The Different Types Of Structural Steel

Intsel Steel

The Different Types Of Structural Steel

Steel is one of the sturdiest and most reliable metals that we know. With its powerful composure, longevity, and ability to be crafted into various shapes, there’s no end to what you can accomplish with the power of steel on your side.

You may not realize it every time you drive, use, build, or are located anywhere around it, but structural steel has four basic but different types. Each structure of steel type offers different levels of versatility and flexibility. Not only that, but structural steel also has many different structural shapes and best-use criteria.

That’s why it’s essential to know and understand the different structural steel types. That way, you can make a quality difference in your next project.

Structural Steel Types

When you seek premium carbon steel structures or just want to use an ornamental steel plate product as a finishing touch, you need a premium product. More importantly, you need a reputable structural steel supplier that is knowledgeable and provides premium products. One of the best structural steel product suppliers has almost 200 years of service and dedicates itself to providing stellar customer service.

Every structural steel type has a repertoire of various components, structures, uses, and benefits. It’s important to understand that structural steel interplays’ potential abilities and will often depend on the shape, size, and intended use. The four basic and core types of steel are explained below.

Structural Steel Types of Materials

There are various types of structural steel materials that can be used to create structural steel. Some of the more popular materials include: 

Carbon Steel: One of the most popular types of steel, carbon steel is made without any additional alloying elements and has a low carbon content.

High Strength Low Alloy Steel: These metals are designed to have better corrosion resistance and contain various alloy properties.

Forged Steel: As the name implies, forged steel is made from shaping the metal while it’s in its solid state, much like how blacksmiths shaped metals in the past.

Structural Steel Guide

Steel has no exact substitute. Steel is a unique material that has no equal, especially when it comes to construction. There’s just no other product or material that can come close to it in potency or durability. That’s why most construction buildings use various structural steel frames to give them versatility, support, and strength.

The Types of Steel

If you have an upcoming project or need steel for a particular need, the below information will help guide you. Each one of the below types of steel has its own chemical structure and use.

1. Alloy Steel

Alloy steel is made up of various metals and is considered to be one of the most affordable. It does resist corrosion, but its strength is based on the different other metals that are in it. Most of the time, those elements are nickel, copper, and aluminum.

Most of the time, alloy steel is used in compressor colts, fan shafts, gears, pump shafts, and more similar parts.

2. Stainless Steel

Almost everyone knows about stainless steel, as this is the most used and most common type of steel. Stainless steel usually contains up to 20% chromium, which is the alloy material within it. Stainless steel is almost always resistant to corrosion.

Stainless steel is moldable and used in surgical practice equipment, silverware, and even outside cladding on industrial buildings. The trick with stainless steel is determining which of the 1000 grades of steel you want. That’s because it can almost always be customized to your needs.

3. Carbon Steel

Carbon steel may lack shine, but it has three different variations you may want to consider. The three variations include a low, medium, and high carbon steel composition substrate. In fact, carbon steel is so popular it makes up about 90 percent of all steel production.

What that means in practical terms is that low-carbon steel has about .30 percent of carbon. Medium carbon steel has about .60 percent of carbon. High carbon steel has about 1.5 percentage of carbon.

Carbon steel is often used in automotive parts and kitchen devices because of its strength.

4. Tool Steel

Tool steel is strong, hard, and often used for hammers or any other metal tool type. Most of the time, tool steel has components of tungsten, cobalt, and other such composition material. What’s more, the tool steel is very heat resistant and has versatility and durability that’s hard to beat.

5. High-Strength Low-Alloy Steels

High-strength low-alloy (HSLA) steel is often chosen over carbon steel as it has excellent mechanical properties and high corrosion resistance. One thing that makes HSLA steel different from other types of structural steel is its design purpose.

Most steels are made to meet specific chemical compositions. HSLA steel is instead made to meet mechanical properties.

As the name suggests, it has low levels of alloying elements. The elements that it contains often include vanadium, titanium, manganese, boron, and molybdenum. They can be added individually or in combination to achieve different characteristics.

HSLA steels are particularly resistant to atmospheric corrosion. The most common applications are in structural shapes and plates.

6. Forged Steels

Forged steel is a type that has been pressed or hammered into a desired shape. This process is known as forging, and it results in steel that’s usually stronger and more durable than other types.

The forging process involves heating the steel to make it more malleable. It’s then possible to shape it by applying pressure.

When thermal and mechanical energy are applied to steel ingots or billets, the steel deforms into the desired shape. This approach is often used to produce gears, shafts, valves, bearings, hinges, and other components.

7. Quenched and Tempered Alloy Steels

These steels are ones that have gone through a specific heat treatment process. It results in strong, hard, and tough steel.

The quenching process starts by heating the steel to a high temperature, and it’s then cooled rapidly in a liquid such as oil or water. This produces a hard martensitic microstructure.

Tempering involves reheating this steel (though to a lower temperature) and allowing it to cool slowly. This softens the structure so that it becomes more ductile.

Quenched and tempered alloy steel is a common choice for building construction. They’re also often used for shafts/bolts and within the mining industry.

The Types of Structural Steel

The types of structural steel are drawn down from the category of steel listed above. These different types of structural steel can be used for many different purposes, depending on many variables. However, most structural steel is used for construction purposes. There are various types of structural steel shapes and purposes.

The Shapes of Structural Steel

There are many different shapes of structural steel. Each shape has different uses and benefits. The variety of shapes for structural steel include but aren’t limited to:

  • Channel or C-Shape
  • Angle or L-Shape
  • Plate
  • I-Beam
  • Tee-Shape
  • Bearing Shape or H-Shape
  • Hollow Steel Section

There are more, but these are the most common. The following section discusses these shapes in more detail.

Channel or C-Shape

Channel or C-shaped members of steel are some of the most common. These members are useful in many different industries, including solar, construction, transportation, and even agriculture. C-shaped parts are made from hot-rolled steel and offer a lot of strength and integrity for construction.

Angle or L-Shape

These parts are so named because they are shaped like the letter “L.” These members are perfect when used as connection members. Most commonly, these members are used as a connection between “I” pieces and other steel stapes. L-shaped members provide high structural capacity and help with resistance to bolt shear. You can place L-shaped members back-to-back, creating a “T” shape, as well.


A steel plate is a sheet of steel and is very versatile. It can be cut and shaped in many sizes to accommodate many different projects. These are commonly used for strengthening the foundations of a building. Steel plates help hold a lot of weight and are often used on bridges for this reason. They help make a good base for constructing buildings and are resistant to corrosion and abrasion. These are often used in constructing high rises, stadiums, bridges, and even heavy machinery.


“I” shaped steel members resemble the letter “I.” I-shaped members are used for many types of load combinations. The only one they are not used for is pure rotation. I-shaped members are great for resisting flexure and compressions. They also help conserve structural steel compared with other shapes. These are versatile members and are the best for structural design. They also have good compatibility with other members.


These members are shaped like the letter “T.” T-shaped members can be used similarly to the I-shaped members, which means they can be used in many different applications. Most commonly, they are used as connection members between I-shapes and other shapes. T-shaped members are also a perfect substitution for I-shaped members.

Bearing Shape or H-Shape

These members are called so because of their resemblance to the letter “H.” They consist of 3 pieces of steel that come together in the form of an “H.” These members serve a similar function to the I-shaped members, but there are a few differences. They are usually heavier than an I-shape and are thicker in the center web, also. They can also take on more force because of this.

Hollow Steel Section

Hollow steel sections are welded steel tubes that are hollow in the center. These pieces are used in buildings, bridges, and other large steel structures. They can be round, square, or rectangular. These are very common and perfect for many different applications. They are also used in manufacturing. These use less steel than other shapes and are the perfect way to save on costs.

It is the category that the structured steel is used for that makes for its shape. They are almost always very stiff and robust and will withstand some enormous loads without sagging. Ideally, they also can withstand heat treatments.

The Shapes of Structural Beams

There are also a lot of different shapes that your structural steel can take. As this material is often used for steel framing, most differences involve modifying the shape for a unique location or task. Here are a few of the options you have to choose from:

American Standard Beam: This beam is commonplace in North America and comes with a rolled section and two parallel flanges.

Angle-Shaped Beam: The angle-shaped beam is shaped in an L-shape to create a 90-degree angle. They are commonly used for floor systems.

Bearing Pile Beam: These H-shaped beams are perfect for those structures built on a shallow foundation. With bearing pile beams, you can create a deep foundation system and utilize the beam structure to transfer and balance the load.

Project-Driven Approach for Steel Shapes and Use

The best steel supply companies will be above to give you high tensile strength steel if you need it for a significant construction project. They will also be able to provide you with steel shapes that come with joists, beams, bars, angles, and more. You need your steel supplier to be able to be quick, efficient, and versatile.

You also want them to be budget-friendly to your business or project. The various yields of strength grades in the structural steel range from 195 to 960 megapascal (MPa). But the mass and weight density can be 8.0 g/cc.

Every type of structural steel contains various components or alloys. Some structural steel products only have iron and carbon. Some structural steel products have Aluminum, Chromium, Phosphorus & Sulfur, and other types of alloys.

The Right Structural Steel

The type of structural steel that is right for your project is the one that fits your needs best. Structural steel product solutions depend on the type of steel, the structural steel types, the supply chain, and the inventory of where you make the purchase. When it’s time to get the right structural steel type for your project, reach out to Bushwick Metals.

Bushwick Metals has almost two hundred years of experience, which helps give them superb and expert customer service. They will coordinate what you need when you need it to meet your timeline. Bushwick Metals has been in business for so long because they know how to provide the quality you need and the logistics you want at a price you can afford.

That’s why with one phone call or click, you can speak to a friendly and knowledgeable customer service representative today. By facilitating what structured steel products you need today, your project’s tomorrow is already assured. Make sure to check out our site to see what we have to offer you, or reach out to us to receive a free quote. We can’t wait for the chance to serve you!


A Guide to A36 Steel Properties

Did you know that more than 1.6 billion tons of steel are produced each year?

Steel is popular for structural applications. It is strong, durable, and flexible, making it ideal for constructing buildings and infrastructure. What’s more, it is resistant to fire, moisture, and pests.

There are many different types of steel available, including A36 steel. To learn more about the properties of this type of steel, keep reading this helpful guide.

What is A36 Steel?

A36 steel is a type of low-carbon steel with a carbon content of less than 0.3%. This makes it easy to machine, weld, and form, making it a versatile and popular general-purpose steel. The low carbon content also means that heat treatment has limited effects on the steel.

Additionally, A36 steel contains small amounts of other alloying elements such as sulfur, silicon, manganese, and phosphorus. These elements help improve the steel’s mechanical and chemical properties.

However, since A36 steel does not contain high amounts of nickel or chromium, it may not exhibit excellent resistance to corrosion.

A36 Steel Properties

A36 steel is often labeled by mechanical properties and not a chemical composition. Here are some notable A36 steel characteristics:

Ultimate Tensile Strength

The ultimate tensile strength (UTS) of A36 steel ranges from 58,000 to 79,800 psi (400 to 550 MPa). UTS refers to the maximum stress a material can withstand in tension.

Usually, the A36 tensile strength is used to evaluate the material’s strength. The precise ultimate tensile strength is often determined by factors such as forming method and chemical composition.

Yield Tensile Strength

Yield strength is the stress at which the steel starts to bend or deform and will no longer return to its original shape once you remove the stress. A36 steel’s yield tensile strength is 36,300 psi or 250 MPa.


Density is a measure of a material’s mass per unit volume. It helps calculate the weight of a structure or component made of the material.

The A36 steel density is approximately 7.85 g/cm³ (0.284 lb/in³). Since it is relatively low, it makes it easy to work with. What’s more, it is suitable for applications where weight is a concern.

Elongation at Break

Elongation at break is a measure of a material’s ductility—the ability of it to deform without breaking. The elongation at break of A36 steel is 20.0% when tested in a 200mm gauge length. This means that when you stretch or pull A36 steel, it can extend up to 20.0% of its original length before breaking.

Additionally, the A36 steel has an elongation at a break of 23.0% when tested in a 50mm gauge length.

Modulus of Elasticity

The modulus of elasticity is a measure of a material’s ability to return to its original shape after subjection to stress. For A36 steel, the modulus of elasticity is 29,000 ksi or 200 GPa.

Bulk Modulus

Bulk modulus refers to the measurement of a material’s resistance to uniform compression. It is vital for evaluating the performance of materials like steel in applications where it is subjected to compressive loads. The bulk modulus of A36 steel is typically 20,300 ksi or 140 GPa.

Poissons Ratio

The Poisson’s ratio of A36 steel is 0.260. This means that for every 0.260 units of transverse strain, there will be 1 unit of longitudinal strain.

Shear Modulus

The shear modulus refers to the measure of a material’s resistance to shear stress. A36 steel sheer modulus stress is 11,500 ksi or 79.3 GPa.


A36 steel hardness depends on the heat treatment. But it’s usually around 119-162 Brinell hardness (HB).

A36 Steel Equivalent

A36 steel has equivalent materials with different standards. These include:

  • EN 10025
  • JIS G3101
  • DIN 17100

While the materials may have similar chemical and mechanical properties, they may differ in some specifications, such as the thickness or width range.

Get High-Quality Steel Today

Need A36 steel? Look no further, Intsel Steel East. We are your go-to steel supplier and deliver to your location.

Contact us today to learn more.

Understanding the Different Types of Structural Steel Tubes

Research has shown that the steel tube market has reached $93.3 in 2022. These results show just how important steel is for the construction industry to complete these projects.

Steel is something that has only increased in demand within the last year. Especially as construction work is picking up, requiring large amounts of steel and steel tubes.

But what are the different types of structural steel tubes that you have to choose from? There are many different kinds of tubes, but they aren’t all going to have the same purpose.

Keep reading to find out more about structural steel tubes and other structural steel shapes.

Structural Steel Tubes Uses

Structural steel tubes are used for a great many uses in construction. They are used by hobbyists as well as construction companies building buildings.

They are often used for structural support to give buildings more stability. They come in various sizes to help support a variety of structures that need to withstand pressure.

They are often used for dock piles and road bore casting as well. Anywhere where you need extra support, different grades of steel tubes can be useful for creating that structure.

These are generally construction materials that you will never end up seeing. As they are internal structures that provide support without being visible within the structure.

You will often use these steel tube options in buildings, bridges, and framing. Most construction jobs cannot be done without steel tubes.

Different Types of Structural Steel Tubes

As with any other kind of construction materials, steel tubes come in a wide variety. You have different steel tube options and grades of steel tubes to choose from.

Because of this, you should understand more about this kind of steel product. So that you know exactly what kind of steel tube to choose that you need.

Some tubes are similar, but most have certain projects that they work best with. Keep reading to find out more about the kinds of steel tubes you could use.

Spiral Steel

Spiral steel is very economical and a popular choice amongst construction workers. It is very durable and is considered to be a long-lasting option for providing structural support.

Spiral steel is often used for road casting, trenches, and piling. Though there are other projects that this kind of steel tubing could be used for.

Seamless Steel

Seamless steel is a structural steel shape that is a common option for internal support. It is durable and popular for projects like dock piling, caissons, and bollards.

As well as pipe piling to help create deep foundations for a variety of structures. 

ERW Steel

ERW steel tubes are also known as high-quality line pipe that is a popular option. Construction professionals often use this option for utility and oil companies specifically.

ERW pipe can be used for columns, docks, or for tunnel construction. It provides a great option that will be long-lasting and very durable.

DSAW Carbon Steel

DSAW carbon steel tubes are structural steel tubes that are available in a variety of different grades. They are usually welded on both OD and ID.

These types of steel tubes are often used for projects like road casing, culverts, and road borings. Though they can be used for many other things depending on the grade that you get.


Culvert pipe is one of the different types of structural steel tubes that aren’t known for being high quality. Rather, it is used for diverting water around and under driveways.

Though it is also used to help divert water around temporary bridges, drainage systems, sewer systems, and water systems. Because of this, culvert pipe is common in farming and irrigation as well.

So this type of tube is structural but serves a very different purpose than most steel tubes. It won’t work for projects where you need structure and support within a project.

Fence Pipe

Fence pipe is very self-explanatory as it is used for building fences. This type of structural steel tubes is incredibly durable and strong, making it perfect for fencing.

It is often used for building fences, enclosing parks, enclosing parking lots, and more. It isn’t usually used for buildings or construction, it provides fence support.

If you are building a fence or any kind of enclosure, it is important to use fence pipe. Because this kind of pipe is designed to be out in the elements, withstanding wear and tear.

Steel Tube Options at Bushwick Metals

If you need to buy structural steel tubes, Bushwick Metals is a great place to do this. As this steel distributor offers all kinds of steel tubes to choose from.

If you need this structural material for a project, you may need different kinds of tubes. Bushwick Metals offers the varieties that you may need, such as:

  • Double Extra Strong Pipe
  • Fence Pipe and Tube
  • Galvanized Awning Tube and Pipe
  • Light Wall Pipe
  • Round Mechanic Tubing
  • Square and Rectangular Mechanical Tubing
  • Standard Pipe
  • Structural Steel Rectangular Tubing
  • Structural Steel Square Tubing

These are all options that you may need for your construction project. Whether you are building a building, a bridge, or a fence.

Types of Steel Tubes You May Need

If you are working on a construction project of any kind, you probably need structural steel tubes. There are many different types of structural steel tubes you could use.

Do you need structural steel pipes for your next big project? Contact us today at Bushwick Metals for steel tube options.

9 Advantages of Using Steel in Construction Projects

So, your construction firm is in the running for a major construction contract. You’re putting the finishing touches on your bid. But you still need lower construction costs. Yes, inexpensive building materials can make your bid stand out. But you want this construction gig to last and to impress your clients. And that’s where the advantages of steel in construction should enter your presentation.

Before presenting your next construction bid, read about the benefits of steel construction. Steel helps save on the budget and can save unwanted expenses. Are you a production coordinator having difficulty finding materials due to shortages? There is still time to consider steel construction in your construction projects. Reliable and durable, read why steel construction makes your construction firm stand out.

The Main Advantages of Steel in Construction

Construction coordinators turn to steel because of its high availability. As a result, steel makes up over half the demand for building materials. And if you to build a build, consider steel.

Also, construction coordinators can buy steel in forms like rebar or raw. Of course, construction firms can rely on Bushwick Metals for their construction projects. We also assist construction coordinators and firms with steel construction management. Also, our steel is carbon-based. So, construction firms can build sound and environmentally friendly buildings.

Steel Construction Helps the Environment

Construction firms are mobilizing to be carbon compliant by 2050. The advantages of structural steel in construction helps reduce carbon emissions.

Unlike lumber, which requires many trees to be cut down, steel is recyclable. Firms and coordinators can repurpose it for other steel construction. For example, wide flange beams made in America consist of over 90% scrap metal.

It helps Save on Energy Costs

As energy bills continue to soar, your firm can save clients money with steel. One of the advantages of steel in construction is its energy efficiency. Interior steel beams, for example, can store energy inside buildings.

The benefits of steel construction tie into renewable energy. So, for example, you can use steel construction for roofing to install solar panels. Steel construction also supports geothermal energy. Furthermore, steel also reinforces window panels. That way, firms can add another layer of tightness to keep out cold air.

Steel Construction Reinforcement

Steel constructions works best for infrastructure projects. Steel works with water distribution projects. Coordinators can use use steel like rebar as extra support for power stations. And the same is true for gas systems. Firms can read our blog about the benefits of rebar.

Steel Is a Light Load

Besides its reputation for strength, steel is also a light construction material. Concrete production coordinators can use steel as a lighter and cost effective alternative. It’s also not a headache for coordinators to move steel. Bushwick Metals has warehouses throughout the New England states. We take the lead in steel supplies for Northeast construction projects.

Steel Has Many Construction Options

Steel construction also welcomes creative opportunities. Architects can use steel structures to produce stable works of art.From simple to complex coordinators can use our steel-shaping services for construction projects. Didn’t plan for expansion? No problem. Steel construction gets the job done.

If you need to add an extra office, you can use steel to build into and expand the current structure. Also, expanding with steel doesn’t interfere with or compromise the current building’s integrity. Steel construction doesn’t have to be for permanent buildings. The advantages of steel in construction also apply to temporary buildings.

Specialists like welders can break them down. Also, the same steel is reusable for other construction projects.

Steel is Durable

Construction firms should invest in steel construction because it’s affordable and durable. Steel requires next to no maintenance. As a result, it can withstand rotting and other weather damage. Also, galvanized steel aids in avoiding rust. Furthermore, steel construction is essential for earthquake and seismic activity support.

Unlike lumber, which can warp over time, steel doesn’t warp. Steel, yet, has high ductility properties. These advantages of structural steel in construction can save on costly repairs.

Steel Construction Saves Time

The time to finish construction can make or breaks bids. Steel construction saves time because firms can buy them in sheets, beams, and other forms. This can save you time molding and shaping the steel.

Steel Construction Is Fire Resistant

Unfortunately, wooden construction projects present high fire risks. But, construction firms don’t have to worry about high levels of fire danger with steel. Our steel is built with a high carbon alloy. This same alloy has flame-retardant layers.

Steel Construction Helps Against Pests

Another headache for construction projects is keeping out rodents and other pests. One of the underrated advantages of structural steel in construction is pest control.

Steel materials prevent rodents from chewing their way inside. Also, steel construction also wards off bugs and insects. Thanks to this, you can reduce property damage repairs.

More About the Advantages of Steel in Construction

Construction firms have relied on Bushwick Metals for over one hundred years. Second, to none, we are the undisputed steel supplier in the Northeast region. From panels to decks, we offer the materials to meet your construction projects. Our advantages of steel in construction extend beyond our inventory. With Intsel Steel, Bushwick Metals remains steadfast for our next-day delivery services. We have warehouses throughout the east coast. And we only use high-grade steel materials. So coordinators can rely on consistent results and durable construction projects.

Contact Bushwick Metals today to help you with your construction projects. We also can cut and shape steel to meet your specialized demands.

The Difference Between An H-Beam And I-Beam

Are you hearing conflicting advice about whether H-beams or I-beams are more appropriate for a project you’re working on? It happens, and while it’s frustrating to hunt down information you can trust, it’s crucial to be aware of the differences between the two. This way, you’ll be able to make the right choice for your project.

However, the truth can be deceptive when you compare H-beam vs I-beam supports. Honestly, the difficult choice ahead might be what led you to this article in the first place. Fret not, though. By the time you finish this article, you will understand why one type of beam may work better than the other for your construction project.

What Does a Beam Do?

Before jumping into the differences between an I-beam and an H-beam, it’s critical to understand what steel beams are generally used for. A beam is designed to support loads in a building that run perpendicular to the longitudinal axis. That means they run horizontally to the ground. If you’re a fan of home improvement shows, you’ll know that adding wood beams to residential homes became popular in recent years.

A column, on the other hand, supports loads in a building that run parallel to the longitudinal axis. These beams run vertically from the ground and bare the load on top of them. Depending on the structure you build, H-beams or I-beams may present you with better options.

What Is an H-Beam?

What is an H-beam? An h-beam is a steel structure that looks like its name suggests it should look: It’s a steel beam shaped like a capital H. This structural beam made from rolled steel provides an impressive amount of strength when used in commercial building projects.

Most of today’s steel buildings use H-beams. Unlike the alternative, these beams don’t taper off, and their surfaces remain parallel. They are also fabricated, unlike an I-beam. This means that they were not originally a single piece, but they were designed as build-up beams. Their flanges (the horizontal pieces) are welded to the web (the vertical piece) to create the shape of an H-beam. Because of the way they were built, they’re also known as “wide flange beams.”

The advantages of using H-beams include the following:

  • Reasonable strength-to-weight ratio
  • Optimal area distribution
  • Economical section steel that gives better mechanical properties

What Is an I-Beam?

What is an I-beam? An I-beam is also a steel structure that looks like its name suggests: It’s a steel beam with two horizontal planes (flanges) connected by a vertical section (or web). Much like the shape of a capital I, the height of the cross-section will be higher than the width of a flange. You will also notice tapered edges on the flanges with this type of steel beam. This unique look is part of what makes it easy to see the difference between an H-beam and an I-beam. While an H-beam is quite uniform in its shape, an I-beam will be taller than it is wide.

The tapering in an I-beam creates thinner slopes for the upper and lower flanges. You can expect a 1:6 ratio, which means the thin edges point toward the outside. Thicker I-beams exist on the market, but they’re known for having a shortage of torsion resistance. They don’t resist twisting as well as the standard I-beam or the H-beam.

I-beams, unlike H-beams, are made using only one piece of steel rather than welding three pieces together. The way I-beams are made gives them certain advantages over H-beams in some building situations, which we will cover later in this article.

What’s the Difference Between an I-Beam and H-Beam?

Depending on your project, one may weigh you down while the other may buckle under the pressure of the weight they’re supporting. Keep reading to learn about the key differences between the two beam types. This way, you’ll be able to make a more informed decision about which beam will best suit the needs of your project.

Which One Weighs More?

An H-beam will typically have more weight than an I-beam (as well as greater length), which means that an H-beam can support heavier loads than its counterpart. That’s not always what you’re looking for in a steel beam, however. Different structures won’t call for the use of H-beams because the extra weight on the wall can lead to structural problems. In cases where a beam’s weight is a concern, an I-beam presents a better option due to its lightweight design.

Which One Is Stronger?

An I-beam can be perfect for supporting loads that cause local buckling. Local buckling means that an individual portion cannot support its weight load and as a result, it becomes unstable and poses a threat to the integrity of the project as a whole.

Though I-beams can prevent local buckling, they will not be able to handle the same force as an H-beam due to their lighter design. Overall, the title of “Stronger Beam” goes to H-beams.

An H-beam’s durability comes from its strength-to-weight ratio in the cross-section. This optimized design means that these beam types have more strength against heavier loads. An H-beam can also be easier to weld, and because it has a large surface area in its cross-section, it earns a high strength rating.

What About the Beveling?

H-beams have a bevel where three pieces of steel join and look like one piece of solid metal (when we’re talking about high-quality, expertly-welded beams). I-beams do not have this type of bevel, as they’re made from a single piece of steel. I-beams are not fabricated by riveting sheets or welding. Milling or rolling creates shorter top and bottom flanges on I-beams.

What’s the Span?

H-beams cover spans of up to 330 feet.

I-beams cover spans that range from 33 to 100 feet.

That said, a single H-beam will cover a great distance, while construction teams using I-beams will need to use at least three units to equal the distance an H-beam can cover.

What Does the Web Center Look Like?

An H-beam’s central web has more thickness (usually equal to the length and thickness of the flanges), which means it has a sturdier construction. An I-beam’s central web is taller than the flanges are wide, so it isn’t as thick in the central web. This means that I-beams cannot handle the same amount of force as their counterpart.

What Do the Flanges Look Like?

An H-beam has flanges at the top and bottom that extend further from the web than those of an I-beam. Though an I-beam also has top and bottom flanges, they’re not as wide as an H-beam’s flanges. They’re also shorter than an H-beam’s flanges. Shorter and thinner flanges might not sound desirable in plenty of situations, but again, the unique design of an I-beam gives it certain advantages over an H-beam.

When Should You Use H-Beams?

H-beams find most of their use in residential projects (like homes and apartment units, but they’re also perfect for the following builds:

  • Bridges: Beam bridges are simple structures that are supported by H-beams, depending on their load requirements. H-beams enable the weight to be distributed evenly throughout the beam, making them a better choice for the bridge, as the structure can now support more weight without any trouble.
  • Platforms: H-beams can be ideal when you’re on a construction site and you’re looking to give the structure greater durability and strength. When you’re considering H-beam vs I-beam, consider your construction requirements. H-beams are more suitable when you’re looking to build solid structures, like platforms.
  • Mezzanines: If you’re planning to build various intermediate floors in a building, you need beams that can hold the weight without looking too unsightly. H-beams are perfect for this because they enable even weight distribution and ultimate functionality without ruining the aesthetics of the mezzanine floor from any angle.
  • Trailers: Any trailer model requires a solid structure so that it can remain durable throughout the years. Just as beams in a building help support the roof and other physical components, beams in a trailer help ensure its structural integrity long-term.
  • Commercial Buildings: When you’re looking to ensure that the commercial building you’re constructing can withstand higher load requirements without any problems, using heavier and sturdier H-beams can be an ideal option. H-beams can ensure that your customers are also satisfied with the quality of the building.
  • Skyscrapers: High-rise buildings require innovative and creative ways to be supported while ensuring that they don’t lose their visual charm. When you’re looking to create the ideal skyscraper without various, unsightly supporting structures, using H-beams within the structural foundation can be ideal.
  • Industrial Complexes: All industrial processes require handling large volumes and weights almost daily. The key considerations when constructing such buildings are that
    1) they don’t fall under excessive weight and
    2) that they’re safe for the employees.
    H-beams are the ideal support to use for high-load and high-volume areas like industrial complexes.
  • Framing for Truck/Trailer Beds: Trucks need to handle a lot of volume and weight while transporting various goods across thousands of miles. Using H-beams to support these frames helps ensure that there are no accidents or adverse incidents that might otherwise occur when using weaker support beams.

Any job that calls for larger load-bearing will involve H-beams. Their broad surfaces make them perfect for connecting building components with high-strength bolts. While it’s difficult to generalize the appropriateness of each beam type, these supports often find their way into large-scale construction projects.

When Should You Use I-Beams?

I-beams give more flexible options for construction projects. You’ll find these beams used in the following ways:

  • Bridges: When you’re looking to build an aesthetically-focused bridge that doesn’t need to continuously handle extremely large loads of traffic, I-beams are ideal. The straight and narrow design can also ensure that the aesthetic integrity of the bridge is not compromised.
  • Support Beams in Steel Buildings: If you’re planning on putting multiple supporting beams within a steel building, you need to ensure they are evenly distributed. The main difference between I-beams and H-beam is that I-beams are more versatile and can be placed anywhere. This includes narrow steel buildings that are constrained by space limits but still need superior strength.
  • Elevators: Elevators are narrow areas that don’t have a ton of space. To ensure that they can handle a specific amount of weight without being compromised, you might want to utilize an I-beam’s support. I-beams can come up to 30 meters, which makes them ideal to use in elevators.
  • Support Columns: If you’re trying to maintain aesthetics and structural integrity, getting the versatile I-beams to be the supporting column is ideal. They can be fitted within any space without being too exposed.
  • Workplace Platforms: When you’re looking to install platforms into already existing workplaces, I-beams are the way to go. They don’t need much space and cause minimal disruption to the area.
  • Factories and Warehouses: Similar to H-beams, I-beams are ideal for high-load and high-volume places, especially areas where the space is too constrained for an H-beam.
  • Miscellaneous Civil Projects: Many civil projects utilize I-beams because of their versatility, eco-friendly features, and durability.
  • Framing for Truck/Trailer Beds: Many advanced trailer and truck models utilize I-beams instead of H-beams when they’re looking to insert multiple beams without ruining the aesthetic look of the model.

You can find I-beams in steel fabrication as well. For most construction projects, this type of support will be installed as the framework for buildings or trusses. Homeowners also install I-beams in basements to stabilize the basement walls without risking the area’s structural integrity.

The more I-beams used in a project, the fewer support structures are required. As a result, these beams offer tremendous time and money-saving benefits for the right building.

Still Debating About an H-Beam vs I-Beam?

It’s critical to know the differences between I-beam and H-beam supports for any construction project. Now that you’ve gained an education in H-beam vs I-beam 101, where do you go from here?

It doesn’t matter whether you’re starting a new construction project or modifying an existing building: You’re going to want advice, especially if you’re still not sure which beam you should use in your building project. Seek a professional in the industry who can provide sound recommendations that add value to your property. By trusting an expert in the field, you can rest assured that you’re making a choice that will support the integrity of your work.

Did you find this article useful and informative? Do you have more questions about steel products or services? Give us a call at 1-855-446-8735 or request a quote today.

The Benefits Of Ordering Steel Cut To Length

Reports show a 2.2% increase in demand for steel in 2022. Showing just how important this material is and how many people are using it. This growth is only considered to become greater as people are needing steel now more than ever. Many choose steel cut to length for many different reasons.

Cut to length steel is a popular choice and one that people should consider. If you need to purchase steel, this is an option that might be a great fit for what you are needing. Especially if you are ordering a large quantity of steel of various lengths. Keep reading to find out if cut to length steel is the right fit for you.

Reduces Waste

When you order steel for a specific project, chances are you need to cut it to a certain length. When you do this, you will have steel that goes to waste as it isn’t used. Not only is this wasting resources, it wastes your money. You paid for that steel that you end up cutting off and discarding because you do not need it for your project.

Whether you are a contractor, owner, or DIYer, this is not ideal. You do not want to waste any steel that you are paying for as this can add up fast. This is an issue that could be easily fixed by ordering cut to length steel. Resulting in you only buying the lengths that you need, nothing more, nothing less. This is especially beneficial for those ordering large amounts of steel. Steel cut to length could save you quite a bit of money as well as provide you with exactly what you need.

Less Manual Labor

If you were to order steel that has to be an exact length, you most likely have to cut it. Things like steel coils and steel sheets can be quite difficult to cut yourself. Especially if you have placed a large order of steel that you need. Cutting steel down to length means that you need people to do this labor-intensive work. That could create additional costs to have employees get this job done for you. It can also be dangerous as they will be working with tools that could cut or injure them along the way.

By ordering ctl steel, you can avoid all of this hassle when placing your order. You can buy the steel and have the steel distributor cut it to length for you, reducing the work you have to do. This is one of the best benefits of having steel cut to length for you. And steel distributors like Bushwick Metals even offer this service to the whole eastern half of the United States.

When ordering ctl steel, you also don’t have to own your own steel-cutting tools or equipment. These tools can cost a lot of money and can be difficult to maintain. Not everyone has these items, so getting the steel cut for you will be your best option.

Better Efficiency

Having your steel cut for you is very efficient and cuts back on the work that you have too do. So when you receive your order, the steel will be ready to go. You don’t have to set aside a week to cut the steel yourself before you can begin the project. You can get right to work as the steel will already be ready to go where it needs to go.

Making this option not only efficient for the work you are doing but convenient too. Reducing your workload and producing a material that is ready to be used. This is ideal for large-scale projects that you may need to get to work on. Or if you are running behind and need to use the steel that you have ordered right away. You don’t have to take into consideration how long you will need to cut the steel yourself. Saving you a great deal of time if you need that steel for a project right then.

Quality Cuts

When you get your cut to length steel from a steel distributor, you know you are getting quality. You may be able to cut the steel yourself, but will it create a good end result? Things like a blanking line can be difficult and take time to do. And you may not necessarily be qualified to make cuts in steel that are going to be high quality. Steel distributors will have the right kinds of equipment that are made for this job. So you are guaranteed to get a nice cut on your steel products.

Having the right cuts can be very important as many projects require exact measurements. Something that you may not be able to achieve on your own.

What Kinds of Steel Can be Cut to Length?

There are all kinds of steel products that can be cut to length. Many are products that you may need in your various jobs or projects. Steel distributors like Bushwick Metals offer a wide variety of steel products. Most being cut to length steel options that can be very useful and convenient.

You can choose steel products like steel coils, steel sheets, and steel beams. As well as a variety of other products that you can have cut to a specific length.

Benefits of Having Steel Cut to Length

If you are ordering steel, you probably need specific lengths for your project. Steel cut to length is a great option and can cut down on your workload and provide fantastic results.

Do you need steel products cut to length? Contact us today at Bushwick Metals for all kinds of cut to length steel options.

Structural Steel Processing At Bushwick Metals

Projections show that the global structural steel market will reach a size of $226.91 billion by 2030.

Steel is the most widely used material on the planet due to the various advantages it brings. Structural steel processing allows companies to produce different kinds of steel parts to meet various specifications. Bushwick Metals is a professional steel fabrication company that offers a wide range of products and services that could be ideal for your project.

For a rundown of what structural steel fabrication is, and the services we offer, keep reading.

What Is Structural Steel Fabrication?

Steel fabrication is a process that can involve a range of techniques to produce specific parts. Steel construction relies on these parts to complete projects with various requirements. Steel processing can meet different specifications in terms of shape, size, and type of products. This often requires specialized equipment and a high degree of skill.

Value-Added Services

While various suppliers offer steel parts, Bushwick Metals stands out without value-added services. Through custom steel processing, we can produce parts exactly as you need them.

Saw Cutting

We have multiple saws capable of cutting steel beams and bundles down to the required sizes. We can perform highly complex, accurate cuts that meet or exceed industry-standard tolerances. This can be done with beams up to 44 inches and bundles up to 24 x 44 inches.

Plate Processing

This is perhaps our most common steel process, and we offer a range of different techniques, such as:

  • Oxy-fuel cutting
  • High-definition plasma cutting
  • Tapping
  • Drilling
  • Countersinking
  • Milling
  • Carbide Scribing

All of these are done using a single machine to maximize efficiency. This keeps costs, turnaround times, and scrap material to a minimum. Our built-in nesting software makes this possible while maintaining both accuracy and quality.

Shearing and Bending

We have numerous shears that can process sheets as thin as 16 gauge and plates as thick as 5/8 inches. These can be up to 12 feet in length. We also have multiple press brakes that can bend sheets and plates anywhere up to 1/2 inch thick (with a minimum length of 12 feet). They can be bent to almost any shape with a high degree of accuracy.

Section Bending and Cambering

We can take steel from our huge inventory and accurately bend it to meet your need. We’re able to bend a range of products including:

  • Bars
  • Beams
  • Channels
  • Tees
  • Angles
  • Tubes
  • Pipes

Bending can achieve almost any shape, so whatever requirements you have, we’ll be able to meet them. We’ll also camber beams if you need to meet certain load capacities. We can camber any beams up to 40 inches wide as long as they are 25 feet or longer. The maximum camber will depend on the size and length of the beam.

Tee Splitting and Straightening

Thermal cutting can cause beams to bow and twist. We use a rotary-mechanical shear to split beams, which gives much better results. After splitting, we use our roll-straightening service to ensure our tees are the highest quality available.

Custom Roll Formed Floor and Roof Deck

We have a state-of-the-art roll former that can roll out different types of roof and floor decks. The deck we produce can be galvanized or painted, depending on your needs, and can be roll-formed anywhere from 3 to 40 feet in length.

Bushwick Metals Products

Over the years, our company has grown. We have multiple warehouses, and in these, we maintain a wide range of popular steel products. We’ve built up one of the most diverse inventories of metal products in the US.

As standard, we keep the following in stock in all of our warehouses:

  • Angles
  • Bars
  • Beams
  • Tubing & Piping
  • Sheets
  • Plates
  • Channels
  • Decking
  • Rebar
  • Expanded metal & Grating
  • Heavy Structural Products

On some rare occasions, you might need something that we don’t regularly stock. In these situations, we can either fabricate the parts you need or order them from one of our many suppliers across the globe.

Why Bushwick?

Bushwick Metals has been in the steel industry for more than a century. As such, it’s safe to say we know what we’re doing. Our warehouses maintain a huge inventory of standard parts, so in many cases, you’ll be able to get what you need immediately. If you need more specific parts, we offer custom steel fabrication which is done in-house.

We provide next-day delivery, so as soon as your parts are ready we can get them out to you. This will keep your project running smoothly, and can be very helpful if any sudden changes require new parts. We have a lot of experience in supply chain management which we can use to help keep your project on track. Steel can take up a lot of space on-site, and you might not be able to store everything you need. We can plan out a delivery schedule with you so that we bring parts out to your site as and when you need them.

Our many years in the industry have also helped us build a strong network of connections. This allows us to source the highest quality materials for the best prices.

Structural Steel Processing

Structural steel processing is crucial to a wide range of projects. If you need steel parts, you want to be sure that they’re high quality, and that they meet whatever specifications you have. At Bushwick Metals, we can ensure you get the exact parts you need. With our next-day delivery service, we’ll get things out to you as soon as possible, preventing any downtime in your project. To find out more about what we offer, click here to contact us today.

Which Types Of Steel Beams Should You Order?

Steel is one of the strongest metals on Earth. If you run a construction company, chances are that steel beams are a material that you purchase on a regular basis.

Knowing about the different types of steel beams ensures that your company uses the right material for every job. This guide will break down the different types of steel beams in layman’s terms. That way you can know which kinds work best for you.

Steel Beam Material Composition

There are many different kinds of steel that compose steel beams. Steel can be mixed with different kinds of metals to make a specific kind of steel alloy. The following are some common types available on the market.


This type of steel is the most often used in construction. It is a high strength steel alloy composed of columbium and vanadium. It is very light, corrosion-resistant, and conducive to welding. Its tensile strength is 65 kilo-pounds per square inch.


This type of steel is made using a copper alloy. It is one of the most corrosion-resistant types of steel beams. It is so corrosion resistant that it does not require painting.

It is the best choice when you are looking for a light-weight form of steel that is resistant to corrosion. It has a tensile strength of 70 kpsi, making it stronger than A992/A572-50 steel.


This form of steel is one of the best choices for weldable steel that can also be altered by machinery. This is a less expensive mid-range steel. It stretches well under the application of tensile strength. Its minimum tensile strength is 58 kpsi.

Types of Steel Beams

The shape and design of steel beams are other important factors when deciding which ones work best for your situation. There are also all different kinds of steel beam sizes. The following are some common shapes and designs.


I-beams are also known as the “universal beam”. They look like a capital “I” and are the most common beam found in construction projects. These beams are most often used for structural support and load-bearing purposes.

To determine the exact weight that an I-beam can support, professionals will use a steel beam calculator to conduct analytical measurements.


H-beams are very similar to I-beams but are heavier, thicker, and longer in construction. HP-beams are a specific type of H-beam that stand for H-pile.

These are structural beams that often are driven deep into the ground to support large loads. A common use for H-beams or HP-beams would be building a foundation for a bridge or building.

Junior Beams

Junior beams have a fitting name. They are similar to I-beams but are much smaller and lighter. This makes them perfect for size or weight-sensitive projects.

Wide Flange Beam

The “flange” is the horizontal piece of a steel beam. The “web” is the vertical piece. When looking at a cross-section of a steel I-beam, the flange would be the top and bottom parallel lines of the letter “I”. The “web” would be the vertical connecting line.

Wide flange beams also have a fitting name. These are like conventional “I” beams except that they have a wider flange which changes their shape. Another name for wide flange beams is “W-beams”.


T-beams are shaped like a T, hence their name. This means that they don’t have their bottom flange. They are most often used as a load-bearing beam.

Uses For Steel Beams

Chicago’s Willis Tower is the tallest steel structure in the world. This building was formerly known as the Sear’s tower and dominates the Chicago skyline.

This building is a testament to the engineering miracle that is steel. But steel isn’t only used to make the world’s tallest buildings. There are many other more conventional uses for steel beams as well. From bridges to buildings, to foundations, steel beams form the backbone of most engineering projects. They are used to create sewage systems. They also help build ships and docks. They can sometimes be found in certain pieces of heavy machinery.

They have various applications for the military. Also for the aeronautical and marine industries. They are a cornerstone of all infrastructure around the world. They help create super-highways and tunnels. Chances are if you have a major construction project, you will be using steel beams to complete it.

Where Can I Buy Steel Beams?

Your best bet for purchasing steel beams is to contact a professional steel distributor. Only they have the connections and capabilities to deliver you high-quality steel at an affordable rate for an adequate price. If you are looking for steel beams for sale, you may be tempted to type in “steel beams near me” into Google. Rather than sift through all of the results in hopes that one will work for your company, it is better to just find a name you can trust.

Request a quote from a steel beam specialist to ensure that you are getting only the finest quality steel at an affordable price. Let the professionals handle your materials so you can get back to what’s important: running your construction business.

Many professional steel distributors will give you a great deal on bulk orders. The best candidates can also fulfill rush orders last minute, which makes them a viable partner in the ever-changing and time-sensitive construction industry.

Whoever you choose, you want to find someone who has been in the industry for a long time. They also should have a reliable reputation for service and quality. Most importantly, their prices should be competitive so you always get a square deal.

Across the world, iron and steel make up roughly 95% of all metal produced each year. Steel has applications in various industries due to its strength and hardness.

Any owner of a business that uses steel should know the types of steel beams available and which ones to buy.

Different types of steel beams have advantages and disadvantages over others, so ordering the right kind for your project is crucial.

If you’re wondering what steel beam types you should order, we’ve got you covered. Read on to learn everything you need to know about ordering steel beams!

Types of Steel Beams: Shapes

The shape in which manufacturers produce steel determines the application it will be best for. Knowing the scope of your project will help you choose from the many types of beam steel available.

Though people often use the terms “I-beam” and “H-beam” interchangeably, they are each a slightly different type of steel beam. These steel sections are also known as universal beams. As the name suggests, an I-beam has a profile shaped like a capital “I.”

If the outer sides of the beam, called flanges, are wider than the middle, the beam is instead an H-beam.

Another key difference between I-beams and H-beams is the shape of the flanges. I-beams typically have flanges that taper to an edge, while H-beams have rectangular flanges.

H-Beams vs I-Beams

Universal beams are best for heavy construction due to the shape’s resistance to bending and shearing. I-beams weigh less due to their tapered shape and narrower flanges, but H-beams can usually bear more weight.

Another advantage H-beams have over I-beams is that the production process is simpler. As a result, H-beams are available in much greater lengths than I-beams.

While H-beams can bear more weight overall, I-beams have greater tensile strength or resistance to tension. Higher tensile strength allows I-beams to bear heavier weight in one spot without bending.

Different Steel Compositions

In addition to choosing the right shape for your steel beams, it’s important to consider the material itself. Most commonly, steel beams come in A572, A588, and A36.

A572 steel is a high-strength, low-alloy (HSLA) steel that offers excellent strength for its weight. This steel alloy is a good balance of tensile strength, weldability, and low cost.

A588 is another HSLA steel alloy with even greater tensile strength than A572. In addition to its strength and hardness, A588 steel is manufactured using copper. The inclusion of copper makes A588 extremely corrosion resistant.

A36 is a good grade of steel for lighter jobs where the structure will be painted. Because A36 is a type of mild steel, it is susceptible to rust and bending. However, it is also easier to weld and machine.

Choose the Right Steel Beams

Whatever the project, choosing the best types of steel beams for the job is imperative. We hope you find this guide helpful when shopping for structural steel. Bushwick Metals has over a century of experience manufacturing quality steel sections. Contact us today to find out how we can help you with your steel needs!

High Carbon Steel Vs Low Carbon Steel

Whether you’re an avid collector of knives and swords or an industry professional (or maybe both), you’ve probably seen the terms “high carbon steel” and “low carbon steel” thrown around quite a bit. But you may be at a loss regarding the exact relationship between carbon and steel.

What exactly is the stuff from an unassuming, dark and crumbly lump of coal actually doing in a chef’s knife or steel beam anyway? And why does it matter how much of it is in there? By the end of this article, you’ll know all you need to about high carbon vs. low carbon steel, and why this abundant earth element is so crucial in our world’s most widely used metal. So just keep reading!

What Is Carbon Steel?

On its own, iron is a relatively soft, ductile metal. It is also highly prone to oxidation (rusting). However, iron’s softness and susceptibility to corrosion are greatly mitigated by the inclusion of carbon via a process called smelting.

This yields a material called pig iron, whose extremely high levels of carbon make it much too brittle for any practical applications. Thus, steps are then taken to lower the pig iron’s carbon content (decarburization) to desired levels (below 2.1%), resulting in steel.

Now, you may have picked up on the fact that, by definition, steel is an alloy of iron and carbon. So how is “carbon steel” not a redundant term? And what sets it apart from other steels?

According to the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), carbon steel must contain up to 2% carbon, no more than 1.65% manganese, 0.6% silicon, and 0.6% copper, and no less than 0.4% copper.

In other words, almost all steel used today is in fact carbon steel. The real difference in quality and optimal uses for different variants of carbon steel lies in how they’re blended with other metals, including carbon, and to what percentages. For this reason, high carbon, medium carbon and low carbon steels are unique mixes of iron, carbon and other metals to give each distinct hardness properties that carbon content alone doesn’t offer.

High Carbon Steel Vs Low Carbon Steel

The AISI reported that carbon steels account for more than 85% of the steel that the United States produces and ships. There are countless individual grades of carbon steel, and each has its own unique qualities and uses. Some of the most popular include:

  • 12L14 (highly magnetic with lead added to increase machinability)
  • A36 (used for automobile components and building structures like steel beams)
  • 1008 (extremely low carbon content and tensile strength; easy to weld)
  • 1045 (high strength and hardness)
  • 1095 (along with 1045, most popular steel for functional sword and knife production)

Now that we’ve clarified what carbon steel is in a general sense, let’s take a look at what the different levels of carbon mean for the steel itself and how they break down by amounts of carbon, other metals and use cases.

Ultra-high Carbon Steel

The type of steel with the very highest carbon content on the commercial and consumer markets is called ultra-high carbon steel. It’s often considered an experimental alloy and offers a carbon content of 1.25-1.7%. While there’s some overlap between the kinds of items that can be made from ultra-high carbon steel and normal high carbon steel, the ultra-high blend is unique enough to deserve its own category. This type of steel is enormously hard but also too brittle for many industrial or large-object uses. It does however work wonderfully for smaller specialty tools such as:

  • High-end chef’s knives
  • Modern sword reproductions for martial artists and collectors
  • Other cutting tools
  • Hammer heads
  • Punches
  • Dies

High Carbon Steel

Also known as carbon tool steel, high carbon steels contain between 0.6% and 1.2% carbon and manganese levels that vary between 0.3% and 0.9%. Steel with a carbon content any higher than 1.7% (but less than 2%) is technically considered cast iron unless specially heat treated, tempered and blended with chromium or manganese.

High carbon steels enjoy a fair range of applications, such as in:

  • Springs
  • High-strength wires
  • Masonry nails
  • Cookery
  • Radiators
  • Lampposts

Medium Carbon Steel

Of course there’s a mid-range category of steel that sits between the ultra-high and high carbon steel types and their low carbon counterpoint. This is called medium carbon steel. The carbon content of this steel type sits at between 0.3 and 0.6% and the steel itself is usually further treated with austenitizing (a type of heat treatment), quenching and then tempering the metal for the sake of stronger mechanical properties.

Medium steel is usually used in its tempered condition because this state gives it internal microstructures of tempered martensite for a powerful balance between ductility and high strength. Medium carbon steel is usually made with alloys such as chromium, nickel and molybdenum. It’s especially popular for uses where exceptional strength and wear resistance need to balance with some ductility. These applications include:

  • Large machine components
  • Gears and axles
  • Forgings
  • Machined tools
  • Railway wheels
  • Machinery shafts

Low Carbon Steel

Also known as mild or plain carbon steel, low carbon steels contain between 0.05% and 0.3% carbon content and manganese levels that vary between 0.4% and 1.5%. At the extreme lower end of this carbon percentage spectrum, the mild steel blend with the least amount of carbon is technically referred to as wrought iron, at 0.05 to 0.1% carbon. Just like cast iron with its extremely high carbon content of around 2%, very-low carbon wrought iron has limited uses .

When its carbon content is raised, mild steel becomes a highly tensile product. This means a lower percentage of carbon content for high ductility. But it also includes alloying the metal with other metals like chromium, molybdenum, silicon, manganese, nickel, and vanadium. The addition of these elements increases low carbon steel’s tensile strength so that it can be widely used in all sorts of industrial, commercial and construction scenarios.

In other words, low carbon steels enjoy quite a wide range of applications, such as in:

  • The automotive industry (in the form of tailgate access covers, floor pans, roofs, hoods, doors, and body sides, spare tire tubs, dash panels, etc.)
  • Wire products
  • Tin plate
  • Building panels
  • Beams and other structural materials
  • Sprocket assemblies
  • Fasteners
  • Bolts
  • Fences
  • Chain links
  • Gates
  • Railings

Pros and Cons

In general, carbon steels are great for their durability, strength, and shock resistance. This makes them cheaper to use than other steels because relatively fewer quantities are needed for a given application. They are also easier—and thus cheaper—to recycle than other steels. However, carbon steel of all grades tends to be more easily affected by corrosion than other steels, so their maintenance is much more labor- and time-intensive.

High Carbon and Ultra-high Carbon Steel

These steels can undergo heat treatment and tempering. In fact, this is one of their most desirable qualities, and they are highly sought after by knife and sword makers for their ability to take and hold an edge.

However, high carbon steels tend to be much more expensive and harder to work with than low and medium carbon steels. Thus, the techniques and technology needed to work with them are somewhat more specialized and costly.

Low Carbon Steel

These steels are some of the most common and readily available due to their low production costs and relative ease of manufacture. Their physical properties also make them well suited to a wide array of applications. For instance, they are much more malleable and ductile than high carbon steels and are much easier to machine.

Low carbon steels are also much more conducive to applications that require welding than medium or high carbon steels. This is directly because of the carbon content. As its presence increases, the carbon in steel makes it more susceptible to hardening. This is a pro application in which hardness is desired, but it increases the likelihood of cracking in applications that require welding and are thus subject to higher amounts of stress for longer durations.

However, while low carbon steels display a great deal of strength and toughness, they tend to refuse tempering, and so cannot be made as hard as higher carbon content steels.

Do You Need Carbon Steel for Your Next Project?

Congratulations, you can now consider yourself fully informed about the differences between high carbon steel vs low carbon steel! But as a construction company owner, contractor, or purchasing coordinator, you may yet be wondering where you can get your hands on building materials made of the stuff.

Luckily for you, Bushwick Metals offers a vast array of products made of high-quality structural steel. They are readily available to clients all over the eastern US, and we even offer next-day shipping to most states!

When you’ve decided what you need for your next project, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. In fact, you can request a quote right here!

Structural Steel Grades Explained

On the subject of structural steel grades, many people get confused about which one to use and why it matters. Structural steel is its own category because of three important reasons. The geometry, the composition of the metal, and the size. I-beams are a classic example of what people expect when they see structural steel, but there are many other shapes as well.

The first standard for structural steel goes back to the formation of the American Society of Testing Materials (ASTM) and the first standard for structural steel used for buildings, the A9 standard. This standard is over 100 years old, published in 1900.

Structural Steel Grades: Why So Many Standards?

You may wonder why there are so many structural steel grades, and why bother buying steel of a certain grade when there’s an “equal grade” more accessible.

Common structural steel grades follow a number of standards that govern corrosion, mold growth, fire resistance, strength, constructability, and other characteristics. Steel has fantastic strength to weight ratios, but without standards, you’ll never know what you’re going to get.

You know, for example, an A572-50 is a high-strength low alloy structural that’s made using hot-rolling. Also it can support a minimum yield strength of 50 ksi or 50,000 psi, which is another important point. You know it’s an iron or steel alloy from just looking at the number prefix, and the rating — if you can read your standards correctly.

Knowing that material went through fabrication in a standard way, with standard ingredients, will give you a standard and reliable result. This was one of the biggest problems with steel, iron, and other materials in the late 1800s and early 1900s. It prompted many organizations to form to control manufacturing and materials standards. There are other international standards you can also look to for steel, such as ANSI and SAE.

Different standards are often applied to different industries. For structural building materials, the two major standards you’ll see are ASTM and EN numbers. Two of those standards we’ll cover now.

ASTM Standards

ASTM stands for the American Society of Testing and Materials. It’s the go-to organization for standardization in the world. Membership is voluntary and open to all interested parties. Less than 50% of a committee setting a standard can be producers of the material to stem antitrust problems.

Formed in 1898, ASTM predates the IEC, DIN, ANSI, ISO, and AFNOR associations and organizations. A group of engineers and scientists started ASTM International to solve material problems for the expanding new railroad industry.

There are five types of ASTM international standards that are specified. It includes:

  • A: Iron and Steel
  • B: Nonferrous Metals
  • C: Ceramic, Masonry, and Concrete
  • D: Miscellaneous Materials
  • E: Misc. Subjects
  • F: Materials for Particular Applications
  • G: Deterioration, Corrosion, or Degradation

Various governments reference ASTM standards actively to enforce high product quality, safety, market access, and health. While ASTM doesn’t actively enforce compliance to their standards, many organizations require the standards to be followed when specific materials are used. It can also become compulsory when specified by an external contract by the government, a corporation, or an interested stakeholder. The US government has several regulations requiring ASTM standards to be rigorously followed.

  • A36: Covers low-carbon variants of steel. A36 steel has 98% iron, 1.03% manganese, and other minor compounds. The steel can be hardened through various methods, depending on what industry it is being used in. This standard is most commonly applied for structural steel when used for large structures. Apart from the construction industry, the aerospace, automotive, oil, and gas industries also utilize it.
  • A500B: For cold-formed welded and seamless carbon steel structuring tubing in square, round, and rectangular shapes. In the US, it is mainly used for hollow structural sections. Grade B for A500 needs to have a minimum yield of 290 MPa.
  • A572-50: This standard is only used for HSLA (high strength low-alloy) steel. It is considered a workhorse grade of steel. Less material is required when you compare it to other steel grades in terms of strength. It is generally applicable in construction and structural applications.
  • A588: This is also used for HSLA steel. It is primarily applicable in structures like bridges and buildings. However, it’s different from the A572-50 standard as the steel requires atmospheric corrosion resistance too.
  • A992: Standard used for structural steel alloy. It is applicable for wide-flange and I-beams. It is the most commonly used in the construction industry.
  • A6-19: This is the standard specification for rolled structural steel plates, bars, sheet piling, and shapes.
  • A131-19: Specification for structural steel plates generally used in the shipbuilding industry. They need to have minimum yield strength of 34 KSI; however, this depends on the grade.
  • A143: The standard for safeguarding against embrittlement of hot-dip galvanized structural steel products. It also outlines the processes that must be utilized to detect embrittlement. While embrittlement isn’t a common occurrence, this standard must be applied to ensure that the steel doesn’t fall when exposed to harsh circumstances.
  • A148-20e1: The standard specification for steel castings covers carbon steel, alloy steel, and stainless steel. All castings have to undergo heat treatment through specific methods.
  • A242-13: This covers HSLA steel plates, shapes, and bars, specifically for welded, bolted, and riveted construction that are used for construction where weight-saving and better durability are required.

Standards At Bushwick

Common I-beam standards carried by Bushwick Metals are:

  • A36
  • A500B
  • A572-50
  • A588
  • A992

Other standards are available though. There are ASTM standards for carbon steel, high strength low alloy steels (HSLA), corrosion-resistant HSLA, quenched and tempered alloy steels, and forged steels. All other standards that include structural steel application between A0 and A500 are:

  • A6-19
  • A131-19
  • A143
  • A148-20e1
  • A242-13

But there are dozens more, including HSS (hollow structural section) standards in the A1000 standards. The ASTM International standards designated “A” are equal to iron and steel materials, and where almost all structural steel standards are. A36 is probably one of the most common standards required in using structural steel. Whatever your need for structural steel standards and sizes, availability is on request.

CEN & European Standards

In the European economic area, you’ll also find other standards that steels need to conform to. Since we have a globalized economy, steels can conform to more than one standard at a time for given regions.

You may have wondered, looking at different products, why there’s a “CE” stamped on them, like on some electronic devices as well. The CE is a marking that stands for Conformité Européenne. French is the official language of Brussels, where the head of the EU is, so this is French for “European Conformity.”

While it isn’t a standard in and of itself, the CE marking is applied to standards that conform to the EU economic zone standards. These are not US standards, but given the international nature of construction sourcing, you may encounter plans giving two different standards that can be utilized.

European Committee for Standardization has a number of “EN” or Euronorm standards for I-beams are:

  • EN 10024
  • EN 10034
  • EN 10162

The main standards that cover a number of other steel hardware, tubes, fabricated steel, and steel sections or plates are:

  • EN 1090
  • EN 10025
  • EN 10210
  • EN 10219
  • EN 14399
  • EN 15048

This is by no means an exhaustive list of standards on iron and steel, however. Because there are so many standards that seem equal, is it okay to mix your standards?

Mixing Standards Is A Bad Idea

Often there is a mixup when looking at standards for steel, like A36 (that doesn’t specify hardware) and standards for like A325 (specifically for hardware).

You might have thought something along the lines of “the steel looks similar in specification, it should work fine!” It’s true that chemically they’re nearly identical, as well as physical properties like tensile strength. The shape is the biggest difference, as well as purpose. If you find yourself doing this, think again!

For example, the standard for Grade 5 SAE bolts has a different hex head configuration — a finished hex. A325 has a heavy hex head, so while you can probably find a Grade 5 heavy hex, you think you might be in the clear. Wrong again. The thread structure is designed for the structural integrity of a building when it comes to structural steel. Not only that, but they’re designed for heavy hex nuts, with both Grade 5 and A325 conforming to different thread size standards.

Structural bolts under ASTM also have specific requirements in mind. A307A and A307B bolts in particular are shaped to their purpose. A307A and A307B have the same minimum tensile strength of 60 ksi. A307B bolts have a maximum tensile strength of 100 ksi, designed to break beneath the head should it reach this level of tension. A307B bolts are used in pipefitting flanges and designed to break before the flange.

Grade 5 bolts would destroy the much more expensive flange, and may even cause the pipe to explode if pressure builds too high, risking lives. If you have a specific structural purpose and specification like A36, it’s best to go with the specifications it’s meant to match, such as A307 or A325.

Explained: Structural Steel Grades

Structural steel grades can be a confusing (and expensive) thing to figure out. We hope this explanation of common structural steel grades helps you understand it a little better. The truth is that without an engineering manual and experience, it’s tough to know what you need even when you understand how the standards work. Leave the engineering work to the engineers, and the sourcing work to us.

Bushwick Metals has been serving the needs of US customers in structural and decorative steels for over 100 years. We have a global sourcing network to bring any metal specification you need to your doorstep, often in only one business day. Contact Bushwick Metals today for the advice and materials you need!