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Where do the properties that make steel ideal for machining custom parts come from?


Steel production is growing steadily around the world. According to the World Steel Association, world crude steel production has more than doubled between 2000 and 2018.

This impressive statistic can be explained by the fact that steel has ideal mechanical properties for a very wide variety of applications, such as machining.

In this article, learn more about the origin of steel properties and how they can be optimized.

Steel properties depend primarily on its chemical composition

The main factor that gives steel ideal properties for machining is its chemical composition. Steel is the result of an alloy of different metals and elements that give it its important mechanical properties. The two basic elements of these alloys are iron and carbon.

However, the most important element in the chemical composition of steel is carbon. The carbon content of steel influences its properties and microstructure. With some additional treatments, this microstructure can even be modified to create different types of steel.

The steel manufacturing process also has an impact on steel properties

There are a number of treatments that modify the properties of steel. These treatments can be useful in creating varieties of steel that are better suited to certain applications, such as the machining of custom mechanical parts.

Hot rolled steel

As the name suggests, hot working is a process in which steel is exposed to very high temperatures. The steel is heated until it changes phase and deforms synthetically. This process changes the structure and alignment of the grains and changes the dimensions of the product.

The microstructure of steel is composed of fairly coarse grains. Heat treatment allows the size of these grains to be reduced, which in turn improves certain properties of the material. For example, this process is used to improve the ductility of the steel, i.e. the ability of the steel to stretch without breaking.

Cold drawn steel

Cold drawing, also known as cold hardening, is another process used to optimize certain properties of steel.  Its purpose is to harden the steel by a permanent plastic deformation of the material. In contrast to hot working, this process is carried out at room temperature.

Hardening also allows several other properties other than hardness to be altered. It increases the yield strength of the steel, increases its tensile strength, and decreases its ductility.

Steel machining holds no secrets for the experts at Braidwood Industries Ltd.

In short, the properties of steel that make it a choice material for machining come mainly from its chemical composition. However, with additional treatments, some of the steel’s mechanical properties can be altered to make it suitable for a variety of applications, such as machining.

At Braidwood Industries Ltd., we use our machining expertise to transform steel into custom-made gears and mechanical parts. For more information about our services, we invite you to contact us!

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