up to 3.99%
  • Chromium up to 3.99%

and cobalt, columbium, molybdenum, nickel, titanium, tungsten, vanadium, zirconium, and any other element added to obtain a desired alloying effect.

The effectiveness of any alloying element is greatest when it is completely soluble in the steel. If a particular element forms, or tends to form, a compound with iron or another element present in the steel, the effectiveness of both elements is decreased.

For example, if chromium is added to a carbon steel to increase hardenability, the austenitizing heat treatment must be at a temperature high enough to dissolve the chromium carbides, otherwise the presence of chromium carbides diminishes the effect of both chromium and carbon on increasing harden ability.

Learn a whole lot more by reading our complete Cast Steel Alloy Casting Guide. It's in a PDF, for easy downloading & printing.

Click here to view our Cast Steel Alloy Casting Guide

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