For the past 10 years, my bike has been a great companion for me on running errands to the market for the family especially during calamities where tricycles in the area are incapable of travelling because of floods. A simple ride from our house to the rice fields breathing the fresh cold air that touches my skin which helped me cope up with my problems cheering me up whenever I’m feeling sad. It is very special for me because it witnessed all the special memories of me and my late grandfather who was also fond of biking to different places where we go fishing and kiting. Sadly, I have to bid goodbye to it because it’s already rusty and worn out. I tried to repaint it to restore its former glory but after a year, rusts are eating it again and some of its sprockets are not in a good condition too. After my grandpa past away, I do not have someone to accompany me again on my adventure but today is different. I am planning to join a biking group that can bring me to different beautiful places here in the Philippines. My bike’s old and its frame was made of metal and I’m thinking to buy a frame that’s lighter. Hmm. I really don’t have an idea of what kind of bike frame to buy which prompted me to do a research about the kinds of steel.
Upon searching the net, this is what I’ve found:
Carbon steel is the product formed when carbon and iron is combined. Manufacturers add carbon to iron to solidify its structures to strengthen the metal. It can be further categorized into three groups depending on their carbon content:
Low Carbon Steels
It contains up to 0.3% of carbon. They are very ductile and are used to make flat-rolled sheets or steel strips that are utilized to create ships, wire products, car bodies, domestic appliances, tin plates and more. Low-carbon steels are cheaper, but they cannot be altered by heat treatment, which is why they generally are used for fabrication and paneling purposes.
Medium Carbon Steels
It contains 0.3 – 0.6% of carbon. This kind of steel is cheap and used in making things such as axles, gears, shafts, rails, pipelines and couplings.
High Carbon Steels
High carbon steels are very hard to weld because it contains more than 0.6% of carbon. It also has a higher composition of Manganese which increases its hardness. Steels of this type are very susceptible to heat which allows it to be shaped into different forms. High carbon steels have greater tensile strength which makes it suitable for making cutting tools, blades, springs and high-strength wires.
According to Wikipedia, “Every steel is an alloy but not all steels are alloy.” Alloy steels are steels produced with two or more elements other than carbon and iron. Common elements that are added to make alloy steels are molybdenum, manganese, nickel, silicon, chromium, boron and vanadium. The physical properties of these steels are modified by the other elements, to give them greater hardness, durability, corrosion resistance, or toughness as compared to carbon steel. To achieve such properties, these alloys often require heat treatment.
Alloys are subdivided into two groups, the high alloy steel and the low alloy steel. High alloy steels are steels that are alloyed more than eight of its weight. Those steels that are alloyed below 8% percent of its weight are called low alloy steel.
If the carbon level in a low alloy steel is in the medium to high range, it can be difficult to weld. To solve this problem, the carbon content is lowered to a range of 0.1% to 0.3% increasing its weldability. To form a high strength, low alloy steels, alloying elements are also reduced.
Do you believe that stainless steels are also alloys? It is a steel alloy with a minimum of 10% chromium content. It is commonly used in making table cutlery, jewelry, watch bands, surgical instruments, as well as in the aviation industry. Its familiar luster has also been appropriated for many famous architectural designs in the US.
Though I didn’t find exactly what I’m looking for a bike, I still learned something new about steels. Thanks for following this post!