By | August 7, 2016

Steels are commonly used alloys available in the market at cheaper prices. Therefore, it has received popularity. Nowadays a vast majority of utensils, mechanical tools and machines are made of steels. Having extensive and different uses of it, steel alloying is done in different ways to meet each purpose exactly and ruinously. In this article we will discuss alloying elements effects on steel properties.

In general, it is a combination of iron and carbon. However, various elements are mixed with irons to prepare different types of stainless steels. Therefore, there is a complexity in steel alloys. Different alloying elements have some specific effects on the nature and properties of stainless steel. This is why additional research is mandatory before making any design of it.

In order to improve qualities and physical properties, steel is alloyed with various elements. Sometimes, in order to produce special properties like heat resistant and fire resistant steel is alloyed.

Given below are the alloying elements effects on steel properties :

Carbon (C)

Carbon is the most important alloying element for producing stainless steel. Therefore, it has some significant effects on steel properties. It increases the hardness and strength of steel.

Chromium (CR)

Chromium is most commonly used alloying elementadded to steel to increase the corrosion resistanceofstainless steels. Almost all stainless steels contain less than10.5% Chromium in them. Chromium ensures hardness, toughness, hardenability, and tensile strength of steel. It can boost resistance to wear, abrasion and scaling at elevated temperatures.


Manganese is an important element applied to improve the surface quality and hot ductility of steel alloy. It is highly beneficial for re-sulfurized steels. Needless to say, the impact of manganeseon theaustenite balancevaries with the temperature applied for steel alloying. More temperature ensures better stability. It has notable effects on the hardenability of steel.  Manganese can replace some of the nickel. It increasesthe solubility of nitrogen in austenitic and duplex stainless is also another alloying elements effects on steel properties.

Sulphur (S)

To increase machinability of a few stainless steels, Sulfur is used. Free-cutting steels are most significant among these. Sulphur can decrease the corrosion resistance, formability, ductility, and weldability of steel alloys. The lack of sufficient manganesein free-cutting steels produces brittleness at red is also another alloying elements effects on steel properties.


Like aluminum and manganese, Silicon is one of the important deoxidizers (deoxidizing elements) used in steelmaking. It increases tensile,magnetic permeability, hardness, yielding point and forgeability.

Phosphorus (P)

Phosphorus is used in steel alloying in order to increase strength, machinabilityand hardness. It decreases ductility and toughness at the time of producing higher-carbon steels. It helps to keep the steel temper right. It is very good for producing low-carbon or carbon-freemachining steels.

Boron (B)

Boron is a potent alloying element having a strong effect on the hardenability of steel.  A very small amount of boron (approx 0.001%) can significantly improve hardenability without making any harm to the ductility of steel. It is very good to produce lower carbon is also another alloying elements effects on steel properties.

Nickel (Ni)

Nickel is a ferrite strengthener added to promote an austenitic microstructure that ensures strength and hardness without making any harm to ductility and toughness. It also mitigates the corrosion rate.As the consequence of it, the acidic environments and elements become less harmful.

Molybdenum (MO)

Molybdenum significantly increases the hardenability and resistance of steel. It intensifies the resistance of both localized and corrosion uniform. In high-speed steels and hot-work steels, Molybdenumincreases red-hardness properties. It notably boosts a ferritic microstructure.

Aluminum (Al)

Aluminum is extensively used as a deoxidizer. It improves and controls austenite grain growth in reheated steels. It is added to control grain size. The significant role is to improve the quality so that it is not affected by the oxidation caused by natural elements like oxygen, fluorine, etc.  To ensure hardness and strength, Aluminum is used.

Copper (CU)

The adequate amount of Copper is added to produce hot-working steels. It surely enhances the power of hot-working steels to certain acids. It can determine an austenitic microstructure and improve the corrosion resistance of steel. Besides, it can ensure improved machinability. However, copper has one detrimental or negative effect on steel. It can harm the surface of a quality steel. This is why it should be used in a lower amount. It must not be more than 0.20%.Here is  another alloying elements effects on steel properties.



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