What is the Density of Steel in lb/in³ and kg/m³

Steel is a versatile and widely used material in various industries. It is found in industries from construction to automotive manufacturing. One of the fundamental properties of steel that makes it indispensable in industrial applications is its density. Knowing the density of steel is crucial for engineers, architects, and material scientists who work with this remarkable material. In this blog post, we will discuss the following:

  • The concept of density
  • The density of steel
  • The significance of steel density, and
  • Many more.

What is Density?

Density is a fundamental physical property of any material. It provides a measure of how much mass (or matter) is contained within a given volume. In simpler terms, it tells us how tightly packed the particles or molecules of a substance are.

The density of a material is defined as mass per unit volume. The formula for calculating density is:

Density (ρ) = Mass (m) / Volume (V)


  • ρ (rho) represents density in units like kilograms per cubic meter (kg/m³), pounds per cubic inch (lb/in³), or grams per cubic centimeter (g/cm³).
  • m represents mass, typically measured in kilograms (kg), pounds (lb), or grams (g).
  • V represents volume, usually measured in cubic meters (m³), cubic inches (in³), or cubic centimeters (cm³).

What is the Density of Steel?

Steel is an alloy composed primarily of iron, along with varying amounts of carbon and other elements. The density of steel can vary depending on its composition, but the most common type of steel used in construction and manufacturing is carbon steel. When purchasing steel pipes or any other industrial steel material, the density of steel plays a vital role. With an increase in density the weight increases which increases the cost as most materials are priced based on their weight.

Density of Steel

Density of Steel in lb/in³

There are various types of steel and the density of each type of steel varies depending on their chemical composition. Also, the density of steel is not constant. Various parameters affect the density of every material. Some of the factors that impact the steel density are:

  • Manufacturing technique
  • Alloying elements
  • Raw materials quality
  • Grain structure
  • Heat treatment that is performed on steel material
  • Rate of cooling during solidification
  • The temperature of the material, and
  • Pressure
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The density of carbon steel typically ranges from 0.28 lb/in³ to 0.2908 lb/in³. This means that for every cubic inch of steel, it has a mass of approximately 0.28 lb to 0.2908 lb.

Steel density in lb/in³ and kg/m³ for some of the popular types and grades are provided in Table 1 below

Types of Steels/Grades of SteelDensity (lb/in3)Density (Kg/m3)
Carbon Steel0.280 to 0.2917750 to 8050
Stainless Steel 304, 304L, 304N0.2867930
Stainless Steel 316, 316L, 316N0.298000
Stainless Steel 201, 202, 2050.287800
Stainless Steel 301, 302, 3030.2867930
Stainless Steel 305, 3080.298000
Stainless Steel 309, 3100.2867930
Stainless Steel 3140.2797720
Stainless Steel 317, 317L0.298000
Stainless Steel 3210.2867930
Stainless Steel 3290.287800
Stainless Steel 330, 347, 3840.298000
Stainless Steel 403, 405, 410, 416, 420, 430, 431, 439, 5010.287700
Stainless Steel 409, 414, 422, 429, 434, 436, 444, 5020.287800
Stainless Steel 4460.277600
Stainless Steel 904L0.2857900
Stainless Steel 22050.2837830
Tool Steel0.287810
AISI 1020, 1010, 10180.2847870
AISI 1045, 10450.2837850
ASTM A360.2837850
C45, S45C0.2837850
DSS S31803 / S322050.2857805
DSS S32750/S327600.2817800
Low Alloy & Alloy Steels0.277600
Table 1: Density of Steel

Density of Steel in kg/m³

The density of steel in lb/in³ can easily be converted into kg/m³ by multiplying by a factor of 27679.9 as 1 lb/in³ = 27679.9 kg/m³. The density values in kg/m³ for different types of steel types and grades are provided in Table 1 as well for your convenience.

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In a similar way, if you know the density of steel in kg/m³, you can easily convert it into lb/in³ by multiplying it with a factor of 0.0000361273 as 1 kg/m³=0.0000361273 lb/in³.

Significance of Steel’s Density

The density of steel is a crucial property that holds significant importance across various industries and applications. Here are some key aspects highlighting the significance of steel’s density:

Structural Integrity: Steel’s high density contributes to its exceptional structural strength. This property is particularly valuable in construction, where steel is widely used for building structures such as skyscrapers, bridges, and stadiums. The high density ensures that steel can bear heavy loads, resist deformation, and maintain its structural integrity over time.

Weight Efficiency: Steel’s density is a key factor in achieving an excellent weight-to-strength ratio. This means that steel can provide substantial strength while adding relatively little weight to structures or components. This is essential in applications like automotive manufacturing, aerospace, and shipbuilding, where minimizing weight is critical for efficiency and performance.

Durability: Steel’s density contributes to its exceptional durability. It can withstand extreme temperatures, pressure, and mechanical stress, making it ideal for use in challenging environments. This durability is particularly valuable in industries like oil and gas, where equipment must endure harsh conditions.

Safety: Steel’s density also plays a vital role in safety applications. For example, in the manufacturing of safety barriers, fences, and protective equipment, steel’s density ensures that these items can withstand impact and provide the necessary protection in various scenarios.

Versatility: The ability to control and manipulate steel’s density through alloying and manufacturing processes allows for the creation of specialized steel materials tailored to specific applications. This versatility makes steel suitable for a wide range of industries, from medicine to electronics.

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The density of steel is a fundamental property that underlies its strength, durability, and versatility. Engineers and scientists rely on this property when designing structures, vehicles, and various industrial equipment. Steel’s remarkable combination of high density and strength has made it an essential material in modern society, contributing to the construction of safer, more efficient, and environmentally sustainable infrastructure and products. As technology advances, we can expect steel and its alloys to continue playing a crucial role in shaping our world.

Anup Kumar Dey

I am Anup Kumar Dey, a Piping Engineer with more than 19 years of experience.

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