What is Carbon Steel & Classification of Carbon Steel – Carbon Steel vs Stainless Steel | CNCLATHING

2021.4.25

Carbon steel and stainless steel are both versatile materials, but when you want to choose one alloy for a particular job, you need to consider all the factors. Carbon steel vs stainless steel, which is the best option? In this article, we’ll break down carbon steel and talk about the difference between stainless steel and carbon steel.

What is Carbon Steel?

Carbon steel is a type of steel with carbon content from about 0.05% up to 3.8% by weight, typically between 0.12% and 2%. Most steels with more than 2.5% carbon content are made using powder metallurgy. The high carbon content has a significant influence on the characteristics of steel, especially the strength and hardness, which makes high-carbon steel a great material for making knives, swords, and bladed weapons. Carbon steel in the broad sense refers to steel that is not stainless steel, so it may include alloy steels.  

The statement of carbon steel definition from AISI including:

– No minimum content is required for chromium, cobalt, molybdenum, nickel, niobium, titanium, tungsten, vanadium, zirconium, or any other element to be added to obtain a desired alloying effect;

– The specified minimum for copper does not exceed 0.40% or the maximum content specified for any of the following elements does not exceed the percentages noted: manganese 1.65 %; silicon 0.60 %; copper 0.60 %.

Classification of Carbon Steel - Types of Carbon Steel

According to the carbon content, carbon steel can be divided into the following four types: 

1.Low-carbon steel: 0.05 to 0.25% carbon content. Low carbon steels are more common than high carbon due to the lower production costs, greater ductility, and ease of manufacturing. Low carbon steel easy to machine and weld because of the ductility. 

2.Medium-carbon steel: about 0.3 to 0.5% carbon content. Good wear resistance, used for forgings, automotive parts.  

3.High-carbon steel: about 0.6 to 1.0% carbon content. High strength, good abrasion resistance,  used for springs, edged tools, and high-strength wires.

4.Ultra-high-carbon steel: about 1.25 to 2.0% carbon content. Used for special purposes like knives, axles, and punches. 

Carbon Steel vs Stainless Steel - Difference Between Stainless Steel and Carbon Steel

The basic elements of steel are iron and carbon, steels with a higher carbon content are harder and more brittle, on the contrary, steels with a lower carbon content are more ductile and tough. Stainless steel is a type of steel contains iron, carbon, and at least 10.5% chromium content, the protective layer of chromium set a barrier between the iron in metal and water in the environment. There are some differences between carbon steel and stainless steel, but one is not necessarily better than the other. Every material has its pros and cons. The key is to make the steel match the work requirements. Stainless steel machining services at Junying can offer you the most cost-effective solution for your production needs. 

1. Corrosion resistance. Carbon steel may rust and corrode when exposed to moisture, even a little amount of moisture, while stainless steel resistant to corrosion and rust because when the high chromium content in steel attaches to the oxygen, a chromium oxide layer will be generated to protect the rest of the material.  

2. Strength. Carbon steel is stronger and more durable than stainless steel. Carbon steels with very low amounts of carbon may not match the tensile strengths of some stainless steels.

3. Ductility. Stainless steel is usually more ductile than carbon steel because of the higher amount of nickel. But the martensitic grade stainless steel is very brittle. 

4. Appearance. Stainless steels generally have a more aesthetic appearance. Carbon steel will tarnish and rust if it is not applied with a coat or paint, but stainless steel will retain its luster even it is scratched. 

5. Price. Stainless steel is usually more expensive than carbon steel because the addition of various alloying elements in stainless including chromium, nickel, manganese, and more increases the cost. Carbon steel is mainly composed of relatively cheap iron and carbon.

6. Applications. Different grades of stainless steel are widely used in the automotive industry, aircraft construction, transporting, medical uses, architecture, food, and catering industry. Carbon steels are applicable to automobile body components, pipes, bridges, architectural and structural uses, food cans, railway tracks, train wheels, gears, machinery parts and cutting tools.