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The properties of irons and steels are linked to the chemical composition, processing path, and resulting microstructure of the material. Processing is a means to develop and control microstructure by hot rolling, quenching, and so forth. This article describes the role of these factors in both theoretical and practical terms, with particular focus on the role of microstructure in various irons. The irons include bainite, pearlite, ferfite, martensite, austenite, ferrite-pearlite, ferrite-cementite, ferrite-martensite, graphite, and cementite. The article discusses the evolution of microstructural change in rail steels, cast iron, and steel sheet. It contains tables that list mechanical properties and compositions of selected steels. The article discusses the basis of material selection of irons and steels.

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