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Which Is Better Stainless Steel or Carbon Steel?

March 24, 2017by melfab

Steel is incredibly versatile and can be used to make a large variety of products. It is widely used in the aerospace, transportation and construction industries. The term “steel” can refer to several different alloys, which can vary in strength and use, but it can be classified into two primary categories- stainless steel and carbon steel. What separates these two and when do you use one or the other?
Steel is made up primarily of iron and carbon. The more carbon steel contains the more brittle and harder it is likely to be. Steel with less carbon in it tends to be more pliable and can be made into a wide range of shapes while still retaining its strength.

What Is Carbon Steel?

Carbon steel, as you might have guessed, has more carbon than your average steel. It is most often used in knives and tools. So, when would you use this kind of steel? Well, it is very durable, and it is great at keeping its shape and withstanding abrasions. It takes lot of force to deform carbon steel. It will crack or bend when put under extreme pressure, however. You can incorporate other elements into the carbon steel to make it strong and give it a wide range of uses. These could include manganese, nickel chromium, silicone and molybdenum.

What Is Stainless Steel?

In general, stainless steel has both carbon and iron, but it contains less of them and more chromium. It tends to have about 10% chromium content. That’s important to note, because it is the chromium that reacts with oxygen to provide a layer of protection over the metal that hinders corrosion. This means that many types of stainless steel will be able to last longer and function better in wet environments. The more chromium the stainless steel contains, the more it will resist rusting. So, how much chromium content there is in the steel will determine the cost. Also, the more chromium there is, the longer the steel should last.

Which One to Use?

These two types of steel are quite different and they have different uses. You can’t say that one is better than the other because you can’t use them in the same capacity. You need to pick the right kind of steel for each job.
We sell a wide variety of steel and create bespoke metal products for clients to use in many different industries. If you aren’t sure which kind of steel to use in your project, then please contact us so we can help.