What are the different types of steel grades?

Not all steels are made equal. Just as there are limitless possibilities for the uses of steel, from industrial construction, steel profile cutting or playing a part in the future of automobiles, there are an equal number of steel grades. These are used to identify the different chemical and structural qualities of the steel, which can prove to be crucial on projects where precision is key.

Here’s a quick guide to some of the most commonly used steel grade names, and how they’re most often used in the industry.

Grade 250 is a widely-used grade, and at ShapeCUT we use it as part of our range of plates. It’s manufactured in either flat plate form on a plate mill or in coil form on a hot strip mill, and can range from 3 to 300mm thick. Both offer similar strength but differ in terms of surface scale, grain structure and silicon content. It’s a versatile and dependable grade to work with for most applications.

Mild Steel is not technically a grade of steel, but is sometimes used as place of one and can often be found used interchangeably with 250. However, it is important to note that they are not the one and the same. In fact, “mild steel” has no set standards and therefore cannot be relied upon to have a guaranteed level of strength. It’s typically used to describe a low-strength steel compound where there is less than 0.2% of carbon, but not always. The variance in the chemistry means that it is unusable in many serious situations.

Letters are sometimes associated with steel products in order to denote their intended use case. For example, according to the European steel grade guide, S indicates a Structural steel, while L indicates the steel is meant for use in piping and tubing applications. Trains run on R-grade steel, designed for the hard-wearing, mission-critical demands of railway lines, and B is meant for use with reinforced concrete.

There are also delivery condition codes which quickly show how the steel has been treated by the time it has arrived on site. Common ones found in everyday use include A for annealed, SR for stress relieved and QT for quenched and tempered. If you can imagine a complex construction site with hundreds of steel pylons moving into place, it will be clear to see why such notation is important for site managers and engineers.

At ShapeCUT we use every type of steel imaginable to make sure our customer’s objectives are met the right way. Contact ShapeCUT today to find out more.