Carbon Steel Testing

In Mere Seconds with a Bruker XRF Steel Tester Gun!

Carbon Steel TesterCarbon Steel has carbon content of up to 2.1% by weight. Carbon is the one relevant chemical element that XRF technology is in fact unable to analyze. None the less, Bruker’s handheld XRF guns have proven extremely useful for scanning the exact non-carbon composition of the carbon steel, and also in the separation and sorting of plain-carbon steels from low alloy steels. Send Bruker Inc. a message via the form on the right to discover the practical advantages of using a Bruker portable XRF test machine for testing carbon steels.

Carbon Steel has carbon content of up to 2.1% by weight. Carbon is the one relevant chemical element that XRF technology is in fact unable to analyze. Nonetheless, Bruker’s handheld XRF guns have proven extremely useful for scanning the exact non-carbon composition of the carbon steel, and also in the separation and sorting of plain-carbon steels from low alloy steels. Send Bruker Inc. a message via the form on the right to discover the practical advantages of using a Bruker portable XRF test machine for testing carbon steels.

The carbon steels are commonly seen in the shape of affordable, high volume construction materials in a number of industries, in various process vessels and reactors, at power plants, in tubing, and in load bearings structures. They are also popular in springs, bearings, rods, and wires, and are massively consumed by auto body and ship body manufacturing. Carbon steel is also used to make cheap cutting tools.

The American Iron and Steel Institute states in its definition of carbon steel that there is no minimum content limit for combined Cr, Co, Mo, Ni, Nb, Ti, W, V or Zi, or any other element, while the Cu minimum is not more than 0.40%; or the maximum content of the following elements remains within these limits: Mg 1.65%, Si 0.60%, and Cu 0.60%. Impurities such as P or S cause undesirable effects and therefore have low maximum permitted limits in certain alloy grades. XRF-testing carbon steel with a Bruker’s analyzer gun efficiently verifies all the important non-carbon elements in steel. Message Bruker now for more information or for a prompt quote!

Testing Carbon Steels for Trace Impurities and Tramp Elements

So-called “trace impurities” and “tramp elements” in recycled carbon steel – if not eliminated or dealt with properly -- can have undesirable consequences for the quality of the new steel made from it. E.g., a trace presence of Stents to “embrittle” the steel (make it crumbly). Small elemental differences that distinguish between plain carbon steels and low alloy steels, with their different property matrices. Manganese is typically alloyed into low-carbon steels to make them better subject to hardening. By some standards, this turns plain carbon steel into low alloy steel, although the AISI / SAE definition of allows up to 1.65% manganese by weight in carbon steel.

The penalty amount limits on certain common impurities (all easily discoverable through low allow steel testing with Bruker’s handheld XRF) can be seen in this table. Contact Bruker Inc. today for more information or a prompt quote!

Impurity Amount Limits table for Carbon Steel Testing

More Information

There are a few types of carbon steel whose individual properties are largely controlled by aspects of their elemental composition.

  • Mild Steel, Low-Carbon, or Plain Carbon Steel, with the lowest carbon content of 0.05–0.25% C, is strong, tough, non-temperable. Also known as plain-carbon steel, it is inexpensive and a good low-cost option in various applications, e.g. as structural steel. It has high ductility and malleability and a low tensile strength; it is easy to col-form, and its surface can be hardened by carburizing.
  • High-Tensile, Low Alloy Steels, which are also low-carbon, but contain extra alloyants (Cro, Mo, Si, Mg, Ni, V) that boost their strength, anti-wear properties, and tensile strength. Carbon steels that are readily amenable to heat-treatment have their carbon content within 0.30–1.70% by weight.
  • Medium-Carbon Steel, 0.3–0.8% C, sports a good balance of ductility, strength, and wear resistance. Its popular applications are large parts, forging, and auto.
  • High-Carbon Steel, 0.8–2.0% C. Since strength increases with carbon content, this type of steel is very strong, often employed in springs and high-strength wires.
  • Ultra-High-Carbon Steel, between 3.25 and 4.0% C. These steels achieve great hardness via tempering and are used in domestic knives, axles and edged tools.

If you have found the above information useful, send us your query now! You may also wish to read the related article on using handheld XRF for low alloy steel testing, or explore the more general info pages on steel testing (all alloys) and stainless steel testing.

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