Steel alloy elements

Everything on this world and in the universe is made up of atoms. And the stars that we wonder at night are the origin for all elements that we know.

We are stardust
Novalis

The beginning

The present day recognised theory on the creation of our universe states that at the beginning of time and space there was a mighty singularity (the initial singularity), in which all matter was concentrated in a single point. This singularity can be compared with super-solid black holes, which are now located in most centres of large galaxies. These black holes unite a mass millions of times larger than our sun in a ball only a few kilometres in diameter. This means that the structure of time and space is so distorted, that time does not exist inside a black hole. Other natural laws can also no longer act in this environment. This is the reason why the singularity was able to exist at all at the beginning of our universe.

The birth of the elements

Nobody has been able to explain yet with certainty what caused the big bang. Whatever the reason, the whole mass of the singularity was accelerated outwards, which allowed time and space to form for the first time. The propagation of the big bang explosion was so fast that the universe had the size of our present day solar system within a fraction of a second. Several seconds later the universal natural forces also formed, which prevent superluminal fast expansion of space. Since then, nothing can move faster than the speed of light.

Soon after the big bang the universe was still very dense and extremely hot. Apart from the matter building blocks known to us, this plasma also contained antimatter particles, which immediately obliterated each other in violent reactions. Luckily for us, the mass distribution of matter and antimatter was not uniform, so that at the end a little matter remained, which is what makes today’s visible universe with its galaxies, stars and planets.

Space then continued to expand for another 300,000 years and continued to cool down. When the cooling had reached a certain temperature, the speed of individual matter building blocks also slowed down. Protons were able to bond with one electron each. In this way the first element of the universe was formed – hydrogen!

From hydrogen to the first giant star

After hydrogen had formed all over the universe, gigantic swathes of gas crossed the whole universe. These swathes were very thin, but differed in concentration. Wherever gas concentrations existed, gravitation caused other atoms to accumulate. This process lasted many million years until the gas swathes had formed compact gas spheres. The growing mass also caused the pressure inside these gas spheres to rise, until the core was so hot that the process of core fusion began. 500 million years after the big bang the first stars lit up the darkness of the then universe.

Stars – smelting furnaces of the elements

The life of these stars was intensive and short. The stars were enormous, because in the beginning they were only made of hydrogen and huge quantities of this element were available. Today it is assumed that on average these stars had a radius 2,500 times our central star. These stars were extremely hot and inside these stars hydrogen was fused to form helium. This process occurred so quickly that after around 5 million years the stock of hydrogen had been used up.

After a short, intensive life, these stars became extremely energy-rich supernova. Yet these star explosions were not like the present day supernovae, as these stars were very low in heavy elements. These stars were not yet able to form iron, which is why the core of a star normally collapses. In these giant stars hydrogen was first fused to form helium. This caused the temperature inside the star to rise so rapidly that other, even heavier elements such as nitrogen, oxygen and fluorine formed. The fusion of these heavy elements suddenly produced so much energy that gravity could no longer withstand the pressure. This meant that the stars were completely torn apart from the inner core.

Supernovae are among the most energy-rich explosions known in the universe. They can be so bright that they can outshine the brightness of a whole galaxy. These explosions are so rich in energy and so hot that all the heavy elements that could not be formed in stars were suddenly formed.
These powerful explosions hurled the elements that had been formed into the universe, and over the course of billions of years new stars were formed and ultimately new planets and life were created.

The effect of elements on steel

Over the centuries, very many different alloys have been developed, which satisfy all kinds of different requirements. Metallurgy is a complex science, and today precise statements can be made about the effect of individual elements on the property of the alloy.

You can filter the displayed information by clicking elements or properties:

Hardness +1 Si

Strength +1 Si

Yield point +2 Si

Elongation -1 Si

Red. of area ± Si

Impact value -1 Si

Elasticity +3 Si

Hot strength +3 Si

Cooling rate -1 Si

Carbideformation -1 Si

Wear resistance -3 Si

Forgeability -1 Si

Machinability -1 Si

Scaling -1 Si

Nitrability -1 Si

Rust resistance -1 Si

Hardness +1 Mn*

Strength +1 Mn*

Yield point +1 Mn*

Elongation ± Mn*

Red. of area ± Mn*

Impact value ± Mn*

Elasticity +1 Mn*

Hot strength ± Mn*

Cooling rate -1 Mn*

Carbideformation ± Mn*

Wear resistance -2 Mn*

Forgeability +1 Mn*

Machinability -1 Mn*

Scaling ± Mn*

Nitrability ± Mn*

Rust resistance ± Mn*

Hardness -3 Mn**

Strength +1 Mn**

Yield point -1 Mn**

Elongation +3 Mn**

Red. of area ± Mn**

Impact value ± Mn**

Elasticity ± Mn**

Hot strength ± Mn**

Cooling rate -2 Mn**

Carbideformation ± Mn**

Wear resistance ± Mn**

Forgeability -3 Mn**

Machinability -3 Mn**

Scaling -2 Mn**

Nitrability ± Mn**

Rust resistance ± Mn**

Hardness +2 Cr

Strength +2 Cr

Yield point +2 Cr

Elongation -1 Cr

Red. of area -1 Cr

Impact value -1 Cr

Elasticity +1 Cr

Hot strength +1 Cr

Cooling rate -3 Cr

Carbideformation +2 Cr

Wear resistance +1 Cr

Forgeability -1 Cr

Machinability ± Cr

Scaling -3 Cr

Nitrability +2 Cr

Rust resistance +3 Cr

Hardness +1 Ni*

Strength +1 Ni*

Yield point +1 Ni*

Elongation ± Ni*

Red. of area ± Ni*

Impact value ± Ni*

Elasticity ± Ni*

Hot strength +1 Ni*

Cooling rate -2 Ni*

Carbideformation ± Ni*

Wear resistance -2 Ni*

Forgeability -1 Ni*

Machinability -1 Ni*

Scaling -1 Ni*

Nitrability ± Ni*

Rust resistance ± Ni*

Hardness -2 Ni**

Strength +1 Ni**

Yield point -1 Ni**

Elongation +3 Ni**

Red. of area +2 Ni**

Impact value +3 Ni**

Elasticity ± Ni**

Hot strength +3 Ni**

Cooling rate -2 Ni**

Carbideformation ± Ni**

Wear resistance ± Ni**

Forgeability -3 Ni**

Machinability -3 Ni**

Scaling -2 Ni**

Nitrability ± Ni**

Rust resistance +2 Ni**

Hardness ± Al

Strength ± Al

Yield point ± Al

Elongation ± Al

Red. of area -1 Al

Impact value -1 Al

Elasticity ± Al

Hot strength ± Al

Cooling rate ± Al

Carbideformation ± Al

Wear resistance ± Al

Forgeability -2 Al

Machinability ± Al

Scaling -2 Al

Nitrability +3 Al

Rust resistance ± Al

Hardness +1 V

Strength +1 V

Yield point +1 V

Elongation ± V

Red. of area ± V

Impact value +1 V

Elasticity +1 V

Hot strength +2 V

Cooling rate -2 V

Carbideformation +4 V

Wear resistance +2 V

Forgeability +1 V

Machinability ± V

Scaling -1 V

Nitrability +1 V

Rust resistance +1 V

Hardness +1 W

Strength +1 W

Yield point +1 W

Elongation -1 W

Red. of area -1 W

Impact value ± W

Elasticity ± W

Hot strength +3 W

Cooling rate -2 W

Carbideformation +2 W

Wear resistance +3 W

Forgeability -2 W

Machinability -2 W

Scaling -2 W

Nitrability +1 W

Rust resistance ± W

Hardness +1 Co

Strength +1 Co

Yield point +1 Co

Elongation -1 Co

Red. of area -1 Co

Impact value -1 Co

Elasticity ± Co

Hot strength +2 Co

Cooling rate +2 Co

Carbideformation ± Co

Wear resistance +3 Co

Forgeability -1 Co

Machinability ± Co

Scaling -1 Co

Nitrability ± Co

Rust resistance ± Co

Hardness +1 Mo

Strength +1 Mo

Yield point +1 Mo

Elongation -1 Mo

Red. of area -1 Mo

Impact value +1 Mo

Elasticity ± Mo

Hot strength +2 Mo

Cooling rate -2 Mo

Carbideformation +3 Mo

Wear resistance +2 Mo

Forgeability -1 Mo

Machinability -1 Mo

Scaling +2 Mo

Nitrability +2 Mo

Rust resistance ± Mo

Hardness +1 Cu

Strength +1 Cu

Yield point +2 Cu

Elongation ± Cu

Red. of area ± Cu

Impact value ± Cu

Elasticity ± Cu

Hot strength +1 Cu

Cooling rate ± Cu

Carbideformation ± Cu

Wear resistance ± Cu

Forgeability -3 Cu

Machinability ± Cu

Scaling ± Cu

Nitrability ± Cu

Rust resistance +1 Cu

Hardness ± S

Strength ± S

Yield point ± S

Elongation -1 S

Red. of area -1 S

Impact value -1 S

Elasticity ± S

Hot strength ± S

Cooling rate ± S

Carbideformation ± S

Wear resistance ± S

Forgeability -3 S

Machinability +3 S

Scaling ± S

Nitrability ± S

Rust resistance -1 S

Hardness +1 P

Strength +1 P

Yield point +1 P

Elongation -1 P

Red. of area -1 P

Impact value -3 P

Elasticity ± P

Hot strength ± P

Cooling rate ± P

Carbideformation ± P

Wear resistance ± P

Forgeability -1 P

Machinability +2 P

Scaling ± P

Nitrability ± P

Rust resistance ± P

au* = in austenitic steels

pe* = in perlitic steels

Several elements have a positive effect on the material properties. These include, among other things nickel and manganese, which make steel softer by increasing the yield strength. Sheets and plates made of such alloys can be worked very easily by Bending and Roll bending .
Mild steels can be made tougher and more resistant by adding chromium and molybdenum. In this way, thinner sheets and plates can be used, without reducing the stability of the construction. This saves material and weight and is also more economical.

Scale formation can be reduced with aluminium and calcium. This is especially important if sheet and plate metal parts have to be machined using lasers. During this laser machining the sheet or plate is heated strongly within a very narrow area. Unalloyed steels tend to form scale deposits as a result of the extreme heat effect, which then have to be removed in a subsequent work step. By adding calcium and aluminium, the material is made more heat resistant and forms less scale. These elements also have a positive effect on welding.

Carbon is one of the most important alloying elements. Carbon increases the hardness and strength of steel. One familiar use is Damascus Steel, in which a very carbon-rich steel is welded with a low-carbon steel, folded and forged to make blades. The combination of these two types of steel enables strength, hardness and flexibility to be combined.

There are now steel alloys that can easily withstand the poor weather conditions on high seas. Even decades-long salt water exposure does not affect these alloys. These steels are extremely low in sulphur and phosphorous and have been enriched with titanium and nickel. The possibilities are manifold and diverse. Different combinations of these useful elements can produce alloys for every area of use. There are also harmful substances, which should be removed from the melt whenever possible, for example, arsenic and sulphur, which lower ductility or toughness.

The proportion of the elements that have a negative effect on steel is far smaller than the quantity of useful elements. The effect of elements harmful to steel is always similar. If steels contain these elements, they rust faster, are more sensitive to impact and fracture and therefore can also not be easily machined or worked. Bending, folding and other working methods frequently cause cracks at the edges or shell-shaped fractures on the surface. Arsenic and phosphorous prevent weldability. Therefore, during steel production the proportion of these elements is reduced as far as possible.