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The Metallurgy of Carbon Steel

Carbon steel with an ultra-high carbon content, commonly known as “cast iron,” exhibits excellent hardness and brittleness and is ideal steel with significant applications.

NickelWhat is Carbon Steel?

Carbon steel is cast iron – a metal alloy of carbon and iron. But other elements like manganese and carbon are also present in the composition of the steel though they make few contributions to its properties.

These steels plays a wide variety of roles in many industries. They are primarily used in crimping, bending, and swaging processes since they are naturally highly malleable, weldable, and machinable.

Carbon steel has earned an impeccable track record and high demand in the industry these days due to its availability in almost all compositions. Though it is utilized in various industrial applications, it is handy in heat exchangers and boilers.

The Different Compositions of Carbon Steels

  • Mild Low Carbon Steels These are less strong but cheap and easy to shape. Their hardness is increased through carburizing. Strengthening low-carbon steels is not done through heat treatments but cold working. These types of steels are weak and malleable, but they do possess excellent toughness and ductility. Moreover, they are weldable, machinable, and relatively inexpensive in production.
  • Medium Carbon Steels These steels have balanced flexibility and strength. They also boast good wear resistance. Medium carbon steels are used for forging and manufacturing large car parts. To achieve enhanced mechanical properties, they are processed through heat-treated conditions, including quenching, austenitizing, and tempering. Once it is heat-treated, it can have tremendous load-carrying ability.
  • High Carbon Steels are solid and often used in high-strength wires and springs. The higher strength and hardness are obtained through an increase in carbon content. These steels tend to have an economical approach to improving performance.
  • Very High Carbon Steels These steels are already solid. They are often specially processed and intended to produce specific atomic and molecular microstructures.

Need Help Choosing? Learn how to buy the right steel bar!

Applications of Carbon Steel

Carbon steel has a lot of applications and uses, such as forging grades, spring steels (both round and flat-rolled), wire rope, rail steels, tire reinforcement, wear-resistant steels (plates and forgings), pre-stressed concrete, and high strength bars. Standard processes are implemented to charge and increase the performance of carbon steel by maximizing hardness and strength. The rise in carbon levels is one factor behind the increasing use of this material in large manufacturing industries and market sectors.

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