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    Table of Contents

    If you were to name a type of metal, iron and steel would probably be among the first to cross your mind. Not surprising, considering the different types of steel being used across different applications. From automotive body parts, to bridges and flyovers, domestic appliances to surgical devices, steel metal across all grades and classifications is present in our daily lives. In this article, we’ll take a look at the different steel grades and types, the basic classification of steel, its properties, applications, and price range in India.

    What are the different types of steel?

    Let’s start with the basic question – How many types of steel are there?

    Broadly speaking, there are four types of steel that are used in India:

    • Carbon steel
    • Alloy steel
    • Stainless steel
    • Tool steel

    Listed below is a detailed look at the different classification of steel metal.

    Carbon steel

    Carbon steel is an alloy of carbon and iron, with carbon content ranging between 0.12% to 2%. Based on the quantity of carbon content, this type of steel is classified as:

    • Low-carbon steel: Contain up to 0.3% carbon and used primarily in steel sheets. They are either cold-rolled or annealed, and are high on ductility, weldability, and toughness. Common industrial applications include automobile body parts.
    • Medium-carbon steel: Contains between 0.3% to 0.6% of carbon content along with manganese. A higher amount of carbon (~0.5%) makes this grade of carbon steel suitable to be used in tempered and quenched environments. They are tough and ductile, and of medium strength. Are commonly used to make shafts, gears, rails, rail axels etc.
    • High-carbon steel: Contains the highest content of carbon ranging between 0.6% to 1%. An alternative alloy steel, containing 1.25% to 2.0% carbon is also used in certain cases. Commonly used in high-strength steel wires, cutting tools, blades, metal lamp post, etc.

    Also read: Forged steel vs Carbon steel

    Alloy steel

    The next type of steel we will look at is alloy steel. As the name suggests, alloy steel is made up of different alloying elements to bring structural variations in its properties. In general, the alloying component added to the base of steel metal is limited to not more than 5%. This brings out desired properties like weldability, strength, hardness, ductility, toughness, corrosion-resistance and more.

    Common alloying elements added to alloy steel are (including properties):

    • Manganese: Increases strength, ductility and hardness, and prevents brittleness
    • Silicon: Increases strength, magnetism and hardenability
    • Chromium: Improves hardenability and makes steel resistant to rust and corrosion
    • Nickel: Increases hardenability and corrosion resistance
    • Copper: Improves corrosion resistance and adds hardening properties
    • Phosphorous: Increases strength and hardness
    • Sulphur: Improves machineability
    • Vanadium: Increases strength, shock resistance, and adds fine grain structure
    • Aluminium: Increases lightness of steel
    • Titanium: Reduces martensitic hardness
    • Tungsten: Increases strength and hardness especially in high temperatures

    Steel alloys find application in different sectors. Some of the common use of alloy steel are in – automotive, railways, road construction, buildings, mining and machinery.

    Stainless steel

    The next classification of steel we will look at is stainless steel. Popularly used in kitchen utensils and appliances, stainless steel is an alloy of iron and chromium (usually 10.5% or more), and sometimes nickel.

    This makes stainless steel corrosion resistant, gives it high tensile strength, keeps it low maintenance, and also aesthetically pleasing. The composition of stainless steel also makes streel recycling convenient, making it an eco-friendly steel metal type.

    The four main types of stainless steel are:

    • Austenitic stainless steel: Most commonly used classification of stainless steel with compositions of chromium (~16%) and nickel. Grade 300 series have nickel added, while grade 200 series come with manganese and nitrogen. Grade 304 and 316 stainless steel are popular types.
    • Ferritic stainless steel: Carbon content is high in this steel type making it more resistant to corrosion and salt. Commonly found in marine applications.
    • Martensitic stainless steel: Chromium content in this type of steel ranges between 12% – 18% and is used in turbines, valves, medical instruments.
    • Duplex stainless steel: High chromium content (up to 25%) and also some molybdenum making it highly corrosion resistant and tough. Common industry applications include oil and gas, shipping and chemical.

    Also read: Carbon steel vs Stainless steel

    Tool steel

    We’ll conclude our understanding of how many types of steel are there and the different steel grades, by looking at the fourth main type of steel – tool steel.

    Common types of tool steel and the process of their manufacturing include:

    • Air-hardening
    • Water-hardening
    • Oil-hardening
    • High-speed

    This type of steel comes with high carbon content (up to 1.5%) making it a strong and hard metal type. Common application of tool steel is in making tools (for cutting and drilling), saw blades, and dies making it suitable for use in environments of high-impact.

    Other components of tool steel include tungsten, vanadium, and molybdenum. These give it additional properties especially those of durability and resistance to corrosion and heat. This form of steel is also abrasive.

    Also read: Interim Budget 2024 – What the steel sector can look forward to?

    Steel prices in India – Daily steel rate per kg/tonne

    Now that we have a better understanding of the different classification of steel, let’s also take a look at the price of steel in India.

    Note: This is a general list. The steel price will be determined by the steel type, shape, thickness and other factors. It is recommended to check with steel suppliers, sellers and manufacturers for latest price and availability.

    Steel type / grade / shape Steel price per kg Steel price per tonne
    Carbon steel price ₹45 – ₹125 per kg ₹45,000 – ₹125,000 per tonne
    Alloy steel price ₹70 – ₹200 per kg ₹70,000 – ₹200,000 per tonne
    Stainless steel price ₹150 – ₹350 per kg ₹150,000 – ₹350,000 per tonne
    Stainless steel grade 316 price

    (Also read: About stainless steel 316)

    ₹248 – ₹255 per kg ₹248,000 – ₹255,000 per tonne
    Tool steel price ₹250 – ₹1000 per kg ₹250,000 – ₹10,00,000 per tonne
    Galvanised steel price

    (Also read: What is galvanised steel)

    ₹60 – ₹75 per kg ₹60,000 – ₹75,000 per tonne
    Mild steel price

    (Also read: MS sheet price)

    ₹60 – ₹70 per kg ₹60,000 – ₹70,000 per tonne
    TMT bars ₹55 – ₹75 per kg ₹55,000 – ₹75,000 per tonne
    Steel ingot price (standard)

    (Also read: Steel ingot price list)

    ₹38 – ₹44 per kg ₹38,000 – ₹44,000 per tonne
    Stainless steel ingot ₹58 – ₹62 per kg ₹58,000 – ₹62,000 per tonne
    Alloy steel ingot ₹100 – ₹250 per kg ₹100,000 – ₹250,000 per tonne
    Steel billet price

    (Also read: About steel billet)

    ₹43 – ₹50 per kg ₹43,000 – ₹50,000 per tonne

    *Price reflected is for reference only. Price depends on steel grade, thickness, size, brand, city/state and other factors. GST, transport, freight, packaging not including. Please check with your steel supplier for more information.

    Looking for the best rates on steel? At Tata nexarc we have partnered with leading steel sellers and supplier and offer quality steel across multiple brands. You can buy steel at the best prices, avail credit facility, and get on-time delivery. To get a quote, get in touch with us now.

    Exploring steel grades, uses and industry applications

    In the sections below, we take a closer look at the industry applications and grades of steel.

    Carbon steel

    Carbon steel grades Popular industry applications
    ·       Low carbon (mild steel) – Grade A36

    ·       Medium carbon – Grade 1045, A106, EN9

    ·       High carbon – Grade 1095

    ·       Construction sector for structural components (e.g., as beams and rebars)

    ·       Automotive components

    ·       Machinery

    ·       Pipelines

    ·       Cutting tools

    Alloy steel

    Alloy steel grades Popular industry applications
    ·       Grade 4130

    ·       Grade 4140

    ·       Grade 4330

    ·       Grade 4340

    ·       Grade 8620

    ·       Aerospace sector

    ·       Automotive components

    ·       High tensile shafts, gears, crankshafts, bolts

    ·       Structural parts

    ·       Power transmission and generation equipment

    Stainless steel

    Stainless steel grades Popular industry applications
    ·       Grade 304

    ·       Grade 316

    ·       Grade 410

    ·       Medical devices and surgical instruments

    ·       Pharmaceutical

    ·       Automotive sector (e.g., exhaust systems)

    ·       Cutlery and kitchenware

    ·       Oil and gas

    ·       Marine applications and shipping

    ·       Chemical processing equipment

    ·       Construction and architectural structures

    ·       Die applications

    Tool steel

    Tool steel grades Popular industry applications
    ·       Grade A2

    ·       Grade D2

    ·       Grade O1

    ·       Cutting tools and precision tools

    ·       Die applications

    ·       Measuring instruments

    ·       Molding dies

    ·       Punches

    How to select the right grade of steel for your business?

    We hope, by now, if you are asked to name a type of metal, you will be able to talk about the four types of steel. Knowing about the different grades of steel, its properties, price, benefits and uses, is the first step towards deciding what’s right for your project. However, it’s not the only thing that should determine your decision-making.

    Here are some tips to help you make smarter decisions on based on the classification of steel.

    Tips to buy steel:

    • Check quality of steel being offered: Always check for authentic quality, especially BIS and ISO which basically means that the steel manufacturing has been done using international standards. (Also read: IS code for steel manufacturing)
    • Verify seller credibility: Check reviews and verify the reputation and credibility of the seller/supplier or manufacturer before signing up with them.
    • Confirm steel availability: Steel projects are usually for the long-term. When finalising a seller/supplier, ensure product availability for the long term. For instance, if you are building a fire-resistant steel structure, that requires a specific grade of steel, ensure your seller has the stock and will be able to deliver the metal during the project timespan.
    • Know the alternatives: This is in reference to sellers and products. For stance, if your regular seller is unable to provide the order, ensure you have two-three alternatives so that work is not affected. Similarly, if a certain type of steel is not available in the market currently, what are the alternative grades of steel that can be used?
    • Stay updated on competitors: Make sure you are familiar with market updates and competition. This will also enable you to make growth plans for the future.
    • Look for government incentives and rebates: Follow relevant channels to learn about government initiatives and incentives in your industry. For instance, in the Interim Budget 2024, the government has prioritised infrastructure development and sustainability. As such, if you are opting for green steel manufacturing, check for any incentives or rebates you might qualify for.

    These tips should help you to buy the right type of steel for your business.

    Also read: Interim Budget 2024: Sustainability and climate change initiatives

    Sohini Banerjee

    Sohini is a seasoned content writer with 12 years’ experience in developing marketing and business content across multiple formats. At Tata nexarc, she leverages her skills in crafting curated content on the Indian MSME sector, steel procurement, and logistics. In her personal time, she enjoys reading fiction and being up-to-date on trends in digital marketing and the Indian business ecosystem.