Steel Castings: Ultimate Guide to All Popular Steel Types

Every place near you has steel. Every metallic structure and machinery near you also has steel. Specifically, everything from food to the aerospace industry requires different steel types. Therefore, we understand that steel is one of the essential materials that we need every day. However, steel castings are the most common casting material found in every foundry. Why? Because steel castings have the highest demand from every sector in the world.

These different steel types and their applications inspired us to create this ultimate guide to all popular steel types. It will not only describe different steel types but also justify the factors that determine these different steel castings types.

What Are The Different Types of Steel?

Steels are not just limited to some typical materials; they have different types in different applications. Steels are one of the most durable materials in the world that last for as long as 100 years in every construction and building project. Besides, steel casting machinery is famous for its long-lasting behavior.

Some of the most common construction steels are beams, flanges, web, angle bars, sheet metals, channels, angles, etc. However, cutting these materials requires unique steel products such as tool steel. In addition, different steel machinery and their parts are also great examples of different types of steel. Explore below to learn more about the steel types and their applications.

1.      Stainless Steel

Stainless steels are famous for their strength and corrosion resistance properties. Besides, stainless steel is trendy for its excellent aesthetic, easy cleaning, and recyclable properties. According to its material composition, stainless steels have more than 10% of chromium contents and various other materials in small quantities. The passive layer, or chromic oxide layer, is a thin, sealed layer with responsible corrosion resistance properties, and it comes from the combination of oxygen and chromium. Some of the most common grades of stainless steel are 304, 316, 430, 409, and 304L.

Applications: Automotive and transportation, medical technology, construction, food processing machinery, and manufacturing industries.

2.      Carbon Steel

Typical carbon steels contain up to 2.1 wt.% of carbon contents. It is an iron-carbon alloy that also often contains manganese. According to its material composition, the manganese, silicon, and copper content is less than 1.65 wt.%, 0.6 wt.% and 0.6 wt.%, respectively. However, based on the different carbon-content levels, carbon steels have three different types.

  • Low-carbon steel: It is the most popular carbon steel containing carbon content of less than 0.25 wt.%. Heat treatment is not suitable for this type of steel. Therefore, most industries follow cold work to manufacture this item. The most common application of low-carbon steel is automotive body parts, structural beams, components, pipes, food cans, etc.
  • Medium carbon steel: This type of carbon steel contains carbon contents of between 0.25 to 0.60 wt.% and a manganese content of between 0.60 to 1.65 wt.%. Heat treatment is the primary manufacturing process of medium carbon steel. The most common applications of medium carbon steels are rail lines, train wheels, crankshafts, gears, machinery components, etc.
  • High-carbon steel: This type of carbon steel contains carbon contents between 0.60 to 1.25 wt.% and manganese contents between 0.30 to 0.90 wt.%. High-carbon steels are the hardest among the other carbon steel in the group. The most common examples of high-carbon steels are cutting tools, high-end springs, strong wire, and dies.

3.      Alloy Steel

Alloy steels are famous for their increased hardenability and strength. This type of steel contains various elements such as aluminum, bismuth, boron, chromium, copper, lead, manganese, molybdenum, nickel, silicon, sulfur, etc. Alloy steel contains these contents of between 1 wt.% to 50 wt.% based on different mechanical and physical properties. On the other hand, based on the quantity of the other elements, there are two types of alloy steels: low-alloy steel and high-alloy steel.

Applications: Low-alloy steels are famous for extreme strength, machineability, budgeted price, and versatility. The most common examples of alloy steels are military equipment and vehicles, ships, pipelines, hydraulic equipment, structural components, etc. On the other hand, high-alloy steels are comparatively expensive and require a high-quality manufacturing process. Some of the most common examples of high-alloy steels are structural components, automotive parts and equipment, chemical processing equipment, and power plant equipment.

4.      Mild Steel

MS or mild steel is one of the most popular steel types in every construction application. Mild steel is on type of low-carbon steel. It contains a small number of carbon contents, no more than 2.1% resulting in pure iron properties. However, there are different grades of mild steel. Other elements can be added to improve corrosion resistance, wear resistance, and strength. Some of the most common grades of mild steel are EN 1.0301, EN 1.1121, and EN 1.0402.

Applications: Mild steels are standard in most construction applications. This steel type is popular in buildings to giant sea-going vessel manufacturing. Machinery, pipelines, cutlery, cookware, and fence are popular mild steel applications.

5.      Tool Steel

As the name implies, tool steels are typically famous for tool manufacturing. As these steels are hard, heat and wear-resistant, it becomes perfectly suitable as the tooling element. This type of steel is high-quality carbon and alloy steel perfectly suitable for cutting and reaming for different materials such as metal, wood, or plastic. Tool steels usually go through furnacing and processing to get the desired shape for different tooling components.

There are seven types of tool steel famous in manufacturing. These are high-speed steels, hot-work steels, cold-work steels, water-hardening tool steels, shock-resisting steels, low-alloy special-purpose tool steels, and low-carbon mold steels.

Applications: Different types of tooling, such as forming, stamping, and cutting, are the most common applications of tool steel. Besides, this steel is also trendy in the extrusion of plastic components and the slitting of steel coils and dies for casting.

6.      Others

The above steel types are the most common in every construction and manufacturing application. However, based on the other applications, we have tried to bring all the other popular steel types below.

  • Tungsten Steel: Tungsten is the primary alloying element in these steel casting types. These steel castings are popular for manufacturing micro-drill bits, cutting blades, rocket engine nozzles, etc.
  • Nickel Steel: Steel that contains 0.5 wt.% to 0.6 wt.%  of nickel alloying element is called nickel steel. This steel casting is famous for food contact materials, transport, architecture, and water treatment processes.
  • Manganese Steel: This steel casting also has another name; Hadfield steel or mangalloy. In these steel types, 12-14 wt.% of manganese is present, making it strong and resistant to abrasion. Tractor parts and equipment, rock crushers, cement mixture, and elevators are the best examples of mangalloy.
  • Vanadium Steel: Vanadium steels are popular for their excellent corrosion-resistant properties. These steels containing only 1% of vanadium are sufficient to achieve high vibration resistance. Automobile springs are the best examples of this steel type.
  • Chromium Steel: Chromium steels are also great for wear and temperature resistance. Rock crushers and automotive parts are common examples of this type.
  • Chromium-vanadium steel: These types offer high tensile strength and excellent ductility features. Gears, automotive axles, and vehicle frames are common examples.
  • Silicone steel: These steels are famous for manufacturing permanent magnets. The composition contains nearly 1 to 2 wt.% of silicone.
  • Molybdenum Steel: Molybdenum is an excellent alloying agent for tough, weldable, and great corrosion-resistant steels. Oil and gas pipes and ball bearings are typical examples of this type.
  • Cobalt Steel: Gas turbine vanes and chambers are made of cobalt steel.
  • Aluminium Steel: The automotive industry, food processing, packaging, etc., are typical applications for aluminum steel.

What Factor Determines The Steel Casting of Different Types?

There are more than 1500 types of steel castings available in the world. What makes it such a vast number? Modern world infrastructure requires different kinds of physical and chemical properties of the materials. Each of the requirements requires different types of steel, so there are so many steel types that are popular nowadays. However, the following are the primary four reasons that determine the steel casting of different types.

Physical properties

The physical properties of the steel castings are the primary considerations reflected in the steel grading parameters. The physical properties of the steel castings are their yield stress, tensile strength, and final product elongation. Based on different requirements of these properties creates different types of steel castings.

Compositions and chemical properties

Chemical compositions of steel castings are also a vital factor to consider when choosing the suitable steel grade. Different applications prefer different chemical compositions of steel castings. However, the alloying agent selection is the primary step in determining the steel’s final state. The percentage of these elements is essential because it also determines the steel’s physical parameters, such as corrosion resistance, heat, wear resistance, etc.

Type of Manufacturing

The manufacturing process also has some impact on the physical and chemical properties of the steel castings. Hot-forming and cold forming produce different properties of the product, respectively. While hot forming enhances malleability and ductility, cold forming creates brittle properties. Therefore, the type of manufacturing is also one of the primary factors determining the steel castings grade.

Application of the steel castings

The final and most crucial factor determining the type of steel castings is the application where it will be used. For example, food processing requires highly corrosion-resistant steels, while construction application requires high strength.


Steel is the most popular construction and manufacturing material in the world. Everything near you has steel. But all these steels are not identical in their physical and chemical properties. We know four primary factors that affect the type of steel castings. Thus there are so many variations of steel castings.

Dawang Casting is famous for manufacturing all popular types of steel: stainless steel castings, carbon steel casting, alloy steel castings, and manganese steel castings. If you require any steel types other than these, contact us immediately. Our expert engineers are waiting to give you the best steel grade for your applications.