Cast steel is a type of steel made from several different metals and materials, such as carbon, nickel and other alloys, to create a strong metal suitable for pouring into moulds to create complex shapes. There are three main categories of cast steel: high carbon, medium carbon and low carbon. The carbon content of the steel is one of the main determinants of what properties the steel will have in several different areas.
The mix of the metals in cast steel results in different properties appropriate for different purposes. The ingredients are the same in all types of cast steel, but they are present in different amounts depending on the category of steel. Typically, the material that changes the most is the carbon level, which is why the steel is classified by the carbon concentration. Other metals and minerals present in cast steel include aluminium, manganese, sulphur, phosphorous, titanium, zirconium and silicone.
The hardness of cast steel varies depending on the mixture of carbon and other ingredients. The heat levels used when mixing the metal also affect the hardness of the finished metal product. Typically, lower levels of carbon and a high alloy content result a softer metal. Higher levels of carbon with fewer added allows achieves a cast steel with greater hardness but lower yield strength, which is the flexibility of the metal.
Several tests are used to determine the strength and durability of cast steel before it starts to break down. These tests include impact tests, drop tests, tear tests and fracture tests. In this area, high carbon and low allow concentrations are actually detrimental.
The ductility of steel is the measurement of how much moulding or shaping it can take and how small the sheets can become without breaking down. This is determined largely by the material mixture of the cast steel and how it is formed. In general, quenched or tempered steel has higher ductility levels, or the ability to deform without breaking, than traditional annealed steel, which produces a softer metal.
The fatigue properties of cast steel represent how much pressure and use the steel can take before breaking down. The fatigue test of cast steel shows its predicted life.