Alloy Steel vs Carbon Steel
Most of us are aware of stainless steel as it is commonly used in the manufacturing of utensils. But ask anybody the difference between alloy steel and carbon steel and the chances are that you will draw a blank. Steel is an alloy that mostly contains iron. But its properties can be changed to suit specific requirements by adding certain other elements. This explains the differences between alloy steel and carbon steel. As the name indicates, alloy steel has other elements added to it whereas carbon steel is a kind of steel having higher carbon content. There are other differences also that will be talked about in this article.
Alloy steel is a type of steel that has presence of certain other elements apart from iron and carbon. Commonly added elements in alloy steel are manganese, silicon, boron, chromium, vanadium and nickel. The quantity of these metals in alloy steel is primarily dependent upon the use of such steel. Normally alloy steel is made to get desired physical characteristics in the steel.
Alloy steels are divided into low alloy steels and high alloy steels. When the percentage of added elements goes past 8 (in terms of weight), the steel is referred to as high alloy steel. In cases where added elements remain below 8% by weight of the steel, it is a low alloy steel. Low alloy steels are more common in the industry. In general, addition of one or more of such elements to steel makes it harder and more durable. Such steel is also resistant to corrosion and tougher than normal steel. To alter the properties of steel, it needs heat treatment when elements are added to it.
To keep the alloy steel weldable, carbon content needs to be reduced. As such carbon content is lowered down to 0.1% to 0.3% and alloying elements are also decreased in proportion. These alloys of steel are known as high strength, low alloy steels. You would be surprised to know that stainless steel is also an alloy steel with a minimum of 10% of chromium by weight.
Carbon steel is also known as plain steel and is an alloy of steel where carbon is the main constituent and no minimum percentage of other alloying elements is mentioned. Carbon steel is not stainless steel as it is classified under alloy steels. As the name implies, carbon content is increased in the steel making it harder and stronger through application of heat treatments. However, addition of carbon makes the steel less ductile. The weldability of carbon steel is low and higher carbon content also lowers the melting point of the alloy. It is an amazing fact that of all steels used in the US, 85% is carbon steel.
Alloy Steel vs Carbon Steel
• There are many types of steels such as alloy steel and carbon steel
• As the names signify, alloy steel is the type of steel formed by addition of various other elements in the steel through heat treatment.
• Carbon steel on the other hand is steel that has primarily carbon in it and does not require any minimum percentage of other elements.
• Carbon steel is the type of steel predominantly used in the US
• Stainless steel is a kind of alloy steel