Steel is one of the most widely used materials across many industries. But what is the difference between carbon steel and alloy steel?
Carbon steel is comprised of iron and carbon, where alloy steel is made of these two plus additional metals. There are several grades of steel, and these are classified based on the amount of carbon and alloy, and the chemical and physical structures and properties.
Carbon steel is categorised into three different types – Low, medium and high. It is matte and dull in appearance and is vulnerable to corrosion. It may contain other metals such as copper, manganese and silicon. Low carbon steel contains less than 30 percent carbon and is the most common option. Medium carbon contains up to 60 percent carbon as well as manganese and is much stronger than low carbon steel. High carbon steel is probably the hardest to work with and contains up to 1.5 percent carbon steel.
Alloy steel is a mixture of a number of different metals such as nickel, copper and aluminium. It is a much cheaper option than carbon steel, and it is used for mechanical work, pipelines, car parts and motors. The strength of alloy steel depends on the concentration of its elements.
Stainless steel is probably the most well-known grade and is used across various industries including household appliances, cooking utensils and splashbacks. It is strong and corrosion-resistant and can withstand high temperatures. There are more than a hundred grades of stainless steel and as such, it is the most versatile and customizable of steels.
Tool steel is the last of the four types, and so-called because it is used for tools such as stampers, cutters and moulding tools. It is hard, scrape and heat resistant and generally made up of a mixture of cobalt, vanadium, molybdenum and tungsten in varying amounts.
Should you require more information on the differences in properties of carbon versus alloy steel, Steelmor is one of the leading companies in the steel and metal manufacturing industry. Contact them on 011 747 5700 for friendly and professional services, and advice.Carbon versus Alloy