Avion Alloys / F.A.Q.  / How to Choose the Best Carbon Steel Grade

How to Choose the Best Carbon Steel Grade

Carbon Steel is a metal used in many different industries, as it is affordable and has a wide range of properties that can be used in a variety of mechanical applications. This type of steel is 0.5 percent to 2.0 percent carbon with iron and trace levels of other metals in its composition. It’s important to choose the appropriate carbon steel grade for the needs of the project at hand. Here are some questions to consider when choosing a type of carbon steel.

Will It Be Welded?

Some carbon steel is good for welding, especially grades that contain low levels of carbon. However, carbon steel with a high level of sulfur is not a good choice for welding, as the metal can solidify and crack during the welding process. Higher carbon grade steel can work for welding but would likely require pre- or post-heating treatments.

How Strong Should It Be?

Compared to higher carbon metals, low carbon steel may not have enough tensile strength to withstand certain conditions. Where strength is necessary, a higher carbon steel is advised. High-strength low carbon alloys, like HSLA, which are designed to offer higher strength along with good formability capacity, are also good options.

Is Good Formability Needed?

There are many types of carbon steels, and they can be formulated in several ways to bring out different capabilities. Generally, however, carbon steel with a lower carbon level will be easier to form than steels with higher carbon levels.

Should the Carbon Steel Be Treatable by Heat?

For carbon steels to be easily treated by heat, they should have a carbon level of .30 percent by weight. Carbon steels with lower carbon levels can’t be heat treated easily, as the low carbon levels keep the steel from forming a steel crystalline structure (called martensite). In these cases, the steel lacks the requisite strength and hardness needed to withstand high heat.

Does the Steel Need to Be Corrosion Resistant?

Since carbon steel has a high iron content, it is not usually resistant to corrosion. It’s possible to guard against oxidation, however, by painting or adding oil to the metal’s surface.

With these questions answered, you can select the best carbon steel grade for you. Trust Avion Alloys to be able to meet your specific requests for various high quality metal grades. We are a Lockheed Martin and NASA approved vendor with multiple locations across the U.S. to best fulfill your metal orders as efficiently as possible. Contact us at 800-408-2329 to receive a free quote today.

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