The basic properties of an engineering material are directly related to the structure of the
material. Some properties, such as strength, are sensitive to very small variations in the structure, some of which are microscopic, some of which are on an atomic scale.

In order to control the properties of a material, and to use them in an optimum manner, the engineer must have a working knowledge of the material structure. Furthermore, to modify the properties,changes have to be made to the internal structure of the material.

Finally, if processing or service conditions alter the internal structure, then the properties will be affected. Clearly, the properties of the material depend on the internal structure, and modification of the internal structure can alter the properties. This circular relationship is the key principle that underlies the use of all materials. Throughout this publication, we will keep coming back to this

A study of all engineering materials, their properties and structures would fill many books and
is beyond the requirements of most engineers. The first criterion for this publication is that only
the barest coverage of fundamentals is given, enough to ensure that the engineer or
technologist will be able to distinguish between the properties of the main materials that are

Secondly, we cover mainly ferrous metallurgy, with coverage of non-ferrous metals
where essential for explaining specific properties and concepts. Even so, there are probably
over 1000 steels on the market, and selection can be daunting. These notes mainly deal with
steels used in heavy engineering such as construction, pipelines, tanks, etc. However, many of
the principles apply to steels used in automobiles, aerospace, marine, and many other

Even within these limitations, the publication can only touch on the subject of steels and their
properties. The books in the Further Reading should be consulted for more information. In
addition, the internet these days provides a wealth of useful technical and commercial
information, and entering a few key words into a search engine such as Google will provide a
wealth of up-to-date information, although technical knowledge will be necessary to sort out
the good from the bad.

The information in this book is largely taken from a number of text books, from journals, web
sites, trade literature and from the notes to courses written or developed by the author for
Monash University, the Australasian Corrosion Association and private course providers.

However, any errors are mine and I would be grateful to readers if they could point them out.
Any other comments would be welcome.

Rob Francis
Melbourne, July 2017.


RAF Metallurgy of Steels ACA


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