When you’re in Houston, TX and you’re looking for steel channel, you may be confused as to the type of steel you’re looking at. While not all metal supply stores in Houston will label their steel according to their SAE grades, you should know what grade of steel you’re purchasing. Not all are the same.
Steel Major Classifications
When you are looking for steel from a metal supply in Houston, you should know the major steel classifications. Because steel is so malleable and can be used for a variety of items, there are about 500 different recipes for steel. Even so, the SAE has a convention for steel grades. The SAE number is usually four digits long. The first number specifies the major type of steel it is.
The Other Numbers
The other numbers designate the subtype of steel as well as the grade. For example, a piece of steel marked with “10xx” (with the “xx” being other numbers) is a designation for plain carbon steel with 1% or less manganese added.
Stainless steel has its own designation. Unlike the other steel made from different alloys, it has a three number designation and is marked as “type.” For example, stainless steel that is an austenitic chromium-nickel alloy would have a designation of “type 300,” with numbers within the 300 to 399 range being the type and grade. Type 301, for example would be a type that was good for welding that is also highly ductile.
The American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) has their own designations within the SAE designations to mark certain processes and elements within the steel. This is important to keep in mind when looking for steel channel, or any steel from a metal supply in Houston. If there is a “C” before the numbers, it means that the steel was forged in a basic oxygen or open hearth furnace. If the letter “E” appears before the numbers, it means that the steel was forged in an electric arc furnace.
Unified Number System
If that wasn’t enough to make matters confusing when looking for steel in a metal supply in Houston, there is another designation for steel known as the UNS or Unified Number System. If you see the numbers between G00001 to G99999, it means it is carbon and alloy steels. The designation H00001 to H99999 is for H-steels. Cast steels have the number between J00001 to J99999. Ferrous alloys and miscellaneous steel alloys have the designation of K00001 to K99999.