Making the Suitable Selection Between Carbon Steel and Stainless Steel

The quality and success of a project may depend on the quality of the raw materials and supplies used. Steel is one of the most popular and advantageous materials today that may be used in making minor kitchenware and utensils and in the manufacturing of the biggest of planes.

Choosing the right kind of steel for any project will only ensure that the outcomes are following the aspirations and objectives. There are two major varieties of steel available viz. Stainless Steel and Carbon Steel. Both of these varieties have the same necessary ingredients, including carbon and iron.

However, the difference lies in the alloy contents. Carbon steel has more carbon and less of other alloys, including chromium, while stainless steel can only be called so when it has a chromium concentration of at least 10.5% or above. Due to the varying concentration of chromium, the physical and other characteristics of carbon steel and stainless steel start to vary.

Difference Between Carbon Steel and Stainless Steel-

We need to have a more in-depth knowledge of the characteristics and composition of these two materials to choose the best one for a given use and project.

Carbon Steel-

The carbon content in carbon steel may go up to 2% and be a minimum of 1.2%. Other alloy steels may also be included in the carbon steel variety. However, they should not have an alloy content exceeding 10.5% of the total composition. High carbon steel is harder due to its high carbon content and can retain its shape and resist aberrations better. The drawback of this hardness is extreme brittleness. Carbon steel will not bend but will crack when exposed to high tensile stress.

Stainless Steel-

Stainless steel will contain at least 10.5% of chromium and other elements including carbon and iron. Steel is more resistant to corrosion than carbon steel, as it reacts with oxygen and forms a passive layer on the surface, which is protective. That is why stainless steel forging is used to manufacture the outdoor furnishings and in products used in wet environments. 

The resistance of the steel to corrosion will increase with an increase in its chromium content and percentage. Therefore steel with a chromium content of 16% will be more resistant to corrosion and even more durable than steel with 10.5 percent of chromium content.

A greater concentration of chromium will also result in a higher cost of stainless steel. Stainless steel is also more ductile when compared to carbon steel, due to its higher nickel content. 

While most carbon steels have low carbon content and hence less tensile strength than stainless steel, there may be exceptions. For instance, carbon steel having around 30% of carbon strength may be treated readily with heat when compared to an austenitic stainless steel variety.

Apart from these mechanical properties and factors, there may also be other factors that may affect the choice. One of these factors is aesthetics and appearance, and stainless steel is often the preferred choice here as it can provide for particular shades and finishes that bring in a better cosmetic feel and appearance to the end product. Choosing between carbon steel or stainless steel may not be a daunting task when you are aware of the operational and project requirements and steel used in it.

You can also consult a leading forging company in India for industrial materials, equipment, and forgings to know which product will help you deliver the best and be more cost-effective for your project.  

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Written by Sunil Kumar

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