Carbon Steel vs Stainless Steel

Carbon Steel vs Stainless Steel

  Steel is the found in all kinds of products, from aerospace,automobile to daily life kitchenware. Steel is a term of description of metal alloys. It has hundreds of application-specific grades. However, most of us understand steel in two main categories: carbon steel and stainless steel.In this article,we will discuss the difference between carbon steel and stainless steel. The benefits of carbon steel and stainless steel,The applications and how to choose it.


  Stainless steel

  As its name, no rust.Actually because of Chromium element.The most difference between stainless steel and carbon steel is chromium content. The chromium is key factor. It reacts with oxygen to create a passive layer that protects the steel from corrosion. Chromium is a metallic alloying element which has a silvery sheen, resists tarnishing, and has a high melting point. What it primarily imbues into steel is corrosion resistance.

  Stainless steel is designed to protect against oxidization. It features a least chromium content of 10.5% by mass. This is important because chromium, unlike iron, isn’t susceptible to oxidation. Chromium can be exposed to oxygen without developing rust or corrosion, making it an invaluable element in the creation of stainless steel.Stainless steel features a protective layer of chromium that creates a barrier between environmental oxygen and the metal’s iron content.That protection allows stainless steels to function in wet environments without rusting. The higher the chromium content, the better the corrosion resistance.

Carbon steel

  Carbon steel definition includes alloy steels.It is composed of iron and 0.12 – 2.00 percent carbon. But for high carbon content, usually up to 2.1% of its weight.As per carton content,Carbon steels can be classified into 3 main types. Low carbon steel.Medium carbon steel.High carbon steel.If the carbon content has 2% different, there is huge variance in physical characteristics(especially hardness).

  When people talk about carbon steel, they are usually referring to the high carbon steel used in knives and tools. High carbon steels are very hard. It makes them good at resisting abrasion and retaining shape. They can withstand significant force before deforming. Unfortunately, hard metals are also brittle: when placed under extreme tensile stress, high carbon steels are more likely to crack than bend.Low carbon steels are more common than high carbon because of (1) lower production costs, (2) greater ductility, and (3) ease of use in manufacturing. Low carbon steels tend to deform under stress instead of breaking, and that ductility makes low carbon steels easy to machine and weld. They are used in automobile body panels, bolts, fixtures, seamless tubes, and steel plate.

  Carbon steel ’s stronger and more durable than stainless steel. Carbon steel lacks the corrosion-resistant properties of its stainless steel counterpart. Carbon steel may rust and corrode when exposed to moisture. Even small amounts of moisture, including moisture vapor in the air, can cause carbon steel to rust. Furthermore, carbon steel is less ductile than stainless steel.

Difference between Carbon Steel and Stainless Steel

  To common people,it is easy to distinguish the carbon steel and stainless steel. Carbon steel is dull, with a matte finish.Stainless steel is lustrous with various grades,reflective as a mirror. But it also has more characteris differences.Here,we list out 4 main differences between carbon and stainless steel:

Corrosion ResistanceMechanical Properties

Point 1: Corrosion Resistance

  The ability to resist corrosion is the most obvious difference between carbon steels and stainless steels. Only via the name,Stainless steels has more corrosion resistant than carbon steels.Both carbon steels and stainless steels contain iron.It will be oxidized and rust when exposed to the environment.Because of stainless steel contains chromium. It will create a chromium oxide layer on the surface. Then to protect the rest of the material from degradation and corrosion. So it makes stainless steel is more corrosion resistant than carbon steel. Carbon steel does not have enough chromium to form this chromium oxide layer, allowing oxygen to bond with the iron.It results in iron oxide or rust. So if your consider the corrosion resistance factor, stainless steel is the better way.

  It’s important to pay attention to the stainless steel grade when purchasing appliances and other big ticket items. Not all steels are created equal. A stainless steel with the minimum 10.5% chromium content is much cheaper and less durable than one with 16%, and the difference will show in maintenance costs and service life.

Point 2: Mechanical Properties

  It is difficult to make sweeping statements about the differences

  There are many different types and grades between carbon steels and stainless steels. So in mechanical properties,they will also have many differences. Stainless steels contains more nickel. So it can be more ductile than carbon steels. But, there are very brittle grades of stainless steel as well, such as the martensitic grades. Carbon steels with very low amounts of carbon may not match tensile strengths of some stainless steels due to the alloying elements that many stainless steel grades contain which increase its strength. But, if there is enough carbon (at least 0.30% by weight) in the carbon steel, it is more heat treated than an austenitic stainless steel.

Point 3: Appearance

  If the end application has appearance requirement,we have to its surface treatment. After post treatment to carbon steel and stainless steel,all surface can be shining and bright. But after the polishing process,carbon steel requires a clear coat or paint rather quickly. Otherwise, the carbon steel will begin to tarnish and eventually rust. But stainless steel will not. And it will keep its luster in the scratched area after scratched. For carbon steel,it have to paint or repainted.Otherwise it will be subject to corrosion.

Point 4: Price

  One more important factor is the price or difference between carbon steels and stainless steels. Different grades have varying costs, stainless steels are generally more expensive than carbon steels. This is mainly to the addition of a variety of alloying elements in stainless steel.Such as chromium, nickel, manganese, and others. These extra elements all add up to an increased cost over carbon steels. Carbon steel is mostly composed of relatively affordable iron and carbon elements. Based on your application, if you want a cheaper budget for your next project, carbon steel might be the best option.

  How to Choose?

  Based on the difference analysis,the choosing of is depend on the specifics of the job or project. If the job in corrosive environment, stainless steel may be the best option. If no appearance consider and money budget lower. carbon steel will be better.

  In short, carbon steel can more easily be made razor sharp and is generally stronger. Whereas stainless steel is longer-lasting thanks to its resistance to corrosion and chipping. It’s all about context. Each material has advantages and disadvantages. The key factor is matching the steel to the job requirements.

If reading this article,you still have confused for Carbon Steel and Stainless Steel,view below table.It will be the a good primer reference.

Vulnerable to rust Resistant to rust
Brittle Less brittle
Wear-resistant Less wear-resistant

In our foundry, Carbon Steel casting and Stainless Steel casting are 2 main products we are supplying.If you have this need,contact us freely.

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