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How the Strength of Steel Compares to the Strength of Other Metals

strength of steel
Steel is durable, hard, tough—it’s not a “little-known fact.” Steel is often called the strongest alloy on Earth. Rather than a pure metal, steel is a blend of iron and carbon, both providing the particular characteristics that make steel so very strong.   Some metals might just give steel a run for its money, though. To be sure we’re working with the strongest available materials, we compared some of the strongest pure metals: iron, aluminum, and titanium.   In order to compare, we chose some of the most common evaluation points, including tensile strength, impact strength, and compressive strength. Tensile strength measures the metal’s resistance against pushing, pulling, bending, and twisting. Impact strength measures the metal’s ability to withstand impact, and compressive strength measures how well the metal holds up against pressing or squashing.   We won’t keep you in suspense. Steel won out. But the other metals are surprisingly strong and even beat steel in a few of the evaluation points. First up, steel.  

Strength of Steel

  Believe it or not, it’s the mix of metals in steel that gives it such strength. Additional impurities, such as carbon, silicon, phosphorous, and manganese can make the alloy even stronger. For this reason, steel performed better than aluminum, iron, and titanium in tensile strength. Push, pull, bend, and twist, and steel will withstand just about anything you can throw at it.  

Strength of Aluminum

  One of the real strengths of aluminum has nothing to do with the evaluation points in this test, and that’s its density. As one of the lightest industrial metals, the weight makes it perfect for very specific applications. That means, even though steel wins out in tensile, impact, and compressive strength contests, aluminum is still used for many applications that steel would never be used for.  

Strength of Iron

  Here, steel wins again in both tensile and compression. In fact, pure iron has a yield strength of around 7250 psi, while steel is never below 30,000 psi and usually closer to 50,000 psi. However, iron is a very strong metal, and that’s why it’s such a crucial part of the makeup of steel. When combined with carbon and other compounds to create steel, iron lends that strength so that steel can be even stronger.  

Strength of Titanium

  If any pure metal could give steel a run for its money, it’s titanium. Its strength-to-weight ratio is unmatched. However, steel still wins out on tensile strength. That strength-to-weight ratio does make titanium a great choice for very specific projects where both strength and a lighter weight are crucial—like, say, airplane parts.   When you need the strongest alloy in the world, Texas Iron and Metal is here to help. We supply any steel products you might need, all at surplus prices. If we don’t have it, we’ll get it for you right away. And yes, if you need aluminum, iron, or titanium, we can help you find that, too.