Understanding How Carbon Affects Metal Heat Treating in Gastonia, NC

Carbon is one of the most important elements of steel’s composition, and understanding how the varying degrees of carbon can affect metal heat treating in Gastonia, NC can help you determine which type of steel should be used for certain applications. This guide will help you understand the differences in carbon content, and how it affects the capabilities of the steel your company buys.

Mild carbon steel

This type of steel contains a carbon content of less than .30 percent, and is most commonly used because of its price point and malleability. Steel with a low carbon content is the most ductile of all types, which makes it the best option if the material needs to be bent, rolled or formed. Machinability and welding are also easier with this steel, and other elements can be added to adjust the properties and provide greater flexibility.

But due to the lack of carbon, this type of steel is difficult to harden, so applications where the material needs to be able to withstand excessive wear and corrosion are not an ideal match. This material can be purchased at a low cost, and because of this, it is commonly used in the automotive industry, as well as on home appliances.

Medium carbon steel

Because the carbon content is still somewhat low, within the range of .31 percent and .60 percent, medium carbon steel can still be machined and welded with relative ease. The increase of carbon means that this type of steel can also be hardened or tempered in sections, which will increase the toughness and tensile strength of the steel. This ultimately creates a stronger piece of steel that will hold up better for industrial applications that require additional wear resistance for prolonged use. This grade of steel is best for stressed applications, such as pipelines or gears that tend to wear quickly because of the constant movement and grinding.

High carbon steel

The carbon content for this grade of steel ranges between .61 percent and 1.5 percent, and is sometimes further separated into two groups labeled high and very high. With the additional carbon, this type of steel is the strongest available, and can be subjected to any type of heat treatment in its normalized state. The welding of this type of steel is only suggested if the material will be heat treated before, during or after welding. It can also be machined, although this task is met with much more difficulty than with steel that contains less carbon.

The strength of this steel provides great resiliency for any piece it is used for, and is great in situations where strength and hardness are priorities, and ductility can be sacrificed. This type of material is not recommended for stressed applications, but it is great for cutting tools and blades, wires or truck springs.

For more information about which type of steel you need to buy for a specific application, contact the knowledgeable staff at J. F. Heat Treating Inc. Serving as a leader in metal heat treating in Gastonia, NC for almost 35 years, we have the staff and equipment to handle the treatment of your steel, no matter what it will be used for, and will make sure that your company is provided with the quality it needs to be successful.

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