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Introduction to the ASTM Designation System
Abstract:
ASTM specifications represent a consensus among producers, specifiers, fabricators, and users of steel mill products. ASTM’s designation system for metals consists of a letter (A for ferrous materials) followed by an arbitrary sequentially assigned number. These designations often apply to specific products, for example A548 is applicable to coldheading quality carbon steel wire for tapping or sheet metal screws.

Steel standards are instrumental in classifying, evaluating, and specifying the material, chemical, mechanical, and metallurgical properties of the different types of steels, which are primarily used in the production of mechanical components, industrial parts, and construction elements. The most widely used standard specifications for steel products in the United States are those published by ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials). ASTM specifications represent a consensus among producers, specifiers, fabricators, and users of steel mill products. In many cases, the dimensions, tolerances, limits, and restrictions in the ASTM specifications are similar to or the same as the corresponding items in the standard practices contained in the AISI Steel Products Manuals. Many of the ASTM specifications have been adopted by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) with little or no modification; ASME uses the prefix S and the ASTM designation for these specifications. For example, ASME-SA213 and ASTM A 213 are identical. ASTM’s designation system for metals consists of a letter (A for ferrous materials) followed by an arbitrary sequentially assigned number. These designations often apply to specific products, for example A548 is applicable to cold-heading quality carbon steel wire for tapping or sheet metal screws. Metric ASTM standards have a suffix letter M. Examples of the ASTM ferrous metal designation system, describing its use of specification numbers and letters, are shown below: Example - ASTM A 582/A 582M-95b (2000), Grade 303Se-Free-Machining Stainless Steel Bars: ‘A’ describes a ferrous metal, but does not sub classify it as cast iron, carbon steel, alloy steel, tool steel, or stainless steel; 582 is a sequential number without any relationship to the metal’s properties; M indicates that the standard A582M is written in rationalized SI units (the M comes from the word Metric), hence together 582/A582M includes both inch-pound and SI units; 95 indicates the year of adoption or last revision and a letter b following the year indicates the third revision of the standard in1995; (2000), a number in parentheses, indicates the year of last re-approval; Grade 300Se indicates the grade of the steel, and in this case, it has a Se (selenium) addition.

Superheater and Heat-Exchanger Tubes. Type is used to define the deoxidation practice. and forging products. tube. 410 and others are based on the SAE designation system for stainless steels (see SAE and former AISI description that follows). 48 ksi tensile strength (min). C) results in higher tensile or yield strength steels.Within the steel industry. within the ASTM standards. Grade TP304. Examples are found in the following ASTM specifications: ASTM A 335/A335-03. Although there are differences between the ASTM and traditional definitions of these terms ASTM have applied some loose rules to the use of this terminology in their designation system : Example 1 . Another use of ASTM grade designators is found in pipe. Alloy.ASTM A 106-02a Grade A. ASTM A 213/A213M-03a. Grade B. Seamless Ferritic Alloy-Steel Pipe for High Temperature Service. where the first letter P refers to pipe. ASTM A 336/A336M-03a. T refers to tube. Grade T22. and if it’s an unalloyed carbon steel. However. Grade C . and F refers to forging. Types 304. these terms were adopted and used to identify a particular metal within a metal standard and used without any strict definition. Seamless and Welded Austenitic Stainless Steel Pipe. Type. ASTM A 312/A312M-03. B. the terms Grade. Grade P22. Seamless Ferritic and Austenitic Alloy Steel Boiler.30%C (max). Grade B: 0. TP may refer to tube or pipe.25%C (max).Seamless Carbon Steel Pipe for High-Temperature Service: Typically an increase in alphabet (such as letters A. In this case: Grade A:0. and Class are generally defined as follows: Grade is used to describe chemical composition. . and Class is used to indicate other characteristics such as strength level or surface finish. for Pressure and HighTemperature Parts. 316. an increase in carbon content. Class F22-Steel Forgings.

65%) carbon steels which are produced for applications requiring good machinability are comprised within the 15xx series. . The SAE system uses a basic four-digit system to designate the chemical composition of carbon and alloy steels. of this designation indicates a carbon steel.e.Tungsten-chromium steels. Figure 1: Schematic Representation of AISI/SAE Steel Designation System Figure 1 demonstrates that the SAE-AISI system uses a four-digit number to designate a carbon and alloy steel and refers to its specific chemical composition. i. of this designation indicates a carbon steel. The first digit (1). 3 . From point of edition of the 1995 Iron and Steel Society (ISS) Strip Steel Manual.Introduction to the SAE-AISI Designation System Abstract: The SAE system uses a basic four-digit system to designate the chemical composition of carbon and alloy steels. The simplest system for designation of steel is schematically shown in Figure 1.e..Nickel steels. i. resulfurized carbon steels within the 11xx series.. It is worth noting however.Chromium steels. 6 .00% Mn maximum). Thus the plain carbon steels are comprised within the 10xx series (containing 1. the relationship between AISI and grade designations has been discontinued.Molybdenum steels. that there are also certain types of alloy steels that are designated by five digits (51XXX. The first digit (1). 9 . resulfurized and rephosphorized carbon steels within the 12xx series. The SAE-AISI system then classifies all other alloy steels using the same four digit index as follows: 2 . 7 .Nickel-chromium steels. carbon steels comprise 1xxx groups in the SAE-AISI system and are subdivided into four categories due to the variance in certain fundamental properties among them.Chromium-vanadium steels. carbon steels comprise 1xxx groups in the SAE-AISI system and are subdivided into four categories due to the variance in certain fundamental properties among them. certain grades of carbon and alloy steels have been designated by a four-digit AISE/SAE numerical index system that identified the grades according to standard chemical compositions. and nonresulfurized high-manganeze (up-to 1. 4 .Silicon-manganese steels. Since the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) ceased writing material specifications. For many years. the four-digit designations are referred to solely as SAE Designations. 5 . 52XXX).

77% Mo 0.75% Ni 3.50%.95%. C 1.95%. Cr 1.12% Ni 0.00% min Cr 1. Cr 0. Mo 0.00-1.75%.20% Ni 1. Mo 0.01%. Cr 0.35% Ni 0. The prefix E (electric-furnace steel) and the suffix H (hardenability requirements) are mainly applicable to alloy steels. Cr 0.015% W 1.25%. Cr 0.20% Ni 0. Mo 0.40%.50%.50-1. Cr 0.55%.82%. Cr 0-0. C 1. Example: SAE 5130 indicates a chromium steel alloy.65-0.30% of carbon.85-1.27-0.75%. Cr 0.00% min Cr 1.35%) for enhanced machinability.50%.00% min Cr 0. Cr 0.0005 and 0. Cr 0. The prefix M is used to designate merchant quality steel (the least restrictive quality descriptor for hot-rolled steel bars used in noncritical parts of structures and machinery).55%.80%. Mn 0.80%.25% Ni 1.65% Cr 0. and L when lead is added (between 0.35% Si 1.50%.80-1.40-0. Table 1 shows the SAE/AISI steel Numbering designation system Additional letters added between the second and third digits include B when boron is added (between 0.00% Ni 1.40-2.52% Cr 0.20-0. Mo 0.45%.45%. Mo 0. Cr 0. The full series of classification groups is shown in Table 2-4. Mo 0. Mn 1.82%. Cr 1. Mo 0. Cr 0.50-0.75% Ni 0.The second digit of the series indicates the concentration of the major element in percentiles (1 equals 1%).25% Cr 0.00%.50% Ni 5. containing 1% of chromium and 0.25% Click on the link to see a list of AISI-SAE standards covering the following material categories: Group of standards for structural and constructional steels Group of standards for stainless and heat resisting steels Group of standards for steel castings . Mo 0.20%.45%. Mo 0. Mo 0. The last two digits of the series indicate the carbon concentration to 0.25%.15 and 0.25% Ni 0. Mn 1. Cr 1.50%.60-0.02%.20-0. Cr 0. Mo 0.25% Mo 0. C 1. Mo 0.30%.12% Ni 0.10-0. Table 1: The SAE/AISI steel numbering designation system 10XX 11XX Carbon steels 12XX 15XX Manganese steels 13XX 23XX Nickel steels 25XX 31XX 32XX Nickel-chromium steels 33XX 34XX 40XX Molybdenum steels 44XX Chromium-molybdenum steels 41XX 43XX Nickel-chromium-molybdenum steels 47XX 46XX Nickel-molybdenum steels 48XX 50XX 51XX Chromium steels 50XXX 51XXX 52XXX Chromium-vanadium steels 61XX Tungsten-chromium steels 72XX 81XX 86XX Nickel-chromium-molybdenum steels 87XX 88XX Silicon-manganese steels 92XX 93XX 94XX Nickel-chromium-molybdenum steels 97XX 98XX Plain carbon. V 0.07% Ni 3.05% Cr 0.00% max Resulfurized free machining Resulfurized/rephosphorized free machining Plain carbon.55%.25% Ni 3.12% Ni 0.80% Ni 1.57% Ni 3.85%.20-0.50-0.65% Mn 1.00%.05%.30% Ni 1.40%.20%.55%.00%.65% Ni 3.65-0. Cr 0. Mo 0.12-0.003%) for enhanced hardenability.50%.

alloy steels /2CrMo4. the steels are divided into three main groups: low carbon steels /AISI1005 to AISI 1026. tool steels /DIN-EN 1. The aluminum industry uses aluminum as cast and wrought aluminum alloys. all metals can be classified such as ferrous. When carbon. stainless steels. IF. gold etc. S275. titanium. and high carbon steels /AISI1055 to AISI1095/. HSLA. The common pure metals are: aluminum. non-ferrous and alloys. titanium. Zinc. tin.Metal Composition Generally. The most used metals are: Iron. Based on carbon content. nickel. They may have small amounts of other metals or other elements added such as carbon. tungsten. manganese. chromium. Iron is the basic component of steel.0803 etc. According to common accepted CEN standard designation systems. Titanium. On the other hand. TWIP steels etc/. zinc. manganese. tungsten etc. steels for sheet and strip.0890. Each element that is added to the basic constituent of iron has some effect on the properties of the steels. phosphorus. These two classes can be further subdivided into families of alloys based on chemical composition and on temper designation. AISI/SAE W110. Non-Ferrous are metals which do not contain any iron as a component.1545. EN 1. Aluminum.. The alloying additions are responsible for many differences between the various types or grades of steels. silver and gold. lead. nickel. titanium etc. niobium (columbium). to give the required properties. according to EN standard. the steel grades are divided into following steel groups: non alloy steels /EN DC01-DC06. S235. Magnesium etc.1 %. Ferrous group of metals is composed mainly of iron. DIN/EN 1. copper. TRIP.2436 AISI/SAE D6/. sulfur. 25CrMo4 etc. etc. silicon./. the most widely used non-ferrous metals are aluminum. middle carbon steels /AISI 1029 to AISI 1053/. On the other hand. the result is an alloy known as steel. Alloys: An alloy is a new metal which is formed by mixing two or more metals and sometimes other elements together. the most common aluminum grades are: . a nonmetal is added to iron in amounts to 2. In connection with mentioned above steel is an alloy composed by iron and other elements such as carbon. Copper. and steels for electrical sheet and strip /EN 1. chromium././. copper.

etc. 3105.0. PB4C. 5086 / 6xxx Series: /6061. 1230. Ti-11Sn-5Zr-2. Proof gold is even finer.2Si (IMI679). 24 karat (24K or 24 K) gold is as pure as gold for jewelry gets. 206.95% purity.5Sn-Zr-1Nb (IMI829). 8079. 852. 1100. 851.42 % zinc (CuZn28. TIMETAL 1100 etc. 710.0.5Al-3.1xxx Series: / 1050.8Al-4Sn-3.0. 8111. A360.). . Brasses are usually yellow in color. but also aluminum (AB1C. 6063/ 7xxx Series: /7075. 2014. 711. Ti-6Al-5Zr-0. 3004. A Brass is a copper-zinc alloy with 5 .7% pure gold. 390. 4043. 224. 5052. 1060. 201. 1350 etc. 24K gold is also called fine gold and it is greater than 99. AB2C) and leaded (LG1C.). 1145. 4145.0. Ti5. High temperature alloys like Ti-6Al-2Sn-4Zr-2Mo. 2219.0 etc. LG2C. with over 99. most often tin (CuSn6. Manganese(HTB1.5Al1Mo-0. but it is only used for standardization purposes and is not available for jewelry. The purity or fineness of gold in the jewelry is indicated by its karat number.0.0. 383. The most widely used Copper and its alloys are in forms of brasses and bronzes. HTB3 ). The German name is Messing (Ms58 = CuZn42). 242.7Nb (IMI 834). CuSn14 etc. 5083. PB3. 4643 etc. CuSn10.5Mo-Si (IMI685). 850.0 etc/ 8xxx Series: /8006.LG3C.0/ Regarding to the properties.0. CuZn37./ 3xxx Series: /3003. 1200. 7049. 385.0/ 4xxx Series: /4032. HTB2. 7050.)./ 2xxx Series: /2011. Ti-5.0. 2018. 2319.5Zr-0.). titanium and titanium alloys can be divided into three main groups: 8Al-1Mo-1V. phosphorus (PB1C. Ti-6Al-2Sn-4Zr-6Mo. LPB1C etc. 2017. CuZn42 etc. A bronze is an alloy of copper and other metals. 2124./ 5xxx Series: /5005.0. 203.

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