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What is the difference between ASTM A36 and A588?

What is the difference between ASTM A36 and A588?

ASTM A36 and ASTM A588 are two different specifications for steel used in various applications. Here are the key differences between ASTM A36 and ASTM A588:


ASTM A36: It is a low carbon steel that typically contains up to 0.29% carbon, along with manganese, phosphorus, sulfur, silicon, and copper as residual elements.

ASTM A588: It is a high-strength, low-alloy structural steel that primarily consists of iron, chromium, nickel, and copper as alloying elements.

Strength and Mechanical Properties:

ASTM A36: It has a minimum yield strength of 250 megapascals (MPa) and a minimum tensile strength of 400 MPa. It exhibits good ductility and can be easily machined, welded, and formed.

ASTM A588: It offers higher strength compared to ASTM A36, with a minimum yield strength of 345 MPa and a minimum tensile strength of 485 MPa. It provides excellent atmospheric corrosion resistance due to its composition.

Corrosion Resistance:

ASTM A36: It is not specifically designed for corrosion resistance and may require additional protective measures in corrosive environments.

ASTM A588: It is specifically formulated to provide superior resistance to atmospheric corrosion. It forms a protective oxide layer on the surface, which helps prolong its lifespan in outdoor applications.


ASTM A36: It is widely used in general structural applications such as buildings, bridges, and machinery parts.

ASTM A588: It is commonly used for outdoor structures exposed to the elements, including bridges, buildings, transmission towers, and freight cars.

It's important to note that these differences highlight the contrasting characteristics of ASTM A36 and ASTM A588. When selecting the appropriate steel grade for a specific application, it is crucial to consider the project requirements, environmental conditions, and consult with professionals or steel suppliers for accurate material selection.

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