Metals are one of the most widely used materials on the earth and also, most extracted. You encounter metals on a regular basis. However, each metal extracted comes with different properties and thus, it is quite crucial to understand that whether you’re using the right type of metal material in the right application, such as metal fabrication. Also, it is important to determine which metal material to recycle and which one to scrap. Here, you’ll get to know about commonly used metal materials that you are sure to find in your home or around your household.

1. Stainless Steel:

The “Stainless Steel” is a generic term, which refers to a wide range of steel types. Just like other types of steel, this metal material is designed mainly from iron and carbon in the 2-step process. The addition of Cr (Chromium) and other alloying chemical elements like Ni (nickel) to form a corrosion-resistant product is what makes stainless steel quite different from its counterparts.
There are 100+ different grades of this metal material, but 304 and 316 are the most popular and widely used in many applications.

⦁ 304 Stainless steel

The 304 steel contains 15 to 20% chromium and 2 to 10.5% nickel. It is also known as austenitic stainless steel, non-magnetic and extremely ductile and tough. As compared to regular steel, it comes with high corrosion resistance and it is most commonly used due to its easiness to form into numerous shapes.

⦁ 316 Stainless steel

316 stainless steel is an ideal for welding purpose as it has lower carbon content as compared to 302 alloy to evade carbide precipitation in welding applications. Plus, a higher nickel content and molybdenum addition make this stainless steel appropriate for architectural applications.

⦁ 304 / 316 Stainless Steel:

BA Mirror effect: BA or bright Annealed stainless steel is widely used stainless steel surface.
No. 8 reflective mirror: It is one of the most reflective mirror finishes available on the market. It is also sometimes known as a non-directional mirror finish.

Usage/Purposes:

Stainless steels resistance to corrosion, low maintenance and strength make it the perfect material for a variety for applications. It is quite popular metal material for household goods, from boilers to TV sets. Plus, it is commonly used for kitchen accessories, such as microwaves, generally making up the inside panel and doors. These days, stainless steel is widely used to make furniture, which includes a table, mirror frame, chair, and much more.

Pros:

  • Highly durable metal material – enabling to cope up with wear and tear of day-to-day activities.
  • Low maintenance
  • Harden than aluminum
  • Easy to weld and quite heavier as compared to its counterparts
  • Less reactive to foods.

Cons:

  • High cost as compared to its counterparts.
  • It is not smudge-proof.
  • Non-magnetic
  • Less thermal conductivity as compared to other metal materials.

2. Aluminum

Aluminum is ductile and soft metal material that comes with a distinct very bright silver color to it. It is also 3rd most abundant element found on the planet in regards to mass. Plus, it is commonly used the material for industrial as well as non-industrial applications. The only concern with natural aluminum is that it’s extremely reactive, which means that the natural one is quite hard to find and extract.

There are a number of aluminum grades, which include:

  • Alloy 1100 – pure aluminum, ductile and soft.
  • Alloy 3003 – outstanding corrosion resistance, workability.
  • Alloy 5052 – high fatigue strength, good resistance, excellent workability.
  • Alloy 5083- high resistance, retains outstanding strength.

Usage/Purposes

Aluminum is the most commonly used material in consumer goods, which include smartphones, laptops, tablets, TV’s. Its appearance makes the latest tech gadgets look and feel sophisticated and sleek. Plus, the foil you used in your kitchen is made of aluminum and frying pans and pots too. Also, it is used in wiring throughout the outdoor and indoor furniture, window frames, and door knobs.

Pros:

  • Corrosion-resistant
  • Colorable – the material can be colored by simply anodization.
  • Lightweight – it weights about a 3rd of what stainless steel does.
  • Strong – highest strength-to-weight ratio.
  • Recyclable – 100% Recyclable and no loss of its natural characteristics.

Cons:

  • Expensive as compared to stainless steel.
  • Susceptible to serious spring back
  • Requires special techniques for welding purpose.
  • Reactive to foods, resulting in changing taste and color.

3. Mild Steel

Mild Steel is a type of carbon steel having a low amount of carbon and that’s why it is also known as low-carbon steel and plain-carbon steel. At present, it is one of the most common types of steel because of its low price while it offers material characteristics that are acceptable for various applications.
Even though ranges vary as per the source, the amount of carbon generally found in this type of carbon steel by weight is about 0.05% to 0.25%. On the other hand, higher carbon steels are generally found with carbon content approximately from 0.03% to 2.0%. If there is an addition of any more carbon content, then the steel would be considered as cast iron. Mild steel isn’t alloy steel and thus, it doesn’t contain great content of other elements apart from iron. Therefore, you’ll not find much quantity of molybdenum, chromium or other alloying elements.
As its carbon and other alloying content are comparatively low and thus, there are numerous properties it has that make it different from higher carbon and other alloy steels.

Different characteristics:

  • The use of mild steel is very vast because of the properties or characteristics it has –
  • Mild steel is a good conductor of electricity and that’s why it is used in the welding process.
  • The steel is quite strong and comes with high tensile strength because of the low carbon content it contains.
  • As compared to other carbon steels, it is malleable.
  • It comes with a density of .284 pounds/cubic inch.

The common type of mild steel is 1018 and it contains roughly 0.6% to 0.9% manganese, about 0.4% phosphorus, and about .05% sulfur.

Usage/Purposes:

Mild steel is used in a wide range of applications. Due to its malleability properties, it is used in constructing materials such as pipelines. Also, it is used to make domestic cookware. Many automobile manufacturers use mild steel to make the parts or even the body of the vehicle. Due to its very low price, it is also used to make furniture.

Pros:

  • It is affordable as compared to other types of steel.
  • High ferrite and iron content make it magnetic.
  • It is ductile, which make it easy to bend into various shapes.

Cons:

  • It can’t be heat treated as heat treatment generally affects steep carbon content.
  • Mild steel easily fails under high-stress applications.

4. Electro-Galvanized Steel

Electro-Galvanized Steel is produced via an electrochemical procedure that includes the steel being immersed in a zinc bath. Once the process is done, the end material is corrosion resistant, has outstanding formability, weldability, and printability. All these features make this type of steel a high-quality product available in the market.

Different characteristics and grades:

Electro-Galvanized Steel offers a more vibrant look or appearance along with better color consistency. Plus, it is much thinner as compared to others yet it offers better uniform protective coating. Its common grades include

  • G3313
  • SECC
  • E16

Usage/Purposes:

This commonly used steel is mainly used for interior application because of its superior performance under unexposed environments. Electro-Galvanized Steel comes with a uniform coating that is perfect for electrical appliances. Its common applications include door frames, washing machines, furniture, commercial freezers and refrigerators, switchboards, etc.

Pros:

  • Its thickness control level is quite high, which offers impressively precise results.
  • It is a perfect steel to make smaller components.
  • The electro-galvanized finishing product is always more vibrant and shiner as compared to its counterparts.

Cons:

  • This type of steel fails to offer the same level of protection or doesn’t last so long.
  • If the procedure is done incorrectly, then the zinc has chances of chipping of peeling off.

Standard dimension of Electro-Galvanized Steel

  • Sheet: length – 6.00”-144”, thickness: .015-.135
  • Coil: thickness: .010-.250

5. Hollow section square bar

A Hollow section square bar or also known as the hollow structural section is a type of metal material that comes with a hollow cross-section. They can be square, rectangular, and circular sections. Besides these shapes, elliptical shapes are available too.  Square and rectangular HSS are also known as box section or tube steel. The hollow structural section corners are heavily rounded with a radius roughly twice the thickness of the wall.  A hollow structural section was widely available in the form of mild steel, for instance, A500 grade B. At present, it is available in A500 grade C. There are also other grades of this metal material, such as

  • A847 (weathering steel)
  • A1065 ( made via SAW process)
  • A1085 (tighter tolerances and higher strength as compared to A500).

Uses/Purposes

Hollow structural sections, especially rectangular ones are widely and commonly used for welding purpose for steel frames. Plus, it is used in a wide range of applications, which include furniture industries, cycle parts, automobile, domestic applications, fencing, etc.

Pros

  • With compressive strength and high tensional rigidity, these metal materials are much more efficient than its counterparts.
  • The outstanding material distribution around the axis of the rectangular and square hollow section enables for significant strength qualities and also, provides decisive advantages.
  • The uniform and smooth sections profile reduces corrosion.

Cons:

  • There are available in limited sizes in some regions.
  • Their use is also restricted to lightly loaded structures.

That’s all on about most commonly used metal materials in a wide range of applications. The guide is also quite helpful when it comes to metal crafts.

Round Hollow Section

Circular hollow sections are popular as a round hollow section or round steel tubes and they are a common type of steel used in a wide range of formats. The sections of these steels are rolled from slit coil or steel sheet. The steel coil slit strip goes through sizing and forming section in a basic cold forming steel mill. Further, the mill contains many passes through which this sheet is formed gradually, and every pass bends the sheet more and modifying the radio with every pass. This process continues until both the ends are pressed together and welded inline.

Different characteristics and grades

The thickness of the round hollow section varies from two mm to ten mm, but it mostly depends on what application the tubes you’re going to service. The hollow section of round steel feature a high strength to weight ratio and the round hollow sections are best for welding and they are corrosion resistance. Plus, they are easily bendable, resulting in the construction and shaping of aesthetically appealing structures without any compromising on durability and strength.
Its common grade is A500 gradeB and also, available in –

  •  A500 grade C
  • A847
  • A1065
  • A1085

Usage/purposes

Round hollow section is commonly and widely used for welding purposes. Besides welding, it also used in various applications, such as domestic applications, furniture, vehicle parts, and construction parts such as poles, towers, etc.

Pros

  • Outstanding compression and provide support for superior torsional resistance.
  • It occupies less surface area as compared to open sections.
  • Its uniform shape makes it easy in metal fabrication and appropriate for architecturally exposed applications.

Cons

  • The use is limited to the only lightly loaded structure.
  • Available in one size only i.e. round.
Standard dimension of Round Hollow Section
  • Outside diameter: 21.3 mm
  • Thickness: 2.5 mm