Engineering360 has asked its users about the latest design trends and features related to Carbon Steels and Alloy Steels. They have also shared their product applications and tips on how to buy and use these products.
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What are some of the applications you have used carbon steels or alloy steels for?
139 answers
We have used alloy steels for fasteners, fuse pins, and major aircraft structural components. However, we are not designing anything new with alloy steel due to the corrosion issues this alloy family faces in service.
~Dan Wallem, Metallurgical Engineer, Renton, U.S.
Designed/ fabricated machine components. Specified materials for machine components/ tooling/ structural members. Work with selecting and/or developing PM alloys to suit customer applications. Metallography/ failure analysis of wrought and PM steels (plain carbon and alloys).
~Engineering, Process/Production, Cape Town, South Africa
Land based Exploration Drilling Rigs, off shore drilling platforms, Petro/chem plants, power plants; gas fired..coal fired & nuclear, pulp & paper plants, fiberglass plants, dorm bldgs at The Citadel in Charleston, SC and mscl other industries.
~Scott B, Senior Structural/Mechanical Designer, Aiken, SC
Welded add on mechanisms onto a homemade pipe delivery trailer. Constructed physical racks assisting in bundling of 25' metal rods. Designed and constructed off loading racks for delivery trailer. Maintained same trailer, repairing or replacing hold down pins as needed.
~Rodney L, Marketing/Sales, Boerne, TX
Our markets are primarily in the coal fire power and mining industries; waste to energy, paper processing, aggregates, and even automotive where wear resistance is needed. We engineer all types of solutions for problematic applications.
~John N., Quality Assurance Manager, Welding Engineer, CWI, Warren, MI
Applications where high corrosion resistant was a factor - high wear - fatigue from repetitive motion - application using electrodeposition of exotic metals to corrosive resistant SS
~Project Management, Grass Valley, CA
For shafts, gear blanks, crane hooks and other lifting tackles, industrial knives, beater plates, briquetting machine segments, rolls for various applications, die-blocks, etc..
~Chhagan Bihany, Director of own company having a graduate mechanical engineering degree., Kolkata, India.
octg, line pipe, seamless pipe for pressure applications, tinplate for can manufacturing; hot rolled, cold rolled and galvanized and galvalume for automotive applications.
~Mike M, Consultant, Charlotte, NC
Ship, bridge, offshore structures, vehicle engines, transmissions, car bodies, aircraft undercarriages, earth moving / quarrying equipment.
~Research & Development, Rotherham, United Kingdom
Building structural steel building , fabrication of pressure vessels, fabrication of pipe lines and maintenance of alloy steel equipment.
~Benjamin M, Design Engineer, Cairo, Egypt
Lifting Devices, Gear Pullers, Wheel Rims, Pry Bars, Sway Bars, Chisels, EyeBolts, U-Bolts, J Bolts, Rings, Master Links, Wear Plates.
~Ralph Russell, Manufacturer, Chicago, IL
Stamping and forming tools for cold pressworking. Metal parts for automotive and electrical industry, incl. lamination parts.
~Jacob G, Tool & die dpt. manager, Kibbutz ein hashofet, Israel
As a welding consultant, I have been involved in the selection of both Carbon and Alloy steels for a variety of applications
~Technical Support/Services, Washington, DC
Fabrication (cutting, rolling, bending, machining, welding,...) of steel components for different industrial sectors.
~Quality Control, Ailes, Spain
As engineer for a new build steam locomotive, a considerable amount of this is made from both carbon and alloy steels.
~Fred B, Engineer, Burgess Hill, UK
I have used both types of steel in shafting applications and carbon steels in structural fabricating of buildings.
~Bob W, Quality Control, Edmonton, Canada
Use low carbon cold rolled steel for hardware parts. Also use spring steel, tool steel, carburization steel, etc.
~Hellen He, Technical Support, Xiamen, China
Mainly we use alloy steels for heavy industrial gears. This is where chemistry and heat treatment are critical.
~Senior Engineer, Solon, OH
Flange make up, equipment packages crossing over from dissimilar metals where insulation kits have been used.
~Engineering, Process/Production, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk,, Russian Federation
Weldments such as gears, housing, press components, machine bases, mining equipment, wind tower bases.
~Dianna D, Purchaser, Guelph, Canada
Plastic industry heat treatment technical accessory in a steel importer and heat treatment company
~Marco F, Engineer, Lima, Peru
Automotive parts, containers, structural pipe, HSS sections, various HR, CR, Coated applications.
~Technical Support/Services, Burlington, Canada
Surgical equipment prototyping, high performance custom blades, proof of concept prototyping...
~Other, Lowell, MI
Shafts, bushings, tooling for putting together assemblies, soft magnetic parts, stamped parts.
~Steve K, Project Manager, Portland, OR
HSLA steels for axle housings, carbon and alloy steels for shafts, alloy steels for gears.
~Engineering, Consulting, Sturgis, MI
I am involved with the writing of the AMS specs for steels, heat treating of steels, etc
~Engineering, Consulting, Washington, PA
I make custom knives. I also was a precision tool maker and used many types of steels.
~Bert W, Custom Knife Maker, Westminster, CO
Furnace tubes, catalyst cracking units, hydroflouric acid plant general Petrochem use
~Quality Control/Assurance, Wynnum, Australia
Shafting (marine, railroad, military, lumber and quarry applications), fabrications.
~Paul V, Quality Control, Everett, WA
We are the leading manufacturer of valves- we mostly use carbon & alloy steels only.
~Saravanan Pazhani, Purchaser, Chennai, India
Design of automated equipment, elevator installation tools and elevator components.
~Terry R, Design Engineer, Toledo, OH
Using for research, corrosion test on pipelines and different pipelines-materials
~Engineering, Other, Perth, Australia
Alloy steel and carbon steel used and selected by me for power plant application.
~Minesh A, Engineer, Nagda, India
Castings and Forgings for machine tools, auto and engineering applications.
~Engineering, Process/Production, Hyderabad, India
Manufacturing of automotive-parts, include sheet metal and fabrication parts.
~Manufacturing, Lahore, Pakistan
Catalytic reformer tubes Iron ore Direct Reduction processes and maintenance
~Engineering, Design, Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela
Tubes, process equipment and structures in offshore oil and gas activities.
~Research & Development, Trondheim, Norway
Automotive, Aerospace, Mechanical Engineering and Structural Engineering
~Alan J, Engineering Consultant, Birmingham, United Kingdom
C.S, (stairs,columns,beam framing) alloy (sheaves & bridge construction)
~Architect/Builder/Contractor, Saint Rose, LA
Aerospace (civil & military) structural components castings & forgings
~Neil I, Quality Control, Brighton, UK
Rotary Lawn Mower Blades, Cutter Bars, Chipper Blades, Flail Blades.
~Dennis A, Marketing/Sales, Buffalo, MN
Cold forming Fasteners Production fixtures Machine shop fixtures
~Lopez V., Engineer Coordinator, Del Rio, TX
Oil and gas equipment, mining equipment, construction equipment
~Jim F., Account Manager, St. Louis, MO
Buttweld Fittings Forged Flanges Seamless and Welded Pipes
~Purchasing, Oldbury, Great Britain
Piping, equipment, and accessories on power plant applications.
~Design Engineer, Yokneam, Israel
We produce wire in carbon steel for the manufacturing industry.
~Sten F, Business Area Manager, Jönköping, Sweden
Piping design, heat exchangers pressure vessels, storage tanks.
~Westwego, LA
Pumps -shafting, sleeves impellers conveyance fabrication
~Manufacturing, Montrose, Canada
Welded structures. Simple mechanisms like shafts. Ladders.
~Volodymyr R, Design Engineer, Odessa, Ukraine
Chemical analysis for process control of steel production.
~Technical Support/Services, Scunthorpe, United Kingdom
Fasteners, machinery parts, blades, car bodies, welding,
~S K Chimbili, Research & Development, Houston, TX
Boat building, Steel framed houses, Wave Energy Technology.
~Matt S, Project Manager, Belfast, Northern Ireland
I have designed wood working tools that use tool steel.
~Manufacturer, Motley, MN
Mainly in the oil drilling and completion industry.
~Mike R, Engineer, Edmonton, Canada
Fabrications, earth moving vehicles (yellow goods).
~Engineering, Process/Production, Peterlee, United Kingdom
The manufacture of products for the mining industry.
~Trevor A, General Management, Lambton, Australia
High strength, heat tolerance, corrosion resistance
~George F, Manufacturer, Erie, PA
Designing structures, machines and pressure vessels.
~Engineering, Other, Brazil
Earth moving, mining machinery spares, pumps & valves.
~Ramchandra K, Technical Director, Kolhapur, India
Hot-rolling of profiles, Laser-welding of profiles.
~Purchasing, Stabio, Switzerland
Pressure Vessels Capital Equipment Structural
~Reading, PA
We are producing these alloys for our customer.
~Quality Control/Assurance, Trichy, India
Gears and Pinions of various EN series steels.
~Manufacturing, LUDHIANA, India
Structural components, construction equipment.
~Other, Elm Grove, WI
I purchase material for use in machine shops.
~Purchasing, INDIAN TRAIL, NC
To make punches, dies, test fixtures, gages.
~Joe K, Toolmaker, Laurinburg, NC
Manufacturing of welding electrodes & rods.
~Abdelhamid M, Technical Support, Cairo, Egypt
Piping systems in the oil and gas industry.
~Engineering, Design, Stavanger, Norway
Manufacture and repair of process machinery.
~Project Management, Toledo, OH
Aircraft airframe and landing gear systems.
~Burl R., Owner, design engineer, manufacturer and marketing, Chugiak, AK
Work with customer to braze them together.
~Jay B, Process Engineer, Milwaukee, WI
Weldments, gears, alloy shafts, machines.
~James D, Marketing/Sales, Kaukauna, WI
Buildings, constructions, machine building.
~Murat G, Quality Control, Izmir, Turkey
Cast all 10XX , 41XX, 43XX, 86XX, 52100
~Tibor Oravec, Engineer, North Canton, OH
Recreational Trail Guardrail / Handrail
~Engineering, Design, Elkins, WV
High temperature nuclear fuel cycles.
~Stan V, Quality and Regulatory, Greenville, SC
Valves, Castings and mechanical seals.
~Christian B, Strategic Purchasing Manager, Essen, Germany
Tools and parts for mechanical devices.
~Richardeau P, Process Engineer, Herstal, Belgium
Heavy Engineering Design Fabrication
~Engineering, Design, Gurgaon, India
Engineering / automobile application.
~Marketing/Sales, Raipur, India
Gas Cylinders Jaw crushers Tanks
~Eng. Mahmoud Samy N., Project Manager, Cairo, EGYPT
Oil and gas, petrochemical industries
~Kåre J, Engineering Consultant, Vihals, Norway
Avionics Industry, Power Metallurgy
~Shehzad Habib, Purchaser, ABU DHABI, U.A.E
Ferro magnetic circuits (automotive)
~Craig Weldon, Research & Development, Chatham, Canada
Structural, piping, pressure vessel
~Technical Support/Services, Whangarei, New Zealand
Firearms, tools, fixtures, forgings
~Engineering, Design, Lake Barrington, IL
Production assembly tools (mostly)
~John C., Engineer, Canyon, TX
Steel construction, pipelines ect
~Engineering, Other, Skopje, Macedonia
Chassis, housings, structures, etc
~Alfred S, Design Engineer, Saddle Brook, NJ
Steel structure, platework, others
~Engineering, Process/Production, Indonesia
Wire welded and welded steel tube
~Engineering, Other, Monterrey, Mexico
Shafts & Transmission components
~Engineering, Design, PUNE -412105, India
Pipeline, heat recovery systems
~Technical Support/Services, Dartmouth, Canada
Laser cutting, bending, welding
~Purchasing, St-Jérome, Canada
Machining tooling and fixtures
~Purchasing, Greer, SC
Automotive, steel constructions
~Tadeusz M, Engineering Consultant, Krakow, Poland
Butt Weld Fittings and Flanges
~Richard M, Facilities Manager, Houston, TX
Heat treat trays and baskets.
~Bill W, Manufacturer, Buchanan, VA
In machining and fabrication.
~Fong Kew Hoong,Sam, Engineer, SIngapore, Singapore
Due to its Ductility Hardness
~Engineering, Process/Production, Hyderabad, Pakistan
Gears, tools, dies, trailers
~Quality Control/Assurance, Avrig, Romania
Progressive Die construction
~Engineering, Other, Caledonia, MI
Stamping - automotive parts
~Purchasing, St. Thomas, Canada
Piping and steel structures
~Guglielmo T, Process Engineer, Milan, Italy
Mostly as a ss steel forger
~Engineering, Consulting, Pune, India
Wear resistance Fasteners
~Research & Development, Medan, Indonesia
Mainly for oil industries.
~Marketing/Sales, Kuwait, Kuwait
Deep drawn metal stampings
~Ward F, Purchaser, Holland, MI
Bridge and trundle design
~Ryan Burris, Civil, Mech Engineer, Lakewood, CO
Diesel engine components
~Roger B, Engineering Consultant, Peachtree City, GA
Oil and gas applications
~Josh B, Marketing/Sales, Houston, TX
Screw machined products
~Quality Control, Roanoke, IN
Construction and repair
~Purchaser, Saint John, Canada
~Engineering, Design, Tianjin, China
Primarily as hand tools
~Student, Ephrata, WA
Sheet Metal Fabrication
~Quality Control/Assurance, Chatsworth, CA
Crane boom structure
~Anthony Housecroft, Mechanic, Wakefield, UK
Deep drawing product.
~Raanan C, Operation manager, Haifa-bay, Israel
Oil field equipment
~Industrial/Manufacturing Engineer, Pampa, TX
Reinforced concrete
~Engineering, Consulting, Haifa, Israel
Parts for car seats
~Eugene P., Sr. Specialist, Reynoldsburg, Franklin
Oilfield components
~Robert D, Marketing/Sales, Austin, TX
Part Manufacturing
~Engineering, Process/Production, Waseca, MN
Piping, Exchangers
~Quality Control/Assurance, Alvin, TX
OEM manufacturer
~Engineering, Design, Farmington Hills, MI
Subsea structure
~Terje E, Weldinginspector, NDT technikan MT-PT- UT, Kr.sand, Norway
Recycled Alloys
~Other, Akron, OH
Furnaces coils
~Carlos Matias, Technical Support, Sines, Portugal
Shaft designed
~Engineering, Design, Tel aviv, Israel
~Engineering, Process/Production, Melaka, Malaysia
Steel purlins
~Engineering, Process/Production, Colombo, Sri Lanka
Plastic molds
~Engineering, Process/Production, Hatzerim, Israel
Shafts, bolts
~Engineering, Design, Lincoln, United Kingdom
~Rok Tomažincic, Student, Ljubljana, Slovenia
~Engineering, Consulting, Caracas, Venezuela
~Quality Control/Assurance, Jamshedpur, India
~Quality Control/Assurance, Sirrach, Thailand
~Ramesh Visvanathan, Marketing/Sales, Chennai, India
~Razak, Process Engineer, Rawang, Malaysia

Please share with us any “non-standard” applications that carbon steels or alloy steels have been used for.
22 answers
For an assembly press, I used H-13 due to high stresses, thin cross sections, repeated impact loads etc. It worked well, 4140 could have been used for a much lower cost unless heat treating had warped the 4140 enough to require that the part be ground. H-13 is very stable, but very expensive.
~Steve K, Project Manager, Portland, OR
I've seen some structural steel applications being used in the residential area of construction. This has been around for larger houses in the past, however I'm seeing it even in some smaller houses, ie in the 2500 to 4000 sq ft range.
~Scott B, Senior Structural/Mechanical Designer, Aiken, SC
Trailer mounted, offloading rack extenders for expanding unloading range of structural steel pipe delivery trailer. As storage racks for offloading ramps angling towards ground or lower than trailer carriage platform levels.
~Rodney L, Marketing/Sales, Boerne, TX
Everything in our markets must surpass the life cycle of common steels, carbon or other...
~John N., Quality Assurance Manager, Welding Engineer, CWI, Warren, MI
Heavy-duty articulated couplings using special alloy steels and medical applications.
~Alan J, Engineering Consultant, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Wave Energy Technology - this I think will be much bigger than Wind in the future.
~Matt S, Project Manager, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Fuse pins, midspar fittings, spring beams, flap track units, and landing gear.
~Dan Wallem, Metallurgical Engineer, Renton, U.S.
My selection is limited to use of EN 09, EN 24, etc for gear and pinions only.
~Manufacturing, LUDHIANA, India
Cryogenic Valves at 4° Kelvin, High pressure Valve for Oil Industry
~Christian B, Strategic Purchasing Manager, Essen, Germany
We have customers anywhere from Aerospace to Orthodonics.
~Jay B, Process Engineer, Milwaukee, WI
Ultra high pressure acoustic cavitation pressure vessels.
~Project Management, Grass Valley, CA
Reactor pressure vessel or liner. Ceramic lined.
~Stan V, Quality and Regulatory, Greenville, SC
Carbon steel plates for power plant application.
~Minesh A, Engineer, Nagda, India
Aircraft brake channels for carbon brakes.
~Tibor Oravec, Engineer, North Canton, OH
Foundry/ factory premise constructions.
~Saravanan Pazhani, Purchaser, Chennai, India
Solar high concentration receivers
~Guglielmo T, Process Engineer, Milan, Italy
Interior decoration.
~Chhagan Bihany, Director of own company having a graduate mechanical engineering degree., Kolkata, India.
Traffic light poles
~S K Chimbili, Research & Development, Houston, TX
Steam cracker coils
~Carlos Matias, Technical Support, Sines, Portugal
Knives, swords, etc.
~Bert W, Custom Knife Maker, Westminster, CO
Solar power plants
~Design Engineer, Yokneam, Israel
Mild steel
~Fong Kew Hoong,Sam, Engineer, SIngapore, Singapore

Do you know of any disastrous mistakes that occurred due to the incorrect usage of carbon steels or alloy steels?
30 answers
1. Stated material properties are based on a coupon test(s) at specified locations within the form roll. These properties may not be consistent throughout the cross section, therefore machining or reshaping steel can leave you with mechanical properties lower than the design intent. 2. Although most carbon steel and many alloy steels are weldable, it pays to check with experts if the application warrants.
~Mike R, Engineer, Edmonton, Canada
We purchased 8620 material and made some pins for a customer. This material was 8620, the certs fell within parameters of 8620, but when the material was heat treated it would not hit the hardness and case depths required. Upon examination, it was discovered that we needed to control the actual range of alloying elements within the steel to enable us to reach the correct end results.
~James D, Marketing/Sales, Kaukauna, WI
Improper baking of hydrogen caused premature failure of a spring beam. Etched-out slag inclusions led to fatigue failure of a fuse pin. Improperly applied corrosion resistant coating did not protect the alloy from oxidation.
~Dan Wallem, Metallurgical Engineer, Renton, U.S.
I have not witnessed any yet, but have heard of hundreds. They are out there, if you doubt it, check with your local, trusted material testing facility. They will be able to give you the best examples. Northwest Laboratories in Seattle is good one.
~Paul V, Quality Control, Everett, WA
When a customer insisted on taking over galvanizing of a hardened 4140 steel hook, they did not shot blast before galvanizing. The part sat in the acid for too long and developed hydrogen embrittlement, resulting in failure.
~Ralph Russell, Manufacturer, Chicago, IL
Calling up a roll pin and not realising its specification allowed for both Carbon and Stainless steels - use of Carbon steel and subsequent corrosion issues resulted in recalled aerospace product from military service.
~Neil I, Quality Control, Brighton, UK
For us, material wear life cycle is important. Choosing a material that may be subject to impact and wear limits your choices. However, we have found that combination usage in design is quite relevant.
~John N., Quality Assurance Manager, Welding Engineer, CWI, Warren, MI
Early days of the golden gate bridge? Miscalculation of pipe string weight causing failure of coupling threads due to excessive weight.
~Rodney L, Marketing/Sales, Boerne, TX
Chinese material used in fabrication of 50 aircraft engine mounts; not discovered until parts were completed through powder coat. All had to be destroyed because material did not meet the AMS spec.
~Burl R., Owner, design engineer, manufacturer and marketing, Chugiak, AK
Failure to verify materials are as specified - vessel rupture, Failure to verify source - personnel death and injury. Poorly specified materials resulting in fatigue failure to temperature failure.
~Stan V, Quality and Regulatory, Greenville, SC
A steel item that shattered explosively during improper heat treatment, and only by the grace of God nobody was struck by fragments. It could have easily been a lethal incident.
~Student, Ephrata, WA
Selection of a high strength alloy whose yield and ultimate strengths were too close together for an application that needed more buffer (higher factor of safety).
~John C., Engineer, Canyon, TX
Using wrong welding procedures in fabrication with materials that require special techniques. Also, neglecting the heat treatment of some material after welding .
~Benjamin M, Design Engineer, Cairo, Egypt
When using carbon or alloy steels in brazing or welding, you need to use a filler metal with at least 2% nickel to prevent interface corrosion.
~Jay B, Process Engineer, Milwaukee, WI
Distortion of parts at heat treatment with medium carbon steel have been avoided using a higher carbon steel and a softer heat treatment.
~Richardeau P, Process Engineer, Herstal, Belgium
One small part of ASTM A216-WCB grade was used in saline water application caused erosion & corrosion & leak caused.
~Saravanan Pazhani, Purchaser, Chennai, India
Incorrect use of "hammer material"in pulverisers for crushing minerals resulted in very very low life of hammers.
~Chhagan Bihany, Director of own company having a graduate mechanical engineering degree., Kolkata, India.
Product failure due to lack of proper maintenance on Pipe Lines. Poor training and supervision in Power Plants.
~Richard M, Facilities Manager, Houston, TX
Never use stainless in chloride gas applications! Only carbon alloys should be selected.
~Christian B, Strategic Purchasing Manager, Essen, Germany
Gas cylinders explosion during test due to not qualified steel samples.
~Eng. Mahmoud Samy N., Project Manager, Cairo, EGYPT
Mix grades in the same steel classes results in mistakes in the application.
~Lopez V., Engineer Coordinator, Del Rio, TX
Superheater corrosion in refuse furnaces installed at the furnace outlet.
~Guglielmo T, Process Engineer, Milan, Italy
Counterfeit bolts caused the U.S. government to implement a fastener law.
~Roger B, Engineering Consultant, Peachtree City, GA
Material failure leading to equipment failure and loss of production.
~Project Management, Toledo, OH
Not using safety glasses and safe ways of working these steels.
~Bert W, Custom Knife Maker, Westminster, CO
Yes, several well failures in the offshore oil and gas sector.
~Josh B, Marketing/Sales, Houston, TX
Check where it is being used (corrosion).
~Alfred S, Design Engineer, Saddle Brook, NJ
Too soft of steel used and short life.
~Manufacturer, Motley, MN
Liquid metal embrittlement.
~Craig Weldon, Research & Development, Chatham, Canada
Over addition of silicon.
~Tibor Oravec, Engineer, North Canton, OH

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