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Physics > Atomic and Molecular Structure > Carbon Steel – Definition, Properties, Uses
Atomic and Molecular Structure

Carbon Steel – Definition, Properties, Uses

Carbon Steel

Steel is one of the most commonly found and important metals for mankind. When you look around you, you will see that almost everything in your house has some element of steel in it. Similarly, there are different types of carbon steel which serve different purposes. If we look at it particularly, we will see that its characteristics make it very useful in different sectors.

Definition of Carbon Steel

Carbon steel is a steel alloy that contains anything ranging from 0.12% to 2% of carbon. Any steel can also be called the same if it does not contain the certified minimum amount of major materials.

Materials like chromium, molybdenum cobalt, nickel, tungsten, titanium, zirconium or any other alloy. Similarly, if any steel has less than 0.4% of copper, it comes under its category.

In addition, it also applies to any steel having more than 1.65% of manganese or 0.6% of copper. In other words, we can call any steel by this name which is not stainless steel, even alloy steels.

carbon steel

Properties of Carbon Steel

It is said that high carbon steel’s composition is mixed with around 0.8% carbon but also less than 2.11% of carbon. Thus, the average amount of carbon which is present in this metal is around 1.5%.

The main property of it is that of being extremely hard. However, the extra carbon present in it makes it stiffer than any other kinds of steel. Thus, it can easily fracture when putting under stress.

Uses of Carbon Steel

It has uses in many sectors. It basically divides in ultra-high carbon steel, high carbon steel, medium carbon steel, and low carbon steel. To begin with the ultra-high carbon one, we see that it is the hardest yet very delicate.

So we can’t cold work it. We use it for making the hard materials like blades, large machine parts, metal lamp posts, cutting tools, hot water radiators and more.

Next, the high carbon steel is quite tensile and is quite a popular type which serves various purposes. We use it in the making of cutting tools, punches, springs, high-strength wire, knives, drill bits and more.

Further, medium carbon steel is quite easy to machine. People add small amounts of silicon to it along with manganese to enhance the quality of this steel.

It is also referred to as the mild steel and used in the structure of buildings and bridges. Moreover, you can find it in gears, pipelines, fridges, cars and more.

Finally, the low one is generally rolled out in sheets and strips. We use it for shipbuilding, vehicle bodies, domestic appliances, wire and more. Moreover, we also use it in gates, fencing, railings and more.

Advantages and Disadvantages

It has a lot of advantages. The carbon present in it is responsible for giving it the hardness and strength when we compare it to the other hard materials.

Moreover, the flexibility of this steel is a reason why manufacturers prefer it for press machinery and more.

On the other hand, it is also a few drawbacks. It is quite difficult to weld which poses a great challenge to the manufacturers’.

Similarly, while it’s hardness makes it preferable for cutting tools it also makes it vulnerable to breaking. When we compare it to other speciality steels, it does not hold up that much.

Solved Question for You

Question– Which of the following is not a type?

A. Ultra-high carbon steel
B. Low carbon steel
C. Medium carbon steel
D. High-Temperature Steels.

Answer– The correct answer is option D.

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