The following compilation of links on the left is an attempt to organize thinking on what alloys should be grouped together because of similar processing characteristics and which alloys require special attention and why. Individual alloy grades can be divided into categories with similar processing and control requirements with each specific alloy being recognized for the group it belongs to.
Generally, the alloy groups fall within specific ASTM specifications. Using ASTM specifications is another way to organize thinking about specific alloys and they must be referred to for specific quality requirements. Keep in mind that a specific alloy produced to one ASTM specification might cost more or less if it is produced to a different ASTM specification because of testing and quality assurance differences. This is particularly true with corrosion resistant steels and nickel base alloys. Another point to keep in mind about steels are that the cast versions usually have a “similar” wrought equivalent but that the specifics of the two are different.
The properties of any alloy are determined by the metallurgical structure of the alloy. This structure is developed primarily by the chemistry of the alloy and at times is modified by heat treatments to improve the alloy’s characteristics from an engineering performance standpoint. Most of the group names refer to the primary matrix structure (structure of the metal under a microscope) or major engineering characteristic.