Basics and Common Uses of Mild Steel

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Basics and Common Uses of Mild Steel

As your go-to steel supplier in Utah, we at Wasatch Steel have a wide selection of steel options. There are numerous types, categories and grades of steel out there, each with its own specific set of properties, benefits and potential drawbacks.

One such category is mild steel, a term that’s common for describing a very general type of steel. What exactly is mild steel describing, how is it made, and what is it used for? Let’s take a look.


Mild steel is a type of carbon steel with low carbon content, and it’s also called low carbon steel. Ranges will vary based on the source, but will generally be between 0.05 percent to 0.25 percent by weight. Higher carbon steel, on the other hand, will range between 0.30 percent and 2.0 percent carbon. Beyond this, steel is classified as cast iron.

Mild steel is not an alloy steel, and therefore does not contain large amounts of other elements besides iron. This makes it different from other steel types in a few ways:

  • More ductile, machinable and weldable than high carbon and other steels
  • Nearly impossible to harden and strengthen during heating and quenching
  • Very little carbon and other alloying elements to block dislocations in crystal structure, which means less tensile strength
  • High amounts of iron and ferrite, making it magnetic
  • Subject to oxidation if not properly coated
  • Relatively affordable compared to other steels

How It’s Made

Mild steel is made in a similar manner to other carbon steels. One common method is a combination of iron and coal melted together in a blast furnace, then solidified into a rectangular shape. Hot rolling or cold drawing will then be used to bring the mild steel down to the desired size.

Common Applications

There are several common areas in which mild steel might be used:

  • Structural steel
  • Signs
  • Cars
  • Furniture and decorations
  • Wire
  • Fencing
  • Nails

For more on mild steel, or to learn about any of our other steel offerings, speak to the experts at Wasatch Steel.