Worksheet: Steel

In this worksheet, we will practice describing the types of steel and linking their applications to key physical and chemical properties.

Q1:

The mechanical properties of a steel include its stiffness, hardness, strength, and malleability. Which of the following is not a process for improving one of these properties?

  • APassivation
  • BTempering
  • CAnnealing
  • DQuenching
  • EHardening

Q2:

Structural materials are the materials used in an object to resist a force, such as the tension in a cable or the weight of a car on a bridge. Listed in the table are five properties of a structural material.

Label𝑎𝑏𝑐𝑑𝑒
PropertyStrengthReactivityDensityMelting pointCost per gram

Cans used for the storage of food and drink often consist of steel with a thin protective layer of tin.

For which of the listed properties does tin display a higher value than steel?

  • A𝑐 and 𝑒
  • B𝑒 only
  • C𝑎 and 𝑏
  • D𝑏 and 𝑑
  • E𝑑 only

Which two of the listed properties necessitate the use of steel in food cans?

  • A𝑎 and 𝑑
  • B𝑎 and 𝑒
  • C𝑏 and 𝑒
  • D𝑏 and 𝑐
  • E𝑐 and 𝑑

Which of the listed properties necessitates the use of tin in food cans?

  • A𝑎
  • B𝑒
  • C𝑏
  • D𝑑
  • E𝑐

Q3:

Steel is produced by blowing high-temperature air through molten pig iron, which is the impure iron generated in a blast furnace. What is the main purpose of air in this process?

  • ATo react with carbon impurities
  • BTo rapidly cool the metal
  • CTo force out solid impurities
  • DTo increase porosity
  • ETo produce iron oxides

Q4:

High-speed steels can be produced by alloying iron with a range of other metallic elements. Five common alloying elements are W, Cr, Co, Mo, and V.

Which of these five alloying elements has the largest effect on the density of the steel?

  • AW
  • BMo
  • CCr
  • DV
  • ECo

Which of these five alloying elements is also commonly used in the production of stainless steels?

  • AW
  • BCr
  • CCo
  • DV
  • EMo

Q5:

When a stretching force is applied to a steel rod, the rod extends. The rod breaks when it extends beyond a certain value. Shown in the graph are the extensions of three different carbon steel rods, A–C, with increasing force. For each rod, the extension was measured until the rod broke.

Place the rods in order of increasing initial stiffness.

  • AB < C < A
  • BC < B < A
  • CA < C < B
  • DC < A < B
  • EB < A < C

Place the rods in order of increasing strength.

  • AA < C < B
  • BC < A < B
  • CC < B < A
  • DB < A < C
  • EB < C < A

Q6:

Shown in the diagram are the metallic bonding energies and atomic arrangements in iron and iron carbide, a key component of steel.

How and why do the two materials differ in strength?

  • AIron is stronger because layers of iron atoms are not separated by carbon atoms.
  • BIron carbide is stronger because its atoms are more strongly bonded.
  • CIron carbide is stronger because layers shift over each other less easily.
  • DIron and iron carbide are similarly strong because both contain layers of iron atoms.
  • EIron is stronger because its bonds are more stable.

How and why do the two materials differ in malleability?

  • AIron and iron carbide are similarly malleable because both contain layers of iron atoms.
  • BIron carbide is more malleable because its bonds are less stable.
  • CIron carbide is more malleable because layers of iron atoms are separated by carbon atoms.
  • DIron is more malleable because its atoms are more weakly bonded.
  • EIron is more malleable because layers of atoms shift over each other more easily.

Most steels contain a mixture of iron and iron carbide. How does the strength and malleability of steel change with increasing carbon content?

  • AStrength decreases and malleability increases.
  • BStrength and malleability both decrease.
  • CStrength and malleability both increase.
  • DStrength increases and malleability decreases.
  • EStrength increases and malleability remains constant.

Q7:

Plotted in the graph are the pressures required to crack three steel reactors, A–C, at varying temperatures. The reactor walls are of equal thickness but consist of different types of steel.

The reactors are heated to 200C and the pressure is gradually increased. In which order do the reactor walls crack?

  • AA, C, B
  • BC, B, A
  • CA, B, C
  • DC, A, B
  • EB, A, C

The reactors are pressurized to 400 bar and the temperature is gradually increased. In which order do the reactor walls crack?

  • AA, B, C
  • BC, A, B
  • CB, A, C
  • DB, C, A
  • EC, B, A

The reactors are heated to 80C. To the nearest 10 bar, what is the maximum pressure at which all the reactors could operate without cracking?

The reactors are pressurized to 200 bar. To the nearest 10C, what is the maximum temperature at which all the reactors could operate without cracking?

Q8:

The properties of steel may be modified by the addition of other alloying elements. Shown in the graphs are the changes in the strength, brittleness, and ductility of steel with increasing quantities of an alloying element X. Note that the maximum content of X shown in the graphs does not represent the highest possible value.

Based on the data in the graphs, which of the following conclusions is valid?

  • AStrength reaches a minimum when the steel contains 0.7 wt % of X.
  • BDuctility reaches a minimum when the steel contains 1.0 wt % of X.
  • CBrittleness reaches a minimum when the steel contains 0.4 wt % of X.
  • DBrittleness reaches a maximum when the steel contains 1.0 wt % of X.
  • EStrength reaches a maximum when the steel contains 0.0 wt % of X.

Which of the following conclusions is valid for steels containing less than 1.0 wt % of X?

  • ABrittleness is maximized and ductility is minimized when no X is present.
  • BStrength is minimized and ductility is maximized when no X is present.
  • CBrittleness and ductility are both maximized when no X is present.
  • DStrength is maximized and ductility is minimized when no X is present.
  • EStrength and brittleness are both minimized when no X is present.

Which of the following conclusions is always valid for steels containing less than 0.6 wt % of X?

  • AStrength and ductility are negatively correlated.
  • BBrittleness and ductility are negatively correlated.
  • CStrength and ductility are positively correlated.
  • DBrittleness and ductility are positively correlated.
  • EStrength and brittleness are negatively correlated.

Q9:

The carbon content of steel affects its strength, stiffness, hardness, and brittleness.

Which of the following is the best definition of strength?

  • AThe energy released when a material breaks
  • BThe resistance of a material to stretching under tension
  • CThe resistance of a material to scratching
  • DThe tendency of a material to shatter under impact
  • EThe force needed to break a material

Which of the following is the best definition of stiffness?

  • AThe resistance of a material to scratching
  • BThe resistance of a material to stretching under tension
  • CThe energy released when a material breaks
  • DThe tendency of a material to shatter under impact
  • EThe force needed to break a material

Which of the following is the best definition of brittleness?

  • AThe energy released when a material breaks
  • BThe force needed to break a material
  • CThe tendency of a material to shatter under impact
  • DThe resistance of a material to stretching under tension
  • EThe resistance of a material to scratching

In low-carbon steels, which of these quantities decrease with increasing carbon content?

  • AStrength, stiffness, and brittleness
  • BNone
  • CStrength only
  • DStrength and stiffness
  • EBrittleness only

Q10:

Ship hulls can be made of galvanized steel.

Based on their physical properties, what is the main advantage of steel over aluminum in this application?

  • AIt is less easily cracked.
  • BIt is less susceptible to biofouling.
  • CIt is easier to shape.
  • DIt is less susceptible to corrosion by water.
  • EIt is more buoyant.

Based on their physical properties, what is the main advantage of low-carbon steel over high-carbon steel in this application?

  • AIt is easier to shape.
  • BIt is more buoyant.
  • CIt is less susceptible to biofouling.
  • DIt is less susceptible to corrosion by water.
  • EIt is less easily cracked.

Which potentially hazardous process does galvanization of a steel hull protect against?

  • ARusting
  • BCracking
  • CBiofouling
  • DPassivation
  • EBuckling

Why is it more important to have a galvanized steel hull in the sea than in a river?

  • ASeawater has a lower pH.
  • BSeawater is more variable in temperature.
  • CWaves in the sea are stronger.
  • DPlants in the sea grow more rapidly.
  • ESeawater has a higher salt concentration.

Q11:

Shown in the graph are the changes in hardness, strength, and malleability of steel with increasing amounts of an alloying element. The compositions of three steels A, B, and C are labeled.

For which of the following applications is steel A most suitable?

  • AFurniture
  • BSoup cans
  • CReinforcing concrete
  • DKnives
  • EElectrical wiring

For which of the following applications is steel B most suitable?

  • ADrill bits
  • BFencing
  • CRailway tracks
  • DElectrical wiring
  • ESoup cans

For which of the following applications is steel C most suitable?

  • ACar bodies
  • BFurniture
  • CDrill bits
  • DRailway tracks
  • EWater boilers

Q12:

Which of the following is the most suitable application of low-carbon steel?

  • ASoda cans
  • BCables in bridges
  • CVehicle axles
  • DSprings
  • EBicycle frames

Q13:

Which of the following is the most suitable application of a high-carbon steel?

  • AMedical implants
  • BRoofing material
  • CFood packaging
  • DAircraft wings
  • ESaws

Q14:

Cutlery is often made from a particular iron-containing material X.

Identify material X.

  • AStainless steel
  • BLow-carbon steel
  • CWrought iron
  • DHigh-carbon steel
  • ECast iron

Which property of material X makes it much more suitable than other iron-containing materials for this application?

  • AFood may be cleaned off more easily.
  • BIt is more resistant to melting by hot food.
  • CCutlery may be shaped more easily.
  • DIt is more resistant to bending.
  • EHeat from food is conducted less readily.

Salts in food may corrode the metal in some cutlery. What step in the processing of material X helps improve its corrosion resistance?

  • AAlloying with another metal
  • BIron oxide formation
  • CCoating with paint
  • DAlloying with carbon
  • ECoating with another metal

Q15:

When compared with other types of steel, which property of stainless steel makes it particularly well suited for the manufacture of hot water pipes?

  • ACorrosion resistance
  • BDensity
  • CMelting point
  • DStrength
  • EMalleability

Q16:

What is the name of the main alloying element in most steels?

  • AChromium
  • BCarbon
  • COxygen
  • DSilicon
  • EIron

Q17:

Which of the following can not be used to prevent the rusting of steel?

  • APainting
  • BPolishing
  • CDirect current
  • DOiling
  • EGalvanization

Q18:

The descriptions of five different iron-containing materials are listed in the table shown.

MaterialDescriptionAlloying Element Content (wt.\%)
aVery hard, brittle, very strong1.0
bHard, not brittle, strong11
cVery hard, brittle, weak3.5
dHard, not brittle, strong0.40
eSoft, not brittle, weak0.080

Which of the materials is most likely to be cast iron?

  • Ad
  • Bb
  • Ce
  • Dc
  • Ea

Which of the materials is most likely to be wrought iron?

  • Aa
  • Be
  • Cd
  • Dc
  • Eb

Which of the materials is most likely to be mild steel?

  • Ac
  • Bd
  • Ca
  • De
  • Eb

Which of the materials is most likely to be high-carbon steel?

  • Aa
  • Bd
  • Ce
  • Db
  • Ec

Q19:

The physical properties of five different metals, AE, are shown in the table.

MetalDensity (g/cm3)StrengthMalleabilityCorrosion ResistanceCost
A8.9LowVery highHighHigh
B7.6HighLowLowModerate
C7.9ModerateHighLowLow
D7.3ModerateLowLowLow
E8.2HighModerateHighHigh

Which of the metals is most likely to be low-carbon or mild steel?

  • AE
  • BA
  • CB
  • DC
  • ED

Which of the metals is most likely to be high-carbon steel?

  • AE
  • BC
  • CB
  • DD
  • EA

Which of the metals is most likely to be stainless steel?

  • AE
  • BA
  • CB
  • DC
  • ED

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