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Carbon steel products are a type of steel that is primarily composed of carbon and iron, with small amounts of other elements such as manganese, silicon, sulfur, and phosphorus. The carbon content in carbon steel typically ranges from 0.05% to 2.0%. The level of carbon in the steel significantly influences its properties, such as hardness, strength, and ductility.

Carbon Steel Properties

Carbon steel products are one of the most widely used materials in various industries due to its versatility and affordability. Carbon steel & alloy steel both are types of steel alloys. But they are different in terms of properties, types & applications. It can be classified into several categories based on the carbon content and the purpose it serves:

Carbon content (wt.%)MicrostructurePropertiesExamples
Low-carbon steel< 0.25Ferrite, pearliteLow hardness and cost. High ductility, toughness, machinability and weldabilityAISI 304, AISI 316L
Medium Carbon Steel0.25 – 0.60MartensiteLow hardenability, medium strength, ductility and toughnessAISI 409

High Carbon Steel
0.60 – 1.25
PearliteHigh hardness, strength, low ductilityAISI 440C, EN 10088-3

Low Carbon Steel (Mild Steel)

Low-carbon steel contains carbon steel products with a maximum of 0.3% carbon. It is ductile and malleable, making it suitable for applications such as construction, automotive, and machinery.

Medium Carbon Steel

Medium carbon steel consists of a  moderate amount of carbon steel product (between 0.3% and 0.60%). It offers a balance of strength and ductility, making it suitable for applications like gears, axles, and springs.

High Carbon Steel

High carbon steel consists of a higher percentage of carbon (between 0.60% and 1.0%). It is known for its hardness and is often used for cutting tools, blades, and high-strength wires.

Types Of Carbon Steel & Its Uses

Low Carbon Steel Uses

Low carbon steel is the most common type of steel, accounting for about 90% of all steel produced. It is also the least expensive type of steel. Low carbon steel is made from iron ore and coal, and it contains less than 0.3% carbon. This makes it relatively soft and easy to machine. Low carbon steel is also ductile, which means that it can be easily formed into shapes without breaking.

Applications of Low Carbon Steel

  • Flat-rolled sheets and strips: Low carbon steel is the primary material used for the production of flat-rolled sheets and strips. These products are used in a wide variety of applications, including shipbuilding, wire manufacturing, vehicle bodies, and domestic appliances.
  • Wrought iron: Wrought iron is a form of low carbon steel with a minimal carbon content. It is valued for its hardness without brittleness, making it a good choice for applications such as fencing, gates, and railing.

Medium Carbon Steel Uses

Medium carbon steel is also known as mild steel. It is made from iron ore and coal, and it contains between 0.3% and 0.6% carbon. This makes it harder and stronger than low carbon steel, but it is still relatively easy to machine. Medium carbon steel is also ductile, which means that it can be easily formed into shapes without breaking. Medium carbon steel is widely used in construction, such as in buildings and bridges. It is also used in the manufacturing of cars, fridges, and washing machines.

Applications of Medium Carbon Steel

  • Structures: Medium carbon steel is widely used in the construction of buildings and bridges.
  • Axles, gears, shafts, and rails: Medium carbon steel is used in the manufacture of a wide range of machinery parts, such as axles, gears, shafts, and rails.
  • Pipelines and couplings: Medium carbon steel is used in the construction of pipelines and couplings.
  • Vehicles, refrigerators, and washing machines: Medium carbon steel is used in the manufacture of cars, refrigerators, and washing machines.

High Carbon Steel Uses

High carbon steel is made from iron ore and coal, and it contains between 0.6% and 1.0% carbon. This makes it very hard and strong, but it is also brittle. High carbon steel is not easy to machine, and it is not ductile. High carbon steel is used in the manufacturing of cutting tools, blades, punches, dies, springs, and high-strength wire.

Applications of High Carbon Steel

  • Cutting tools and blades: High carbon steel is the material of choice for crafting cutting tools and blades, such as knives, saws, and axes.
  • Punches and dies: High carbon steel is used in the manufacture of punches and dies.
  • Springs: High carbon steel is used in the manufacture of springs.
  • High-strength wire: High carbon steel is used in the manufacture of high-strength wire.
TypeAISI/ASTM nameCarbon content (wt.%)Tensile strength (MPa)Yield strength (MPa)Ductility (% elongation in 50 mm)Applications
Low10100.1032518028Automobile panels, nails, wire
Low10200.2038020525Pipes, structural steel, sheet steel
LowA360.2940022023Structural
LowA516 Grade 100.3148526021Low-temperature pressure vessels
Medium10300.27 – 0.3446032512Machinery parts, gears, shifts, axles, bolts
Medium10400.37 – 0.4462041525Crankshafts, couplings, cold headed parts.
High10800.75 – 0.8892444012Music wire
High10950.90 – 1.0466538010Springs, cutting tools

Conclusion

Carbon steel is widely used in the construction of buildings, bridges, pipelines, automotive components, machinery, and various tools. Its popularity stems from its strength, durability, and relatively low cost compared to other materials. However, it is important to note that carbon steel is susceptible to corrosion, so proper coatings or treatments are often applied to enhance its resistance to rust.

Kalpataru Piping Solutions is one of the leading manufacturers & suppliers of carbon steel products to provide various types of carbon steel needed for specific business needs. Contact us today!

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