What is high tensile steel and is it worth the cost?

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Published by: iFactory Support, 20 February 2024

When there’s a long list of steel plate products on the market, it can be challenging to determine the right type of steel for your project. One of the higher performing groups of steel is High Tensile. It’s commonly used in manufacturing, transport and construction thanks to its robustness and long-lasting durability. But is it worth the cost?

Going from strength to strength

The term “tensile” strength refers to the amount of stress a material can endure before breaking or failing. High-tensile steels are part of a low-carbon group which have additional alloying ingredients – chromium, molybdenum, silicon, manganese, nickel and vanadium – which are designed to increase not just its durability, but its malleability and ductility too.

High tensile steels can be treated and quenched (which is a quick cooling process) to achieve a new hardness, which is stronger than other steels on the market. The high tensile property is responsible for steel’s tension resistance, high yield and fatigue strengths at certain stress levels.

The properties of high tensile steel are still present even when the material is exposed to elevated temperature levels, which makes it a very versatile material suitable for use in a myriad of situations.

The many benefits of high tensile steel

Surprisingly, using high tensile steel lowers the negative impact on the environment and keeps your bottom line steady, especially in the transport industry. Many large trailers and trucks are designed and constructed with high tensile steel which is significantly lighter, offering the ability to carry higher payloads while reducing its fuel consumption thanks to the low tare weight. Making high tensile steel also produces fewer carbon emissions compared to iron-ore based steel production.

High tensile steel is also known for its resistance to atmospheric corrosion, the degradation inflicted to materials through exposure to air and air-borne pollutants. This type of corrosion is commonly found in areas where the electrolytes in water come into contact with the metal, usually in snowy, rainy or humid conditions. The magnesium element of high-tensile steel plays a part in this.

Best applications

One common use for high tensile steel is in spring applications. For example, the hooks attached to both ends of a bungee cord are built with spring steel, as the need to have high tensile strength due to the extensions it will be subjected to throughout its lifetime.

High tensile steel is commonly used in mechanical engineering applications, such as shafts, rotors, and other engine parts that are continually being placed in stressful and heated conditions.

It’s also the go-to material used in the construction of bridges, since they’re tough enough to handle repeated usage and strong enough to carry significant loads. As you can see, there’s a litany of real-world applications for the product that would otherwise not be as viable.

At ShapeCUT we use steel of almost every grade imaginable and know which one will be right for your job. Talk to the team today and see how we can help you.