Está en la página 1de 18

CHAPARRAL STEEL

300 Ward Road Midlothian, Texas 76065-9651 972.775.8241 www.txi.com

EFFECTS OF THE ELEMENTS


ON STEEL PROPERTIES:

A SUMMARY

Dick Jaffre
VP Raw Materials
TXI Chaparral Steel
300 Ward Road
Midlothian, TX 76065
Tel.: 214-779-1080
Fax: 214-779-1086
djaffre@txi.com

Elements & Steel Properties


R.T. Jaffre

Page 1 of 18

EFFECTS OF ELEMENTS ON STEEL PROPERTIES


Introduction
This summary vastly simplifies complex subjects about which volumes have been written. It is hoped
that this summary may prove useful as a "reminder" of metallurgical issues. Its inherent
simplifications demand that it not be relied on as a source document for decision-making. A limited
bibliography is attached for readers desiring to explore in greater depth the subject of the effect of
alloying elements on steel properties. Included in the bibliography is a web link to a glossary of steel
terms and concepts.
In this summary the following definitions are used:
PRIMARY ALLOYING ELEMENTS: In the production of Carbon Steels, elements that are added to
refined molten steel in the ladle ( or other refining vessel ) in order to achieve desired metallurgical
properties. The Primary Alloying Elements are: C, Mn, and Si.
SECONDARY ALLOYING ELEMENTS: Added to refined molten steel in the ladle ( or other refining
vessel ) along with Primary Alloying Elements to enhance properties & performance. Secondary
Alloying Elements include:
Cu, Ni, Cr, Mo, Al, V, Nb, B, Co, and W
RESIDUAL ELEMENTS: A Residual Element is one that reports to the molten bath, and for which
no minimum content is specified for the grade to be produced. A maximum content may or may not
be required by the grade specification. Whether covered by grade specifications or not, residuals may
affect steel properties and performance for better or worse.
In Carbon Steelmaking, the term "Residual Elements" usually refers to Cu, Ni, Cr, and Mo ( and may
include Co and W if certain highly alloyed specialty steels are included in a furnace charge )
TRAMP ELEMENTS: There is no universally accepted distinction between "Residual Elements" vs.
"Tramp Elements". The two phrases are frequently used interchangeably.
In this Summary, the label Tramp Elements will be applied to certain elements that serve no useful
purpose in the furnace charge. Tramp Elements may report to the molten bath, and / or to the slag,
and / or to the furnace atmosphere. Tramp Elements that report to the bath, if present in sufficient
amounts, almost always have adverse effects on steel properties, ease and cost of steel production,
and / or have undesirable environmental characteristics.
The "Tramp Elements" are principally:

S, P, Pb, Sn, Sb, Zn, Cd, and Hg.

Steelmaking raw materials, including items of Ferrous Scrap, may contribute "Residual Elements" and
Tramp Elements to a furnace charge in two ways:
Endogenously:
Already present as alloy constituents in scrapped steel items ( or other
steel-making raw materials ), whether their presences were intentional or unintentional. Such
elements or the substances that contain them are almost never removable from the raw material
by mechanical means.
Exogenously:
Present as items or substances, or contained in items or substances,
that coat, or are attached to, or otherwise accompany materials that are placed in a furnace
charge. Usually removable from the raw material by mechanical means ( but not necessarily
economically ).

Elements & Steel Properties


R.T. Jaffre

Page 2 of 18

Discussion
We often hear that control of Residual Element content in commercial scrap is essential to high quality
steelmaking in an electric furnace. This claim is based upon metallurgical considerations that
originate either from difficulties experienced in fabrication, both by steelmakers and their customers,
or the negative effect of high residuals on properties or performance of finished products.
The reality is that Residuals can be useful, and what is really going on is a tug of war, where
steelmakers and their customers struggle with trade-offs among strength, ductility, and other
properties, that occur as Residual levels rise.
Carbon Steel is the number one engineering material because of its low relative cost and adaptability
to a multitude of applications. The understanding of ferrous metallurgy has allowed engineers and
designers to make changes to basic Carbon Steel chemical compositions, and achieve enhanced
properties and performance. The tailoring of chemical composition has advanced with research and
development into the effects of alloying on characteristics such as strength, toughness, wear
resistance, corrosion resistance, and other properties. The goal is to produce components that are
safer, last longer, that lower operating and maintenance costs, weigh less, and pose fewer fabrication
difficulties. Frequently, residuals that appear upon meltdown are useful alloying elements, and may
reduce the amounts of expensive primary materials and Ferroalloys that must be added to meet
chemical specifications.
It is our observation that the real reasons for insistence on Low Residual Carbon Steel appear to stem
from
1. A reluctance to adapt metalworking and fabricating practices. A customer who has traditionally
purchased blast furnace based steel products may be accustomed to receiving Low Residual steel,
for use in processing or fabrication lines geared to Carbon steels that exhibit little variation
metallurgically due to Residuals. Such a customers specifications may date back 30 years, when
blast furnace based steel products dominated the market.
2. A reluctance to carry multiple inventories. It is my impression that Service Centers typically
want one size fits all steel products. Low residual coils usually fit more applications than coils
with higher residual levels.
The principles of alloy substitution can frequently be used to offset negative effects of Residual
Elements if an understanding is reached between the steel consumer and supplier that existing
specifications need not be inflexible. In our experience, in most cases involving bar product
applications, a suitable higher residual Carbon Steel, can, in fact, be substituted.
Of course, there will always exist applications for which there will be no substitute for Low Residual
steels ( primarily steels to be severely cold worked ).
In short, the view that higher residual steels are lower quality or inferior is inappropriate. The correct
application and use of higher residual steels can result in economic and superior materials.
Before proceeding to the Element-by-Element discussions, it may be useful to summarize certain
common quality categories of Carbon and Low Alloy steels, and their corresponding ranges of
chemical composition.

Elements & Steel Properties


R.T. Jaffre

Page 3 of 18

Table 1
For convenience sake, and risking over-simplification, Carbon and Low Alloy steel
products may be grouped and categorized as follows

Table 1
Structural & Engineering Steels

PRODUCT
GROUPINGS

QUALITY
CATEGORIES

PRINCIPAL
PROPERTIES
DESiRED

Key:
SQ

Commercial & Drawing Quality

Structurals & Most "Long


Products", Including Bars

Most Flat ( Sheet ) Products

Includes HR Plate & Sheet


& Tubular Products

Plus Cold Drawn Bar, Rod, Wire,


& Tubular Products

SQ, MBQ, & SBQ Steels;


Includes HSLA, DG & API
Quality Steels

CQ, DQ, DDQ, EDDQ Steels;


Includes DG & DGIF Steels

Mechanical Strength
Properties ( 1 )

Ductility / Formability

Structural Steel: Finished


Product properties to be
achieved primarily in the
"Hot Worked" Condition ( 2 )

Mechanical strength achievable


primarily by Cold Forming
( stretching / deforming /
bending at ambient
temperatures ) ( 3 )

"Engineering" Steels:
Physical properties may
usually be "tailored" by
varying chemical composition
and heat treatment

High Surface Quality &


"Coatability"

( 1 ) Mechanical Strength
Properties Include:

( 2 ) "Hot Worked" includes:

Structural Quality

Yield Strength

Hot Rolling

MBQ

Merchant Bar Quality

Ultimate Tensile Strength

Forging

SBQ

Special Bar Quality

Impact Toughness

HSLA

High Strength, Low Alloy

High Temperature Strength

( 3 ) "Cold Forming" includes:

CQ

Commercial Quality

Low Temperature Strength

Cold Rolling ( Sheet )

DQ

Drawing Quality

Hardness

Deep Drawing ( Sheet )

DDQ
EDDQ
DG
DGIF
API

Deep Drawing Quality

Stamping ( Sheet )

Extra Deep Drawing Quality

Cold Drawing ( Wire )

Degassed
Degassed, Interstitial Free
American Petroleum Institute

Elements & Steel Properties


R.T. Jaffre

Page 4 of 18

Table 2
Quality categories of Carbon and Low Alloy STRUCTURAL AND ENGINEERING steels
Vs. TYPICAL chemical composition ranges are presented in Table 2:

Table 2
QUALITY CATEGORY
Vs TYPICAL
CHEMICAL
COMPOSITION

SQ, MBQ, & SBQ Steels;


Includes HSLA, DG & API Quality Steels
STRUCTURAL STEELS

ENGINEERING STEELS

C
Mn
Si
S
P
Cu
Ni
Cr
Mo
V
Nb
Al ( Fine Grain steels )
Sn
B

0.05 % - 0.50 %

0.06 % - 0.90 %

0.50 % - 1.5 %

0.25 % - 2.0 %

0.10 % - 0.40 %

Usually 0.20 % - 0.35 %

Usually .04 % Max

Usually .02 % Max

Usually .02 % Max

Usually .015 % Max

Usually 0.35 % Max

0.12 % Max - 0.30 % Max

Usually 0.25 % Max

0.12 % Max - 3.0 %

Usually 0.25 % Max

0.12 % Max - 1.50 %

Usually 0.02 % Max

0.03 % Max - 0.30 %

n / a - 0.025 % Addition

n / a - 0.10 % Addition

n / a - 0.015 % Addition

n / a - 0.050 % Addition

n/a

0.020 % - 0.040 %

Usually 0.01 % Max

Usually 0.01 % Max

Usually 0.0005 % Max

0.0005 % Max - 0.003 % Addition

Cu + Ni + Cr + Mo + 10*Sn

Usually 0.7 % Max

Usually 0.35 % Max

Al, Pb, Sb, Zn, Cd, Co, W

Usually 0.01 % Max EACH

0.005 % Max - 0.01 % Max EACH

Key:
SQ
MBQ
SBQ
HSLA
CQ
DQ
DDQ
EDDQ
DG
DGIF
API

Structural Quality
n / a = "not applicable"
Merchant Bar Quality
Special Bar Quality
High Strength, Low Alloy
Commercial Quality
Drawing Quality
Deep Drawing Quality
Extra Deep Drawing Quality
Degassed
Degassed, Interstitial Free
American Petroleum Institute

Elements & Steel Properties


R.T. Jaffre

Page 5 of 18

Table 3
Quality categories of Carbon COMMERCIAL QUALITY and DRAWING QUALITY steels Vs.
TYPICAL chemical composition ranges are presented in Table 3:

Table 3
QUALITY CATEGORY
Vs TYPICAL
CHEMICAL
COMPOSITION

CQ, DQ, DDQ, EDDQ Steels;


Includes DG & DGIF Steels
COMMERCIAL QUALITY

DRAWING QUALITIES

< 0.1 %

0.005 % Max - .08 % Max

0.25 % - 1.0 %

0.15 % Max - .25 % Max

0.030 % Max

0.01 % Max - .03 % Max

Usually .03 % Max

Usually .0015 % Max

Usually .03 % Max

Usually .0015 % Max

Usually 0.06 % Max

Usually 0.01 % Max

Usually 0.06 % Max

Usually 0.01 % Max

Usually 0.06 % Max

Usually 0.01 % Max

Usually 0.005 % Max

Usually 0.005 % Max

Usually 0.005 % Max

Usually 0.005 % Max

Usually 0.005 % Max

Usually 0.005 % Max

0.020 % - 0.045 %

0.020 % - 0.045 %

Usually 0.01 % Max

Usually 0.01 % Max

Usually 0.0005 % Max

Usually 0.0005 % Max

Cu + Ni + Cr + Mo + 10*Sn

Usually 0.12 % Max

Usually 0.06 % Max

Al, Pb, Sb, Zn, Cd, Co, W

0.005 % Max - 0.01 % Max


EACH

0.005 % Max - 0.01 % Max


EACH

C
Mn
Si
S
P
Cu
Ni
Cr
Mo
V
Nb
Al Killed
Sn
B

Key:
SQ
MBQ
SBQ
HSLA
CQ
DQ
DDQ
EDDQ
DG
DGIF
API

Structural Quality
n / a = "not applicable"
Merchant Bar Quality
Special Bar Quality
High Strength, Low Alloy
Commercial Quality
Drawing Quality
Deep Drawing Quality
Extra Deep Drawing Quality
Degassed
Degassed, Interstitial Free
American Petroleum Institute

Elements & Steel Properties


R.T. Jaffre

Page 6 of 18

ELEMENT-BY-ELEMENT SUMMARY OF EFFECTS ON STEEL PROPERTIES


Primary Alloying Elements

( Carbon )

The principal element responsible for hardness in steel, due to formation of Fe 3C upon
cooling through the Transformation Temperature, when Gamma Iron ( Austenite )
decomposes into Alpha Iron ( Ferrite ) + Fe 3C ( Iron Carbide ).
Increases tensile strength in steels. Ductility generally decreases as C increases, but in
most cases this effect can be offset with proper heat treatment.
Weldability decreases as C increases. Excess oxygen usage may be required to remove
excess C ( takes furnace time ). When C added to an oxidizing slag, causes slag to foam,
like froth on beer. The insulating effect of a "foamy slag" reduces heat loss in the furnace,
prolongs electrode life, and reduces refractory wear.
Certain applications specify a required Carbon Equivalent content in order to achieve
desired properties. Example of a Carbon Equivalent calculation:
Carbon Equivalent = % C + 0.25 * % Mn + % V + % Nb

Mn

( Manganese )

Si

The formation in steel microstructures of Carbide compounds, especially Iron Carbide


( Fe3C ), is a key to steels superior metallurgical performance. Mn acts as a Carbide
Stabilizer. Steels with Mn contents as low as 0.3%may insure that Fe 3C won't degrade to
Fe + Graphite under many heat treat conditions; as little as 0.3% Mn will offset the
tendency of Si to promote graphitization, even when Si contents are as high as 2 %.
When S is present in steel, Mn may help prevent Hot Shortness ( tearing during hot
rolling or forging ). In the absence of Mn, S may combine with Fe to form FeS, which
appears in the steel microstructure as low melting point, brittle inclusions that weaken the
steel. When Mn is present in steels that contain S, MnS is formed instead FeS. MnS
appears in solidified steels as randomly distributed globules which are soft enough to
deform during hot working, and may form elongated stringers which are frequently not
harmful. If the Mn:S ratio is greater than 8:1, hot shortness due to FeS formation will
generally not occur.
In addition, Mn may be used to improve hardenablilty ("through hardening"), toughness &
tensile strength, but may decrease ductility & weldability.

( Silicon )

During the O2 Blow phase of steel melting production, Si is readily burned to form Si0 2.
The oxidation of Si is exothermic, and while the burning of Si represents a yield loss,
there may benefit in that the heat produced may help "melt in" faster.
SiO2 promotes fast slag formation by lowering melting point of CaO ( Lime ). However, an
appropriate ratio of CaO to SiO 2 ( about 2.5 to 1 ) must be maintained in order to assure that
the refining capability of the slag ( to remove S and P from molten steel bath ) is not
compromised, and to not shorten furnace refractory life. In short, excessive SiO 2 may
unnecessarily increase CaO consumption, and waste energy and material.
Si is an important, but not exceptionally strong deoxidizer. After the refining step in the
furnace is complete, but before continuous casting may begin, excess O 2 must be
removed, which is accomplished by adding deoxidizers to the molten steel. Elements used
for deoxidation purposes include primarily Si and Al, but may also include Ca and Ti. Si is
the primary deoxidizer used in the production of continuously cast billets for bar and
structural applications.
Si is not a grain refiner.
Elements & Steel Properties
Page 7 of 18
R.T. Jaffre

Si can improve steel tensile strength, but may adversely affect machinability ( due to
formation of silicate inclusions ).
Si is the principal alloying element in electrical steels used in transformers, and electric
motor laminations, generators & relays ( Si increases permeability, raises electrical
resistivity and reduces hysteresis loss ).
Si promotes graphitization, i.e., decomposition of Iron Carbide ( Fe 3C ) into metallic Fe and
graphite.

Secondary Alloying Elements

Cu

( Copper )

Ni

( Nickel )

Cr

Cu is completely soluble in molten steel, and won't form oxides, carbides or sulfides in
steel. Thus the Cu content of molten steel can only be lowered economically by dilution.
Can cause hot shortness ( tearing during hot working, including forging, at seemingly low
concentrations, i.e. over 0.2 % Cu ). Even if hot shortness does not occur, Cu can result in
poor surface quality.
The risk of hot shortness increases with increasing Sn and / or C contents, hot work
furnace preheat time and temperature, and when the heating is done in an oxidizing
atmosphere. The tendency to cause hot shortness may be somewhat offset by Ni.
When present in solid solution, Cu "stiffens" Ferrite and decreases ductility.
Can be used to increases atmospheric corrosion resistance.
Can inhibit acid solution pickling by increasing scale adhesion.

Improves hardenability.
When present in solid solution, Ni "stiffens" Ferrite and decreases ductility.
Reduces distortion in heat treating. Permits use of milder quenching media.
Permits ability to achieve strength & toughness levels at lower carbon contents.
Improves weldability, plasticity & fatique properties.
Improves toughness, especially at low temperatures.
Improves ability to case harden.
Improves corrosion resistance.
Like Cu, Ni cannot be removed from molten steel. Ni content can only be lowered by
dilution.
Ni is an Austenite stabilizer in Stainless Steels.

( Chromium )

A strong carbide former, Cr can improve wear resistance and somewhat increase resistance
to softening during tempering.
When present in solid solution, Cr "stiffens" Ferrite and decreases ductility.
Improves hardenability depth. Promotes the response of steel containing Cr the effects of
carburzing heat treatment. In combination with even very low P, Sn, As or Sb contents,
Chromium and Ni-Cr alloy steels are particularly susceptible to "temper embrittlement"
(loss of ductility when tempering or slow
cooling in the range 700-1100 F).
When Cr > 4%, corrosion resistance greatly improves ( Responsible for corrosion resistance
in Stainless Steels ).
Not readily oxidized from bath; requires high temperatures, increased heat time and slag
volume.

Elements & Steel Properties


R.T. Jaffre

Page 8 of 18

Mo

( Molybdenum )

Also called Columbium

An effective grain refiner ( i.e., restricts Austenitic grain growth ).


Strong carbide former.
Improves yield strength, tensile strength and hot hardness.
Strongly increases resistance to softening during tempering.
Ties up Nitrogen to inhibit strain ageing.
Expensive.

( Aluminum )

An effective grain refiner ( i.e., restricts Austenitic grain growth ).


Strong carbide and nitride former ( improves abrasion resistance ).
Improves yield strength, toughness and hot hardness.
Strongly increases resistance to softening during tempering.
Ties up Nitrogen to inhibit strain ageing.
Expensive.

( Niobium )

Al

A strong Carbide former. Mo has a high effect on hardenability.


When present in solid solution, Mo "stiffens" Ferrite and decreases ductility.
Improves control of heat treatment by inhibiting formation of certain microstructures
( e.g., Pearlite ).
Can improves high temperature corrosion resistance.
Can improve toughness & fatique properties.
Not readily oxidizable ( removable ) from liquid steel.
Can inhibit acid solution pickling.
Expensive.

( Vanadium )

Nb

"Hexavalent" Cr in baghouse dust contributes to classification of baghouse dust as


hazardous waste.

A powerful deoxidizer and nitride former. In small amounts, can serve as a powerful,
inexpensive grain refiner ( i.e., restricts Austenitic grain growth ).
Can improve toughness, especially at low temperatures.
Added to Nitriding steels to promote high surface hardness & wear resistance.
Difficult to use in continuous billet casting ( due to precipitation of Al 2O3 particles that can
clog the tundish nozzles ).

( Boron )

Strongly increases hardenability, by suppressing Ferrite precipitation during transformation


from Austenite during heat treatment.
Effective in very small amounts ( less than .003% B ).
Highly reactive with Oxygen and Nitrogen; difficult to use in EAF / CC practice vs. BOF
billet steel production due to generally higher Oxygen and Nitrogen levels in EAF liquid
steels.

Elements & Steel Properties


R.T. Jaffre

Page 9 of 18

Co

( Cobalt )

Like Cu, a Ferrite "stiffener" ( by means of solid solution strengthening ), an effect that
persists at high tempertures ( i.e., increases hot hardness ).
Like Ni, cannot remove Co from molten steel.
Can find radioactive Co isotopes in certain scrap.
If radioactive Co melted into bath, steelmaker has BIG PROBLEMS.
VERY EXPENSIVE

( Tungsten )

Forms extremely hard, stable carbides. Used almost exclusively in High Speed and other
tool steels (requiring wear resistance and high hot hardness).
VERY EXPENSIVE Used in the manufacture of High Speed Tool Steel, but otherwise
almost never used due to extremely high cost.

Tramp Elements

( Sulfur )

As an addition to molten steel, Sulfurs only useful role is to improve machinability in


product applications where tensile strength and other properties are not as critical. When
added to improve machinability, Sulfur appears in the solidified steel as FeS and other
Sulfide inclusions that act as chip breakers during machining. Unless added for
machinability, S is considered to be an impurity.
Sulfur decreases impact strength, transverse ductility, and weldability, and is therefore
highly undesirable in applications where these properties are important, e.g. arctic grade
line pipe, ship plate.
Sulfur is detrimental to surface quality, and may lead to Hot Shortness in low Mn steels
( due to FeS inclusions ).
In EAF and BOF, Sulfur is only removable using a Basic slag practice at high temperatures
( A Carbon boil is needed to promote metal / slag contact ). The lowest S levels are
achieved via addition of CaC2, CaSi, and / or a MgO-CaO mixture to the BOF ladle, EAF
ladle, or AOD vessel, and subsequently stirred via gas injection to insure maximum metal /
slag contact.

(Phosphorous )

Can improve hardenability & corrosion resistance, and may be used to improve the
machinability of resulfurized steels. HOWEVER, usually is considered an impurity, because
Phosphorous drastically decreases plasticity, ductility and impact strength.
Normally, the steelmaker aims to refine out Sulfur & Phosphorous. Phosphorous
oxidizes during meltdown, and the oxide dissolves in the slag. The slag must be removed
before the heat is blocked, or the bath gets too hot. ( Note: To "block" means to add a
deoxidant that stops the Carbon Boil, i.e., the process of decarburizing the bath through
the formation of CO gas ). A blocking agent ( Al, FeSi, SiMn ) would reduce P 2O5 , and
cause the P to revert to bath. Similarly, at high temperatures, even Fe will reduce P 2O5, and
cause P to revert to bath. Excess P contained in the furnace charge adds heat time,
increases Lime consumption, slag volume, and energy consumption, and lowers furnace
yield.

Elements & Steel Properties


R.T. Jaffre

Page 10 of 18

Sn

( Tin )

Pb

( Lead )

Zn

Used to coat steels; not an alloying element in steel.


Virtually unlimited solubility in molten steel, but very limited solubility in solid steel.
Not oxidizable. In molten steel, Sn content can be lowered only by dilution.
Upon solidification, segregates out at grain boundaries and on surfaces, and can result in
hot shortness ( tearing during hot working ) and surface defects.
In low Carbon steels, can cause embrittlement of grain boundaries during annealing.
Decreases the solid solubility of Cu in steel; the effect of .01 % Sn is about same as .10 %
Cu. This synergy between Cu and Sn increases the risk of hot shortness ( tearing during
hot working ), a risk that is further amplified as the Carbon content increases.
Very undesirable contaminant, because adversely affects many steel properties.

Very limited solubility in steel. At steelmaking temperatures, Pb and PbO in coating


substances on steel scrap usually vaporize ( Metallic Pb is oxidized to PbO and other Pb
compounds, once exposed to air ). PbO and the other Pb compounds are carried away in
the furnace exhaust and appear in baghouse dust. ( Pb is a major reason why baghouse
dust is classified as a hazardous waste ).
However, if metallic Pb is present in a furnace charge in sufficient quantity, the Pb, once
molten, can form droplets that will sink to the bottom of the bath and penetrate the
refractory brick furnace lining, thereby reducing brick life. If sufficient brick damage
occurs, molten steel can break through the furnace lining and spill out. In addition to
possible danger to employees and expensive damage to equipment, the furnace must be
shut down and repairs made to the refractory lining.
The solubility of Pb in solid steel is less than in molten steel. Pb is ejected from
solidifying steel, and result in poor surface quality and / or defects that may result in Hot
Shortness
( edge & surface tearing during hot working ).
Other than its use as a coating, or as a constituent of substances used to coat steel
products for atmospheric corrosion protection, Pbs only useful role in steelmaking is to
improve machinability in product applications where tensile strength and other properties
are not as critical. When used, Pb is added in combination with S & P to the ingot or
continuous caster mold pouring stream. The Pb appears in the solidified steel as
inclusions that act as chip breakers during machining. Unless added for machinability,
Pb is considered to be an impurity. HOWEVER, USE OF Pb TO IMPROVE MACHINABILITY
AND FOR ANY OTHER STEELMAKING PURPOSE OR APPLICATION IS RAPIDLY
DISAPPEARING WORLD-WIDE DUE TO ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS.

( Zinc )

Virtually insoluble in steel. Largely vaporizes at steelmaking temperatures, forming ZnO,


which is carried away in the furnace exhaust and appears in baghouse dust. However, if
enough Zn is present in a furnace charge, not all may be vaporized and some may "tag
along" with the poured out molten steel. Once continuous casting begins, Zn can separate
from the steel and become deposited on the interior surfaces of the continuous casting
molds, thereby adversely affecting the heat transfer characteristics of the molds. If the rate
of heat extraction is sufficiently affected, the skin of a solidifying steel strand can break
open, spilling molten steel onto the continuous casting equipment. In addition to
interrupting production, equipment repair may be very expensive, and may include having
to remove and recondition the continuous casting molds, if possible.
Zn may produce or contribute to Hot Shortness
( edge & surface tearing during hot
working ).
Zn is the principal constituent in coatings deposited by Galvanizing processes.
Elements & Steel Properties
Page 11 of 18
R.T. Jaffre

Sb

( Antimony )

Cd

( Cadmium )

Hg

Not an alloying element in steel.


Sb is alloying element in Lead ( Pb ), primarily a hardener
Detection of Sb in steel or steel emissions is an indicator that Lead storage batteries or
components thereof are finding their way into the furnace charge.
Also used in solders and semi-conductors.
As with Pb and Cr, contibutes to classification of baghouse dust as hazardous waste.

Not an alloying element in steel. Steel may be coated by electroplating Cd on steel surfaces
to provide corrosion protection. Also used for pre-plating to be followed by Ni plating.
Can occur in galvanized coatings.
Used in Ni-Cd batteries
Used in paint pigments.
As with Pb and Cr, contibutes to classification of baghouse dust as hazardous waste.

( Mercury )

Not useful in Ferrous metallurgy. If present in a furnace charge, will vaporize at


steelmaking temperatures, and be carried away in the furnace exhaust. Hg has become a
significant environmental concern because it accumulates in living tissue. The principal
sources of Hg in an EAF furnace charge are electrical switches in automotive, appliance and
other manufacturing equipment that has been scrapped.

Elements & Steel Properties


R.T. Jaffre

Page 12 of 18

The above discussions are summarized in very condensed terms in Table 4 below:

Elements & Steel Properties


R.T. Jaffre

Page 13 of 18

Table 5 below summarizes the extent to which Primary and Secondary alloying
elements may be practically removed or controlled in Basic ( Vs. Acid ) EAF
steelmaking practice:

Table 5

REMOVING / CONTROLLING ALLOYING ELEMENTS


Primary Alloying
Element

In the production of Carbon Steels, elements that may be added to refined molten steel in order to achieve desired
metallurgical properties.

Secondary Alloying
Element

Added to refined molten steel in ladle along with Primary Alloying Elements to enhance properties / performance

Added to Enhance:

Element

Mn

Si

Primary Alloying

Secondary Alloying
Air Emission Concern

1
2
3
4

Hardenability

Strength / Corrosion Resistance

Grain Refinement

Hot Hardness

Cu

Ni

Cr

Mo

Al

Nb

Co

2
4

Usually EFFICIENTLY removable or controllable with melting furnace practice


( due to participation in oxidation / reduction reactions at steel-making temperatures )
INEFFICIENTLY removable or controllable with melting furnace practice;
Best control method: Control amount in Furnace Charge
Once present in molten steel, can't be removed. "Dilution is the only solution";
Best control method: Control amount in Furnace Charge
Air Emission Concern: Becomes gasified ( at least in part ) at steelmaking temperatures and emitted
from furnace. May reappear in oxidized compound form in Stack Emissions & Baghouse Dust

As stated earlier, the label Tramp Elements has been applied to certain elements that
serve no useful purpose in the furnace charge. Tramp Elements may report to the
Elements & Steel Properties
R.T. Jaffre

Page 14 of 18

molten bath, and / or to the slag, and / or to the furnace atmosphere. Tramp
Elements that report to the bath, if present in sufficient amounts, almost always have
adverse effects on steel properties, ease and cost of steel production, and / or have
undesirable environmental characteristics.
Table 6 below summarizes the extent to which the TRAMP elements may be practically
removed or controlled in Basic ( Vs. Acid ) EAF steelmaking practice:

Table 6
TRAMP ELEMENTS:

Removing / Controlling / Consequences

Elements that serve no


useful purpose in the
furnace charge
Risk Steel Mfg. Quality Problems

Sometimes added back to


molten steel before casting in
order to improve machinability

Pb

Sn

Sb

Zn

Cd

1
4

1
4

2
4
5
6

3
4

3
4

2
4
5

Risk Equipment Damage / Contamination


Air Emission Concern

1
2
3
4
5
6

Not added back to refined molten steel

Hg

Unless amounts in furnace charge are "excessive", Sulfur & Phos are readily oxidized and removable by the slag when
"Basic" ( Vs. "Acid" ) melting furnace practice is employed.
When present in coatings on scrap items, usually gasifies at steelmaking temperatures and is emitted from the furnace
atmosphere.
Best control method: Control amount in Furnace Charge
Once present in molten steel, can't be removed.
amount in Furnace Charge

"Dilution is the only solution";

Best control method: Control

Risk of steel manufacturing quality problems, e.g., tearing, poor surface quality, etc.

If enough of either is present in furnace charge in metallic form, risk Manufacturing / Quality problems, PLUS damage
to Furnace Linings, CC Molds
Air Emission Concern: Once emitted from the furnace atmosphere, will oxidize and may reappear in compound form
in Stack Emissions & Baghouse Dust

Elements & Steel Properties


R.T. Jaffre

Page 15 of 18

For the Scrap Processing Industry: Whats really important ?


Some Key Issues
1. Sulfur ( S ) and Phosphorous ( P ): are normally readily refined out of molten steel by the action
of a Lime ( CaO ) based slag when Basic ( Vs. Acid ) furnace practice is employed. The amount of
S & P that may be removed during normal, time constrained EAF melting and refining operations
without ( very expensive ) further refining, either in the furnace or in the ladle or other refining
vessel, is typically less than 0.05 % ( i.e., less than 1 pound per ton of furnace charge ). Normally,
high S & P levels in the charge are seldom the result of S & P alloyed in scrapped iron and steel
items, but the result of substances that coat or otherwise contaminate the scrap. Examples:

Residues on scrapped pollution control equipment, particularly from fossil fueled electric
power generating plants, e.g., scrubber / filtration equipment.
Wrappings, coatings or residues adhering to or otherwise contained in obsolete oil & gas pipe
& tubing.
Scrap contaminated with high S lubricants. Do not assume that lubricants will simply burn
up and go out the stack; S & P may be contained in the lubricants in the form of chemical
compounds that, once melted, may report to the molten steel, slag, or both.
Runner, Ladle, Tundish & Skull scrap arising from Blast Furnace operations, and occasionally
steelmaking operations, particularly when there is significant slag content
Resulfurized / rephosphorized Free Machining steels
DO NOT SURPRISE YOUR CONSUMER WITH THIS STUFF.

2. C ( Carbon ):
Is very desirable in a furnace charge, IN PREDICTABLE AMOUNTS. Steelmakers
generally ADD Carbon sources to a furnace charge ( e.g., coke ). If iron scrap is included with
steel scrap in other than nominal amounts, total charge Carbon may exceed expectations, thereby
requiring excess Oxygen consumption and wasting time. Best practice:

Only include nominal amounts of Iron in shipments of steel scrap. Your consumer customer
should be willing to tell you how much is nominal.
Sell Iron scrap as a separate item.

3. Non-Ferrous metals in Ferrous Scrap. Sometimes the amounts in shipments are remarkable:
Hundreds of pounds of metallic Lead, Copper, Brass & Bronze, Aluminum, etc., included in ferrous
scrap, often representing hundreds of dollars of value thrown away in a truck or rail car shipment.
What a waste of money !!!
a) Pb ( Lead ):
As previously discussed, high Pb levels can have drastic consequences:
damage to furnace linings, air quality concerns, hot shortness, etc. High Pb levels in the
charge are seldom the result of Pb alloyed in scrapped iron and steel items, but the result of
metallic Pb or substances that contain Pb, that are attached to, coat, or otherwise accompany
the scrap:

Obsolete soil pipe with Lead filled joints ( At TXI Chaparral Steel, many of the most severe
instances of lead contamination have been attributed to soil pipe with lead-filled joints )
Lead counterweights ( from scrapped cranes / forklifts )
Wheel weights
Lead storage batteries
Non-Ferrous scrap metal items with ferrous attachments that find their way into ferrous
shipments due to magnet handling.

Elements & Steel Properties


R.T. Jaffre

Page 16 of 18

b) Cu ( Copper ): It is clear that many steel products produced today contain Copper at higher
levels than in the past; producers of structural products have not only learned to live with
higher Copper levels, but now take advantage of residual Cus desirable effects ( increase
strength, etc. ). Structural steel products ( rebar, beams, angles, channels, flats, MBQ rounds,
etc. ) produced today routinely contain 0.35 % to 0.50 % Cu. Care must be taken to assure that
higher Cu scrap steels are shipped to steelmakers who can tolerate them.
Since endogenous Cu levels are higher in many grades of steel, it becomes even more
important that exogenous Cu sources be removed from scrap to the greatest extent possible,
because there is only so much room for Cu even in structural steels before the risks of Cus
adverse effects outweigh the possible benefits. Exogenous Cu sources include:

Copper wound motors


Copper wire
Copper or brass bushings or other components attached to ferrous items
Non-Ferrous scrap metal items with ferrous attachments that find their way into ferrous
shipments due to magnet handling.

c) Sn ( Tin ):
As discussed earlier, Sn is one of the worst contaminants in steelmaking,
because very small amounts ( as little as 0.01 %, or about three ounces per ton ) can promote
hot shortness, poor surface quality, etc.. Like Cu, Once in, cant be removed. Fortunately,
Sns predominant role has been in steel coatings ( Tin Cans ). Obsolete Tin Cans
( Primarily in scrap originating from municipal waste streams ) and Sn sheet scrap volumes are
generally small and easily kept from becoming concentrated in scrap shipments. In dealing
with Sn coated scrap, processors should bear in mind Dilution is the Solution.

When steelmakers experience a major Sn contamination event, odds are that Non-Ferrous
scrap item(s) with high Sn content were responsible ( e.g., Bronze )

d) Zn ( Zinc ):
In most cases, as with Cu and Sn, Zn poses no problem if not concentrated in a
furnace charge. As with Cu and Sn, processors should bear in mind Dilution is the
Solution.

Bottom Line:

KEEP NON-FERROUS SCRAP METAL OUT OF FERROUS SCRAP !!!

Conclusion
Predictability in steelmaking raw materials is a value. There are very few ferrous scrap items that
cannot be used successfully, if steelmakers and scrap processor know what they have, and deal openly
and creatively with each other. Scrap processors that bear in mind and act on the Key Issues
discussed above increase their value to their consumers, who take notice ( or should ) when problems
are absent as well as when they occur. ( We sure try to anyway )
It is hoped that this summary serves to provide insight into the Effects of the Elements on steel
properties. Repeating what was written at the outset: This summary vastly simplifies complex
subjects about which volumes have been written. Readers are asked to please use this summary not
as a source document for decision making, but as a "reminder", i.e., a starting point, toward
increasing understanding of important metallurgical issues.

Elements & Steel Properties


R.T. Jaffre

Page 17 of 18

REFERENCES
1. "Electric Furnace Steelmaking", Charles R. Taylor (Editor); Iron & Steel Society of AIME, 410
Commonwealth., Warrendale, Pa; 1985.
ISBN 0-89520-165-8
2. "The Making, Shaping & Treating of Steel" (Ninth Edition), Harold E. McGannon (Editor); U.S. Steel
Corp., Pittsburgh, Pa; 1971
3. "Alloying Elements in Steel" (Second Edition), by Edgar C. Bain & Harold W. Paxton, American
Society for Metals (Publisher), Metals Park, Ohio; 1966 LCCCN 65-29304
4. "Ferroalloys & Alloying Additives Handbook", by Paul D. Deeley, Konrad J.A. Kundig, & Harold R.
Spendelow. Shieldalloy Corp., West Boulevard, Newfield NJ; 1981 ISBN 0-9606196-0-7
5. "An Introduction to Stainless Steel", by J. Gordon Parr & Albert Hanson; American Society for Metals
(Publisher), Metals Park, Ohio; 1965 LCCCN 65-27458
6. "Modern Steels & Their Properties" (Sixth Edition), Bethlehem Steel Company (Publisher),
Bethlehem, Pa.; 1966
7. A Glossary of ( Steel ) Terms and Concepts, AISI, www.steel.org/learning/glossary/glossary.htm
8. Influence of Residual Elements on Steel Processing and Mechanical Properties, J.C. Herman & V.
Leroy, C.R.M., rue Ernest Solvey 11, Liege, Belgium, 1996; Presented at Metal Working and Steel
Processing, Cleveland, October, 1996.

Final Note:
Any omissions, errors of fact, and possibly incorrect interpretations and conclusions
presented in this summary are entirely my responsibility. Readers are invited to please be so kind as
to communicate corrections and suggested improvements to
djaffre@txi.com
Dick Jaffre
February 10, 2003

Elements & Steel Properties


R.T. Jaffre

Page 18 of 18