High carbon steel wire rod is a semi-finished product. Further processing, by techniques including cold drawing, cold rolling, cold upsetting, then produce several different end products such as wire ropes for bridges and prestressing steel wires for prestressed concrete in civil engineering construction and
For some applications they have to reach very high tensile strength levels, higher than 2,000 MPa, that can be reached by dry wire drawing from diameters around 5.00 to 7.94 mm to final diameters from 0.15 to 0.40 mm. Due to this intensive steel work hardening during drawing, the material has to be submitted to intermediate patenting treatment, getting back its capacity to be cold drawn again. These wires are submitted to strong stresses during drawing, that can cause breakage with a strong decrease of productivity and the reduction of final wire quality. The addition of up to 0.025% niobium for these products helps to improve the so called drawability of wire, reducing these breakages and minimizing the need of the intermediate patenting treatments.