Carbon Steel

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About Carbon Steel

Steel has become an integral part of our daily lives. From a tiny sewing needle to satellites, the use of steel can be seen in all kinds of industries. According to its chemical composition, steel can be divided into four basic categories: carbon steel, alloy steel, stainless steel, and tool steel. Carbon steel is the most commonly used steel amongst these categories and contributes to a large portion of the steel manufactured globally.

Manufacturing Process and Types of Carbon Steel

The manufacturing process of carbon steel is no different from any other type of steel’s manufacturing process. Carbon steel is produced using hot-rolling, cold-rolling, or extruding process, to form the steel into required shapes and sizes. Carbon steel is further categorised as low carbon steel, medium carbon steel, high carbon steel, and ultra-high carbon steel. The categorisation of carbon steel is done based on the amount of carbon content present in the steel metal.

Low carbon steel made up of 0.05% to 0.25% carbon and can contain up to 0.4% manganese. This type of steel is also known as plain steel or mild steel. It is a low-cost material and is relatively easy to shape. While the low carbon steel is not as hard as higher carbon steels, the carburization process can help increase its surface hardness. The strength of low carbon steel cannot be increased using heat treatment, but can be done by using the cold-working process for this steel. This steel is soft and low in strength. It is ductile and tough, while being weldable, easy to machine, and cost-effective to produce. This steel is largely used for fencing, gates, railings, and body parts of vehicles.

Medium carbon steel is made up of 0.29% to 0.54% carbon and contains 0.60% to almost 1.65% of manganese. This steel is ductile and strong in nature and has long-wearing properties. The mechanical properties of medium carbon steel can be vastly improved by using the process of austenizing, quenching, and tempering. The strength of this steel is very high and due to this characteristic strength, this steel is used to manufacture axles, gears, and shafts.

High carbon steel is made up of 0.55% to 0.95% carbon and contains 0.30% to 0.90% of manganese. This steel is very strong in nature and can hold a shape memory which makes it ideal to manufacture springs. Having a good quality of wear resistance, the high carbon steel is used in making cutting tools, vice jaws, chains, gear wheels, brackets, saw and hacksaw blades, pneumatic drills, wheels for rails, and high strength wires. Ultra-high carbon steel is made up of 0.96% to 2.1% carbon. The high carbon content in this steel provides extreme strength to this metal while simultaneously making it brittle. Due to its brittle nature, this steel requires special handling. Ultra-high carbon steel has greater strength, hardness, and ductility in comparison to high carbon steel and has excellent tensile ductility under intermediate to ambient temperatures. This steel can be easily laminated with different metals to achieve high impact resistance, high tensile ductility, and greatly improved behaviour of fatigue.

What is Carbon Steel Used for?

Carbon steel is primarily used as structural steel and has various shapes produced with it. There are, however, other uses of carbon steel such as low carbon steel flat plates in shipbuilding, pipes, pressure vessels, petrochemical well walls, household cookware items, knives, tools, gratings, expanded metal, and many such products. Given below is a list of the industry-based uses of carbon steel.

Construction The construction industry uses carbon steel for its structural works in various forms. Carbon steel bars, pipes, tubes, plates, sheets, structural angles, beams, tees and channels, gratings, expanded metal mesh, and rebar/rerods are some of the structures manufactured using this type of steel.

Shipping Carbon steel flat sheets and plates are used in this industry for building the body and deck, while carbon steel seals are used for securing steel strappings.

Packaging Packaging steel is made from low carbon steel cold-rolled into strips and given a surface finish.

Automotive Mild steel or low carbon steel is used to manufacture automotive chassis and vehicle bodies.

Oil and Gas The oil and gas industry relies heavily on carbon steel products for its various operations which involve drilling, processing, transportation, and storage of petroleum products. Carbon steel, with its high carbon content modified to suit the oil and gas production requirements, provides the required structural strength and thermal property while being cost-effective.

Apart from the industrial sectors listed above, there are many other industries that use the different kinds of carbon steel in one way or the other. Carbon steel, though also known as plain steel in the market, has more uses than speciality alloy steels or other materials. It continues to be the big boss in steel category and will continue to evolve with future innovations due to its composition simplicity and ability to be recycled with no loss of its original strength.

Related Metal Products Supplied by SteelScout

We also supply a wide range of mild steel including Structural Sections, Tubing, Sheet, Merchant Bar, Re-Rolled Steel, Hollow Sections, Rebar, Flooring and Mesh, available in standard as well as custom dimensions for all your project needs. Simply tell us what you need, and we will provide you with a quote in 20 minutes to 3 hours. Once we receive the purchase order, we will complete your order and deliver to suit your requirements.

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