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  Effect of microstructure     2 of 5
The microstructure of a steel has a significant effect on the strength of a steel. For a steel with a certain composition the microstructure can be altered through varying the processing route used. For example for strip steels the coiling temperature can be controlled to give varying microstructures in the final coil with varying properties. Review hot rolling of strip steels for more information.

Have a go!In this example, different yield strengths can be achieved for a fixed composition by obtaining different microstructures. Drag the appropriate cooling procedure box to the correct location.

Changing the amount of second phase in a predominantly ferritic microstructure has a pronounced effect on the strength of the steel. This microstructural change can be achieved through control of composition and processing as mentioned earlier. For structural steels produced as plate and sections with a ferrite + pearlite microstructure relatively small changes in the amount of pearlite and ferrite at low levels (~5-10%) have a relatively small effect on the strength level, especially the yield strength as the surrounding ferrite yields first anyway.

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