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Engineering Steels: Overview

  • Describe what engineering steels are, what they are used for and how they are processed
  • Learn more about advanced high-strength steels
  • Select appropriate engineering steels for a variety of different market applications
  • Distinguish between black and bright bar, rod and wire and be able to interpret test certificates
  • Select the appropriate heat treatment conditions to achieve specific properties
  • Describe the role of various alloying and residual elements on the properties and microstructure of different engineering steels
  • and more


Engineering steels are essentially wrought steels designed for mechanical and allied engineering applications. These require critical and often stringent levels of elasticity, strength, ductility, toughness and fatigue resistance. In some cases, it may also require resistance to high or low temperatures, corrosive and other aggressive environments.

Applications of advanced high-strength steels, sometimes called ultra-high strength steels, are finding their way into current production vehicles all over the world because of their unique qualities that allow for lighter weight parts that are as strong or stronger than conventional steel counterparts.  This module includes a special section designed to build a better understanding of advanced high-strength steels and its properties.

There is a great variety of engineering steel types and shapes. Each is carefully tailored to meet specific user requirements, in terms of properties and performance and in some cases in order to facilitate the manufacturing and fabrication techniques. These techniques are then used to make components or parts. The composition, process route and heat treatment parameters are carefully selected in order to meet the customers’ needs.

The subtopics in this module explore a wide range of engineering steels, from plain carbon steels to high alloy, ultra high strength steels. In each case, the composition and processing methods used to ensure the steel is suitable for its intended application are examined.

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