Hot-Rolled Steel Grades

According to the World Steel Association, there are more than 3,500 different steel grades, each of which has unique physical and chemical properties. This broad variety makes steel suitable for a wide range of applications.

Hot-rolled steel is one of the most frequently used types of steel; its excellent formability enables it to be manufactured into bars, sheets, tubes, and various other components. It is available in numerous grades, which find use in various applications.

Overview of Hot-Rolled Steel

Hot-rolled steel is carbon steel that has been heated to above its recrystallization point (typically at or above 1,700° F), flattened to the desired size and thickness by high-speed rollers, and worked into the necessary form (e.g., bar, plate, sheet). It can be low-carbon (containing up to 0.3% carbon), medium-carbon (containing 0.3–0.6% carbon), or high-carbon (containing more than 0.6% carbon). The processed material exhibits excellent mechanical properties at a lower cost than cold-rolled steel, which makes it an appropriate choice for many applications, including construction, railroad tracks, and sheet metal. However, since the process can cause scaled surface textures and/or material shrinkage, the material is best suited for applications that do not have tight tolerances or strict surface finishing requirements.

What Is the Steel Hot Rolling Process?

The process of making hot-rolled steel is as follows:

  1. Heating the steel to above its optimal rolling temperature
  2. Forming and rolling the steel into a large rectangular piece
  3. Feeding the piece through a series of roll mills to form and stretch it into a thin strip
  4. Water cooling the strip at the rate needed to achieve the desired metallurgical properties
  5. Winding it into a coil (if needed)

Common Hot-Rolled Steel Grades

Hot-rolled steel is available in many grades or standards set by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) or the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). Some of the most widely used are:

  • A36: This is one of the most popular hot-rolled steel grades as it is weldable and machine washable and has excellent mechanical properties.
  • C1010 and C1018: These hot-rolled steel grades are more formable, machinable, and weldable than alloy and high-carbon steels. The main difference between them is carbon content; C1010 has between 0.08% to 0.13% carbon content by weight, while C1018 has between 0.14% to 0.20% carbon content by weight.
  • A1011: This versatile hot-rolled steel grade is widely used in automobile bodies, metal fabrication, and sheet metal structural applications.
  • C1026: This hot-rolled steel grade is AISI-designated. It has highly similar mechanical and chemical properties to A36 but a slightly lower carbon content. It is used for furniture, automotive components, structures, and more.
  • A500: This hot-rolled steel grade is also a low-carbon alloy. It is solely used for tubing.
  • C1045: Like C1026, this hot-rolled steel grade is AISI designated. However, it is medium-carbon steel, which means it offers greater strength.
  • C1141: This medium-carbon hot-rolled steel grade contains manganese and sulfur, which make it easier to machine.

Learn More About Hot-Rolled Steel From McDonald Steel

Want to learn more about hot-rolled steel? Ask the experts at McDonald Steel. We are tooled to roll over 500 symmetrical and asymmetrical hot-rolled steel shapes. Our products find application in a diverse range of markets, where they serve as ideal alternatives to forged, cast, extruded, cold drawn, and machined steel components. For additional information on hot-rolled steel and the various grades available, contact us today.


McDonald Steel and the $1 Trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill

On Nov. 15, 2021, President Joe Biden signed the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act into law, representing an increase of $550 billion in infrastructure investment. This law aims to modernize current infrastructure and expand roads, internet coverage, wildfire prevention, and other infrastructure projects across the country.

Infrastructure Budget Breakdown

Introduced in the spring of 2021, the bill is part of a long-term plan to revamp the country’s infrastructure, likely to take place over the next five years and beyond. Funding will travel directly from federal to local government agencies.

Of the total $1.2 trillion budget, transportation makes up $284 billion. This money will funnel to the Department of the Interior, Department of Transportation, Environmental Protection Agency, and state governments. 

The largest single portion of the money—$110 billion—will fund bridges, roads, and highways. Generally, state highway and transportation agencies will have a budget increase of 21%. The funding will primarily focus on improving bridges of economic significance, as well as strengthening roads and bridges to withstand damage from climate change.

The transportation budget also sets aside $11 billion for multiple transportation safety programs. The money will go towards reducing traffic fatalities and funding existing safety programs for highways, pipelines, trucks, and hazardous materials.

Efficient Infrastructure Design with McDonald Steel

The new bill will support McDonald Steel in our mission to strengthen the nation’s infrastructure. Our hot-rolled steel products are field-proven for national bridge and railroad applications. These products have been time-tested and have very rigorous performance requirements. 

For nearly a century, McDonald Steel has contributed to the country’s critical infrastructure—our products can be found in roads and bridges across the United States, including the Brooklyn Bridge, Peace Bridge, Ambassador Bridge, and Newburgh-Beacon Bridge. We are also committed to meeting the increasing demand for rail freight shipping. Track maintenance will become increasingly vital for safe and dependable railways.

High-Quality Steel Components from McDonald Steel

The new Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is great news for manufacturing industries, particularly those that work on infrastructure. McDonald Steel has a wide range of facilities, experience, and expertise to produce specialized steel parts for infrastructure projects. Our products come in a vast selection of sizes and configurations to meet any project and industry requirements. 

Our devoted team of engineers works with our customers’ engineers to design and develop a custom solution that’s right for them. Industry-leading companies depend on McDonald Steel because of our expertise in precision hot rolling technology, which can create cost-effective near net shapes that maximize performance and efficiency.

Our materials can meet or exceed the standards for any infrastructure project, including railroads, steel bridge constructions, bridge decking, and heavy equipment applications. To maintain the highest level of quality across our services and products, our company is ISO 9001:2015 certified.

If you would like more information about our products and capabilities, contact us today.

Mcdonald Steel And The 1 Trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill

Is Hot-Rolled Steel Right for My Project?

Rolling is a metalworking technique used to improve the grain orientation and strength of a material to facilitate future fabrication operations and applications. At its most basic, the process involves passing the material through a pair of rollers to achieve the desired shape and thickness. However, it can be adapted to prepare metal for various applications.

Rolling operations can be classified into two main categories: hot rolling or cold rolling. As suggested by the name, hot rolling involves working with metals that are heated above their recrystallization temperature, while cold rolling involves working with metals that are below their recrystallization temperature. The difference in material temperature at the time of rolling results in processed materials with distinct properties that make them suitable for different applications.

One of the most commonly rolled materials is steel. Below, we highlight the typical steps in a steel hot rolling operation and discuss how hot-rolled steel compares to cold-rolled steel.

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Understanding Hot-Rolled Steel

Steel hot rolling operations typically require processing temperatures over 1,700° F since that is the recrystallization temperature for most steels. These high temperatures make the material easier to form and work, allowing for greater freedom in creating shapes. It can be shaped into bars, sheets, tubes, and more.

The basic steps in a steel hot rolling process are as follows:

  1. The billet—i.e., a large, square or rectangular piece of metal—is heated and flattened to prepare it for the rollers.
  2. The heated and flattened material is pushed through a series of rollers at high-speed to achieve the desired dimensions.
  3. Once the material is the right size and thickness, it is further processed depending on its form. For sheet metal products, the material is rolled into coils and allowed to cool. For other product forms (e.g., bars and plates), the material is divided into sections and packaged for delivery.

    Hot steel being rolled to shape in mill in steel manufacturing plant.

Advantages of Hot-Rolled Steel vs. Cold-Rolled Steel

While hot-rolled steel has a few disadvantages, such as scaled surface textures (due to the material cooling from high temperatures), it also offers many advantages over cold-rolled steel. For example:

  • It requires less energy to make. The high-temperature conditions in hot rolling operations reduce the deformation resistance of the steel material, making it easier, faster, and, consequently, cheaper, to work.
  • It accommodates a wider range of sizes and shapes. Unlike the cold rolling process, the hot rolling process can handle various material sizes and shapes. It can perform small and large reductions and work the material into different forms, including, but not limited to, bars, billets, slabs, sheets, and tubes.

Hot-Rolled Steel Products at McDonald Steel

Hot-rolled steel is used in a wide range of applications where dimensional tolerances and surface finish quality are equally as important as strength and cost, with typical industries that utilize the material including construction and railroad, bridges and infrastructure, automotive, and many more.

Need a hot-rolled steel supplier for your next project? McDonald Steel has you covered. Equipped with tooling for over 500 symmetrical and asymmetrical hot-rolled steel shapes, we can provide materials for a variety of applications across multiple markets.

To learn more about our material offerings and how they can benefit your project, contact us today. For pricing details, request a quote.

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