HSLA steels contain up to 2% manganese, plus low levels of carbon (0.05% and 0.25%) and other alloys. They display good strength and high tensile strength, as well as formability.
Also known as “HSLA Steels”, the family of high strength low alloy steels offers the strength and tough corrosion resistance properties required to perform well in numerous mechanical settings. These metals typically contain small amounts of carbon yet include designated quantities of other alloys.
Engineered to achieve desired mechanical properties and/or corrosion resistance goals, these durable metals contribute to parts which perform well within mechanical assemblies. Components made from some HSLA steels also serve structural objectives. They have achieved widespread popularity as metals suitable for use in many industries.
Metallurgists reportedly conducted research to develop these types of strong steels during the early 1960s for service in the oil and gas industry. Products manufactured from these steels display a better quality of tensile strength and ductility than most products created using carbon steels. Some foundries employ hot rolling and cold rolling technologies to form HSLA steel workpieces. Manufacturers shape and weld the metal into a variety of mechanical parts.
Manufacturers have developed a number of ways to manufacture these steels in order to increase the strength of the metal. For instance, refining the grain size of the ferrite composition produces stronger HSLA steel.
Strain hardening during cold working reportedly contributes to strength by reducing the plastic deformation of materials but also increases brittleness. Metal parts manufacturers sometimes perform strain hardening of HSLA metals followed by heat treatments for this reason.
Steels with the HSLA designation contain between 0.05% and 0.25% carbon and a level of manganese reaching a maximum of 2.00%.
They sometimes also contain small quantities of specific alloys: copper, vanadium, nitrogen, nickel, titanium, molybdenum, chromium, zirconium, and niobium. The use of titanium contributes to increased steel strength, while the addition of vanadium and copper enhance tensile strength.
In general, high strength low alloy steels display a range of high tensile strengths depending upon their constituents (from 300 MPa up to 700 MPa). Sometimes foundries reportedly add additional elements to HSLA Steel in order to improve corrosion resistance.
Popular additives include phosphorous, chromium, copper, and silicon.
Over the years, manufacturers have developed at least six distinct varieties of HSLA Steels. Today these popular types of HSLA Steels often perform specific roles. A microscopic examination reveals important differences within their grain structures:
This metal contains virtually no pearlite. In addition to a low carbon content, it demonstrates both precipitation hardening and a finely grained ferrite composition.
Weathering steel possesses an enhanced capability to resist some types of weather-related corrosion, as well as improved tensile strength. Many bridge designers specify the use of this metal due to its long-lasting durability within certain climatic conditions.
Upon microscopic examination after cooling, this metal displays a very fine-grained acicular ferrite grain structure. Workpieces created from this readily welded metal enjoy properties of excellent formability coupled with strength and toughness.
This type of steel will tolerate hot rolling repeatedly. Following cooling, it displays a characteristic fine distinctive ferrite structure upon microscopic examination.
Also called “Micro-alloyed Ferrite Pearlite Steels”, these specialized HSLA steels usually include small percentages of metal alloys in their composition: titanium, niobium, and vanadium.
These metals form extremely strong yet formable workpieces. Upon microscopic examination, they reveal a ferrite grain structure containing uniformly distributed regions of high carbon martensite.
During recent decades, high strength low alloy steels have found numerous applications within a wide array of industries. For instance, these metals perform well in supplying structural support. They also withstand hot, corrosive environments, making them ideal for use in parts comprising some types of machinery and engines. The Society of Automotive Engineers (now reformed as the SAE International serving both automotive and aerospace engineers) has reportedly promulgated standards for HSLA steel for this reason.
In addition to its utility within the oil and gas industry, some popular applications for high strength low alloy steel include serving as constituents of engine parts. This family of steel also furnishes components used within farm equipment, construction equipment, and aerospace technology. Industrial machinery frequently utilizes HSLA steels. Defense contractors have likely found many applications for these tough steels, too.
The ability of HSLA steel products to provide structural support has suited these metals for use in beams, panels, bridges, and other load-bearing items. Power transmission towers and off-shore drilling rigs sometimes utilize these metals. They also serve as components within ore and railroad cars.
Today metal parts manufacturers discover a myriad of benefits from the use of this large family of steels. They offer a number of advantages. First, this steel supplies strength, making it suitable for use in a variety of structural support roles. (Some types of HSLA steel will perform better than others under certain climatic conditions.)
Second, metallurgists engineer these steels to display corrosion resistance within certain harsh environments. Enhancing this property helps extend the anticipated useful lifespan of some products. It offers cost-effective utility in extreme conditions.
Three, HSLA steels offer utility across broad temperature ranges. Metallurgists may include alloys in these materials to enhance the ability of the metal to tolerate very cold or very hot environments. This flexibility contributes to the popularity of these steels.
Fourth, this family of steels displays enhanced workability: tensile strength, formability, and weld tolerance. These characteristics permit use in many different products.
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