Metallurgy of Steel: Principles

This online course teaches the phases and microstructures that form in steels, their effects on steel properties, the microstructure changes that occur when steel is heated and cooled, the effects of carbon content and cooling rate on the microstructures that form. Also, how to read the iron-carbon phase diagram will be discussed. All this information is applicable to understanding the effects of steel heat treating processes and heat treating process parameters on the microstructure and properties of heat treated plain carbon, low-alloy, and tools steels. The course is divided into six modules followed by a quiz.

What Will You Learn

By participating in this online course, you will be able to:
  • Explain the designation systems used for steel alloys
  • Identify the alloying elements and carbon content in carbon and low-alloy steels based on their alloy designations
  • Describe the common metallurgical phases and microstructures found in steels
  • Identify six phase fields on an iron-carbon phase diagram
  • Explain the effects of the different microstructures that form in steel on steel strength and hardness
  • Explain the metallurgical changes that occur inside steel during heat and cooling
  • Explain how the iron-carbon phase diagram and time-temperature-transformation diagrams are used to predict the phases present in a steel based on a heat treating thermal cycle
  • Relate the interactions between heat treating temperature, heat treating time, cooling rate, and steel composition on a steel’s microstructure and properties

Course Information

3.00 Hours
90 Days

Is This Course For You

This online course is targeted to design, manufacturing, and quality engineers, and sourcing specialists. It is suggested that, as a prerequisite, you have basic knowledge of solid solution, substitutions, interstitials, diffusion, effects of process temperature and time on diffusion and metallurgical changes, metallurgical phases, grains, grain boundaries, dislocations or the concepts covered in our Principles of Metallurgy online course.

Have colleagues who need this course? See Special Offers to the right.

Be sure to click on the Requirements tab to make sure you are properly equipped to interact with this course.

Materials Provided

  • 90 days of single-user access (from date of purchase) to the three hour presentation
  • Integrated knowledge checks to reinforce key concepts
  • Course workbook (.pdf, dowloadable)
  • Certificate of Completion (upon completion of all course content and a score of 70% or higher on the learning assessment)

Course Requirements

  • Windows or macOS
  • Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari (Other OSs and browsers including mobile devices are not supported by may work)
  • Broadband-1Mbps minimum


  • Steel types and designations
  • Metallurgical phases that form in steel and their effects on properties
  • Steel phase diagram
  • Metallurgical changes in carbon steel during cooling
  • Metallurgical changes in carbon steel during heating
  • Course review

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