Cast steel vs Carbon steel

Carbon steel and cast steel are two of the more common alloys used by steel casting company. Many clients or customers often asked us: What is the difference between cast iron vs cast steel? Which one is better? Actually,there is no one is better, but which one is more suitable to your applications.

What is cast iron and cast steel?

Cast iron usually refers to gray iron, ductile iron and malleable iron. It is iron casting with carbon content upper than 2%. Cast steel usually refers to normal carbon steel and alloy steel. Or called steel casting with carbon content lower than 2%.In all steel types of , there are various steel casting grades that determine specific properties of the steel. It can help determine their advantages or disadvantages in certain processes.

Cast Steel

Cast steel, then, is a type of carbon steel, often containing a carbon content anywhere from 0.1-0.5% carbon. This is a specific alloy that is frequently used, and is know for its impact resistance features. Carbon and cast steels are especially known for standing out when it comes to withstanding frequent or sudden impact, but not deforming, breaking, or bending.

Cast steel is known for its ability to withstand these types of high stresses and strain forces. In fact, this impact resistance is one of the major benefits of using cast steel compared to cast iron. The combination of strength and ductility in steel make it a staple in mechanical and structural applications. It is capable of bearing heavy loads. This is one of the major reasons why steel is the most commonly used metal in the world.

Carbon Steel

Carbon steel is also known for being resistant to corrosion, especially when protective measures are used through the course of regular maintenance. It is also resistant to wear and tear, helping increase shelf life and lead to a durable cast. Typically, the amount of carbon content in any carbon steel or cast steel will determine the hardness of the material, with grades ranging from low, standard, to high-carbon steels.

At our foundry, With over 23 years of experience among our team, we understand the advantages of different alloys and carbon contents. We can choose the right alloy for your cast in our steel casting foundry.

Physical properties differences

There is no much difference from the chemical content and raw materials for cast iron and cast steel. But on their physical properties,there are many differences.

Cast iron advantage and disadvantage

The grey cast iron has good casting properties,vibration damping, wear resistance, machinability and low notch sensitivity. But, its tensile strength and elongation are very low. So grey cast iron is suitable for producing some metal parts with low mechanical requirements.

Such as protective cover, cover, oil pan, frame, floor, hammer, frame, knife, bed, bearing seat,cover, pump, valve, pipe, flywheel, motor blocks etc.

Grey cast iron also has some high grades. So the grey iron castings with high grades can withstand greater load, and a certain degree of tightness and corrosion resistance. Such as medium pressure valve, cylinder, gear, flywheels, cylinder block, cylinder liner, piston, gear box, brake wheel, coupling Plate,etc.

The ductile iron and malleable iron have higher strength, better ductility, heat-resistance and toughness than grey iron. So it has a wider application, in some applications, ductile iron can replace carbon steel. But, its production technology is high, the production process is more complex. So ductile iron castings have more casting defects, and its production cost is higher than grey cast iron. Considering its advantages, there are many fields that ductile iron can be choosed. Such as Pressure pipes and fittings, Automotive applications, Agriculture, road and construction applications, General engineering applications.

Cast steel advantage and disadvantage

The design flexibility is the most advantages of cast steel. The designer of the casting have the greatest freedom of design choices. Eespecially for the complex shape and hollow cross-section parts.

Cast steel has the metallurgy manufacturing flexibility and strongest variability. You can choose a different chemical composition and control, adapted to the various requirements of different projects. By different heat treatment choice in the larger context of the mechanical properties and performance, and good weldability and workability.

Steel castings can be used for a variety of working conditions. Its mechanical properties superior to any other casting alloys, and a variety of high-alloy steel for special purposes. To withstand high tensile stress or dynamic load of components, it is important pressure vessel castings in low or high temperature by the large and important part load key parts should give priority to steel castings.

The other difference item:

  • 1-The main Different : Carbon Content (It was introduced above)
  • 2-Materials Characteristic Difference
QualityCast ironCast steel
Ease of machining
Vibration damping
Compressive strength
Impact resistance
Corrosion resistance✔ (stainless alloys)
Wear resistance✔ (depending on application)✔ (depending on application)
  • 3-Melting Point and Capability

Melting point: iron melts at about 2300˚F and steel melts at 2600˚F, and both are poured into molds at even hotter temperatures.But different in pour ability and shrinkage rates.Cast iron is relatively easy to cast, as it pours easily and doesn’t shrink as much as steel. This flow ability makes cast iron an ideal metal for architectural or ornate ironwork structures. Such as fencing and street furniture.

  • 4- Machinability

Cast iron is typically much easier to machine than steel. The graphite structure in cast iron breaks away more easily, and in a more uniform manner.Steel isn’t as easy to cut with the same consistency, and it causes more tool wear, resulting in higher production costs. Hardened steels, or those with higher carbon content, also increase tool wear.

  • 5-Impact Resistance

Steel has one significant advantage: impact resistance. Steel is excellent at withstanding sudden impacts without bending, deforming, or breaking. This is due to its toughness: its ability to withstand high stress and strain forces.Strength without ductility results in a brittle material that is highly susceptible to fracture. cast iron is the poster child for strength without ductility. Because of its brittleness, cast iron has a limited range of application.

  • 6-Wear Resistance

Cast iron typically has better resistance to mechanical wear than steel, especially in friction-wearing situations. The higher graphite content in cast iron creates a graphitic dry lubricant that allows solid surfaces to slide against each other without deteriorating surface quality.Steel wears more readily than iron. but may still be resistant to certain types of abrasion. Some alloy additions can also improve the abrasion qualities of Cast steel.

  • 7-Cast iron and steel Application in an engine

Vibration damping properties make cast iron ideal for engine blocks.The graphite structures in cast iron, especially the flaked formations in gray cast iron, are especially good for absorbing vibration. This makes cast iron ideal for engine blocks, cylinder housings, and machine beds, and other applications where sturdiness and precision are important.

  • 8-Compressive Stength

Compressive strength is the ability of a material to withstand forces that would reduce the object’s size. This is opposite to forces directed at pulling a material apart. Typically, cast iron has better compressive strength than steel.

  • 9-Cost Different

Cast iron is often cheaper than cast steel.Cast Steel is also available in many prefabricated forms. Such as sheets, rods, bars, tubes, and beams. This can often be machined or assembled to suit a particular application. Depending on the product, and quantity required, fabricating existing steel products may be a cost-effective option.

How to choose Cast Iron or Cast Steel?

For cast iron vs cast steel, they have their own advantages and disadvantages. We can choose it as per your application and their physical properties.

  • 1. If the gray iron or ductile iron can meet the mechanical and physical properties of your products, then no necessary to consider cast steel.
  • 2. If you prefer the perfect surface quality and dimensional control. You could consider the steel castings made by silica sol investment casting process, although its price will be very high.
  • 3. If you have very high demand quantity, such as tens of thousands pieces each year. You may need to consider cast iron made by automatic molding or shell molding process.
  • 4. If you do not have high need to their mechanical properties. You can choose gray cast iron.Because its price will be the lowest than ductile iron and cast steel.

By the above explain, maybe we can clear the different between Cast Iron or Cast Steel?As a Cast Iron, casting carbon steel,Cast steel foundry,we would like to get your communications or inquiries.If you have any requests,welcome leave a message.Let us service for you.