Worksheet: Steel

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


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?

  • AAnnealing
  • BHardening
  • CPassivation
  • DQuenching
  • ETempering


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.

Label 𝑎 𝑏 𝑐 𝑑 𝑒
Property Strength Reactivity Density Melting point Cost 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?

  • A 𝑎 and 𝑏
  • B 𝑑 only
  • C 𝑐 and 𝑒
  • D 𝑒 only
  • E 𝑏 and 𝑑

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

  • A 𝑐 and 𝑑
  • B 𝑎 and 𝑑
  • C 𝑏 and 𝑒
  • D 𝑎 and 𝑒
  • E 𝑏 and 𝑐

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

  • A 𝑑
  • B 𝑒
  • C 𝑎
  • D 𝑏
  • E 𝑐


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?

  • A To produce iron oxides
  • BTo force out solid impurities
  • C To rapidly cool the metal
  • D To react with carbon impurities
  • E To increase porosity


High-speed steels can be produced by alloying iron with a range of other metallic elements. Five common alloying elements are W , C r , C o , M o , and V .

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

  • A C r
  • B V
  • C C o
  • D W
  • E M o

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

  • A W
  • B V
  • C C o
  • D M o
  • E C r


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 < A < C
  • BA < C < B
  • CB < C < A
  • DC < B < A
  • EC < A < B

Place the rods in order of increasing strength.

  • AC < B < A
  • BC < A < B
  • CB < A < C
  • DB < C < A
  • EA < C < B


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