Carbon Steel vs. Stainless Steel | What Is Carbon Steel | What Is Stainless Steel
What Is Carbon Steel?
One of the trendy and widely used construction materials in the world contains steel. Steel are many types, and carbon steel is one of them.
Steel, which contains over 0.8% of carbon, can be classified as high carbon steel. This particular steel is approximately very hard and brittle. So it is likely to break smoothly when it is used inappropriately.
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Type of Carbon Steel
Steel, which contains carbon as the main alloying component, is known as carbon steel. Based on the content of its basic component, it can be classified as follows.
Low or Mild Carbon Steel
Low or mild steel contains 0.16-0.29% of carbon. This variety of steel is used for various uses as it is cheap compared to the other types of steel.
Mild steel has relatively lower durability and strength as it contains a lesser amount of the main component. Used in places when a large amount of steel is required, this variety of steel is applicable for various construction purposes.
2. Medium Steel
Another notable variety of carbon steel which is quite strong and resistant. It is generally used for automotive components and large metal structures.
3. High Carbon Steel
This variety of steel is very strong and is generally used for manufacturing high-strength wires and springs.
4. Ultra-High Steel
These steels are mainly used for non-industrial purposes as it is very hard and strong. It is used to produce axles, knives, and other hard materials.
Benefit of Carbon Steel
- This unique difference in steel has considerably many advantages compared to other types of metals. Its usage and features may change according to individual purposes.
- Because of its immense strength and durability, it is used to build masonry nails and cutting tools. Steel with a high content of carbon has huge hardness levels.
- It is, as a result, used in many industries to manufacture metal cutting tools and machinery.
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What Is Stainless Steel?
It is a mix of low carbon steel and chromium. It is the chromium content that provides the metal with its anti-corrosion and ‘stainless’ qualities.
Stainless steel is a steel mixture with chromium in it. It has a minimum of 11% chromium. It is various from carbon steel due to it has the chromium present it helps to stop the corrosion of the metal.
With carbon steel, it corrosion quickly when it is exposed to the air or moisture.
The Melting Point Range of Stainless Steel:
Fe (Pure iron) has a fixed melting point of 1535°C, Cr (chromium) 1890°C and Ni (nickel) 1453°C compared to a range of 1400-1450°C for type 304 SS (stainless steel).
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Type of Stainless Steel:-
- Martensitic Steel: Chromium and carbon
- Austenitic Steel: Chromium-nickel alloys
- Ferritic Steel: Plain chromium steels
- Duplex Steel: A mixture of austenitic and ferritic
- Precipitation Hardening Steel: Chromium-nickel
Benefit of Stainless Steel
- One of the benefits of stainless steel is such it has a high resistance to scaling and corrosion. It is known to be one of the most hygienic materials available on earth as it is non-porous in nature.
- It is quite easy to clean and maintain. It is, therefore, widely used in industries, hospitals, and other places that require clean and hygienic materials.
- Stainless steel is appearing sophisticated as it exudes a brilliant and clean appearance. It has superior durability and strength when compared to other materials.
- Selecting a suitable type of steel for a project is one of the most important decisions to make. However, before deciding between individual grades, you must first decide which type of steel to use, such as carbon steel or stainless steel.
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Differences Between Carbon and Stainless Steel
- Corrosion Resistance
- Mechanical Characteristics
- Cost Effect
#1. Corrosion Resistance
The most obvious difference between carbon steels and stainless steels is their ability to resist corrosion. Stainless steels, as the name suggests, are generally more resistant to two sheets of steel.
Both carbon sheets of steel and stainless steel contain iron that oxidizes when exposed to the environment, causing rust.
Chromium added to stainless steel makes it more corrosion resistant than carbon steels. Chromium will attach itself to oxygen more easily than iron.
When chromium attaches to oxygen, it forms a chromium oxide layer that protects the rest of the material from corrosion and corrosion.
Carbon steel usually does not have enough chromium to form this chromium oxide layer, allowing oxygen to bond with iron resulting in iron oxide or corrosion.
So if corrosion resistance is an important factor, then stainless steel is the way to go.
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#2. Mechanical Characteristics
It is difficult to make a comprehensive statement about the difference in mechanical properties between carbon steels and stainless steels because each has many different types and grades.
Stainless steels can be more ductile than carbon steels because they usually have higher nickel content. However, stainless steel has very brittle grades, such as martensitic grades.
Carbon steels with very small amounts of carbon do not match the tensile strength of some stainless steels due to alloying elements, which have several stainless steel grades that increase its strength.
If the job requires an aesthetic appeal, then the presence of metal must be considered. Especially finish stainless steels are generally preferred when cosmetic appearance is a factor.
Although both can be sanded and polished to look shiny, shiny, carbon steel requires a clear coat or paint after the polishing process.
If not implemented, carbon steel will begin to tarnish and eventually rust. Also, if the stainless steel is scratched, it will retain its luster in the scratched area, while a painted piece of carbon steel will have to be repainted, or it will be subject to corrosion.
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#4. Cost Effect
Although the costs of different grades vary, stainless steel is generally more expensive than carbon steels. This is due to the addition of a variety of alloying elements in stainless steel, including chromium, nickel, manganese, and others.
These additional elements add to the increased cost of all carbon steels. Carbon steel, on the other hand, is mostly made of relatively inexpensive iron and carbon elements.
If you are working on your next project with a tight budget, then carbon steel may be the best option.
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