Basics and Applications of HSLA Steel

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Basics and Applications of HSLA Steel

industrial engineer working on cutting a metal and steel with compound mitre saw with sharp, circular blade

There are several types of carbon steel out there with varying degrees of alloying elements, and one good example is HSLA steel. Short for high-strength low-alloy steel, this is a type of carbon steel with small alloying element amounts added to the chemical composition.

At Wasatch Steel, we can provide you with all the varieties of steel you require. Let’s look at the basic formation of HSLA steel, how it benefits you, and some of its common applications.

How It’s Made

HSLA steel is made similarly to other forms, with an iron ore and coal combination placed in a furnace to burn away impurities. Various alloying elements are then added to the molten mixture – this will depend on the grade required. From here, steps are taken to ensure contaminants are low, and the steel is then allowed to solidify into a large rectangular ingot shape.

Structural Benefits

There are several potential advantages of HSLA steel over traditional carbon steel. For one, strength and hardness are increased by the added alloying elements – elements like tungsten, silicon, nickel, manganese, and others cause this hardness increase. In addition, HSLA steel is great for corrosion resistance, particularly when it’s using elements like copper, nickel and chromium.

Grades and Applications

Because there are so many potential alloying elements out there, and combinations that can be used, there are nearly an unlimited number of grades of HSLA steel. A popular type is ASTM A36, which is general purpose steel that you’ll commonly see used on larger steel structures. ASTM A36 is affordable, easily machinable, and can be welded easily as well. It’s also common to see weathering steel used, especially for bridge and similar construction applications, and this is a type of HSLA steel also.

HSLA steel can also be used for non-structural applications, such as in oil and gas transmission pipelines. It’s also found in the manufacturing of storage tanks.

For more on HSLA steel, or to find out about any of our other steel services, contact the pros at Wasatch Steel today.