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This article discusses the role of alloying in the production and use of carbon and low-alloy steels. It explains how steels are defined and selected based on alloy content and provides composition and property data for a wide range of designations and grades. It describes the effect of alloying on structure and composition and explains how alloy content can be controlled to optimize properties and behaviors such as ductility, strength, toughness, fatigue and fracture resistance, and resistance to corrosion, wear, and high-temperature creep. It also examines the effect of alloying on processing characteristics such as hardenability, formability, weldability, machinability, and temper embrittlement. In addition, the article provides an extensive amount of engineering data with relevance in materials selection.

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