|MadSci Network: Chemistry|
Nick, Carbon is the principle hardening element added to Iron and is present in all steels. There are several alloying elements used in making steel to render desired properties. Typical properties are hardness, toughness, abrasion resistance, corrosion resistance, etc. Alloy additions must be maintained within a range of percentages to produce good quality steel. When selecting an alloy capable of meeting more than one requirement, some compromises must be made. For example, adding Phosphorus will increase strength and hardness but will sacrifice ductility (the capability of being formed to a shape). The reference will define the effects of alloying elements. Ref: Steel Data Book: Effects of Alloying Elements
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