Tungsten is not an addition to low-alloy steels but is a vital alloying element in high-speed tool steels where it forms hard tungsten carbide particles.

Aluminum is employed as a deoxidizer in steel and is generally used in conjunction with silicon (also a deoxidizer). A deoxidizer removes undesirable oxygen from molten steel. Once removed, the steel is called ‘‘killed.’’ Aluminum–silicon deoxidized (killed) steels are known as fine-grain steels. Another important role of aluminum is the formation a aluminum nitride (AlN) precipitate. Many steels depend upon the formation of
AlN, especially steels used for sheet-forming applications requiring a high degree of formability such as parts that require deep drawing. These steels are called drawing-quality special-killed (DQSK) steels. The AlN precipitates help in the formation of an optimum crystallographic texture (preferred orientation) in low-carbon sheet steels for these deepdrawing applications. When aluminum combines with nitrogen to form AlN, the dissolved interstitial nitrogen is lowered. Lower interstitial nitrogen (interstitial nitrogen is also called free nitrogen) provides improved ductility. Aluminum can also substitute for silicon in electrical steels for laminations in electric motors and transformer cores.

Titanium is a strong deoxidizer but is usually not used solely for that purpose. Titanium is important in microalloyed steels (HSLA steels) because of the formation of titanium nitride (TiN) precipitates. Titanium nitrides pin grain boundary movement in austenite and thus provide grain refinement. Another role of titanium is in steels containing boron where a titanium addition extracts nitrogen from liquid steel so that boron, a strong nitride former, remains in elemental form to enhance hardenability. Because of its affinity for both carbon and nitrogen, titanium is important in IF steels. Interstitial-free steels are an important class of steels with exceptional formability. Titanium, being a strong carbide former, is used as a carbide stabilizer in austenitic stainless steels (AISI type 321), ferritic stainless steels (AISI type 409, 439, and 444), and precipitation hardening stainless steels (AISI type 600 and 635).

Bruce L. Bramfitt
International Steel Group, Inc.
Research Laboratories
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

Reprinted from Handbook of Materials Selection, Wiley, New York, 2002, by permission of the publisher.
Mechanical Engineers’ Handbook: Materials and Mechanical Design, Volume 1, Third Edition.
Edited by Myer Kutz
Copyright  2006 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

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