Clean Steels

Clean Steels There are various definitions of clean steel. The term clean steel is also vague. Clean steels are generally those steels that have low levels of the solute elements sulfur, phosphorus, nitrogen, oxygen and hydrogen; controlled levels of the residual elements copper, lead, zinc, nickel, chromium, bismuth, tin, antimony and magnesium; and, a low level of non metallic or oxide inclusions. The requirements vary with the steel grade and its end use. Clean steels used for one application may be often not acceptable for a different use. Steels with low levels of solutes are sometimes termed as ‘high purity steels’ while steels with low percentage of tramp elements are often called ‘low residual steels’. Sometimes steels with a low frequency of product defects that can be related to the presence of oxide inclusions are called clean steels. Hence the definition of ‘clean’ is not absolute. Instead it is based upon the product formed from the casting and the in-service use or life of the product. In addition, the definition ‘clean’ is comparative since the cleanliness standard desired by the customer is continuously changing as a function of time and technological improvements. The term ‘clean steel’ is therefore continually variable depending upon the application. Effect of solute elements on steels The individual or combined effect of solute elements such as carbon (C), phosphorus (P), sulphur (S), nitrogen (N), hydrogen (H) and total oxygen (T.O.) is known to have a remarkable influence on the steel’s properties, such as tensile strength, formability, toughness, weldability, cracking resistance, corrosion resistance, and fatigue resistance etc. The extent of control of the solute elements needed in the steels depends on the performance expected from the steel. The influence of the solute elements on the properties of steels is given in...