Why Carbon Steel is Important for Construction, Part 2

carbon steel important construction
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Why Carbon Steel is Important for Construction, Part 2

carbon steel important construction

In part one of this two-part blog series, we went over some of the basics on carbon steel and why it’s so beneficial for the construction industry. Marked by qualities like high strength and great ductility, carbon steel is perhaps the single most common metal material used in modern construction today.

At Wasatch Steel, we’re here to offer numerous steel products and steel services, including extensive work with construction contractors and others in this field. As carbon steel is one of the most common types we work with here (we’re happy to assist with areas like carbon steel welding, for instance), we’re well-versed in everything you need to know about it. Today’s part two of our series on carbon steel will go over a couple other varieties available, plus the common applications of carbon steel in the construction world and other areas.

Mild Carbon Steel

Also known as medium-carbon steel, this is a format that contains carbon in the range of 0.25 to 0.0 wt. %, with an even larger manganese content. This form of steel is stronger than low-carbon steel, especially if it’s gone through a hardening process, though it may sacrifice ductility and toughness to some degree.

For this reason, many mild carbon steel alloys are used in construction. The 1018 hot-rolled steel bar, for instance, can be found in several different shapes and is perfect for many structural applications. There are also many other cases where mild carbon steel sheet or plate will be used for fixtures or holds.

High-Carbon Steel

High-carbon steel, finally, has a carbon content above 0.60 wt. %, with manganese content in lower or similar ranges depending on the need. This steel format is the hardest of all carbon steels, but likewise has the lowest ductility. However, these steels are also very resistant to wear due to their hardness and common tempering processes.

However, due to limited ductility, high-carbon steel isn’t quite as common as the other types we’ve gone over in the construction world. It will still be found, but its common uses are a little different (more on this below)

Common Applications

Each of these steel types leads to a few common applications:

  • Low-carbon steel: Commonly used in steel frames for buildings, parking garages and various commercial or residential settings. This form will also be found in auto body components, bridge components and many steel pipes.
  • Mild carbon steel: Perfect for areas like trains and train tracks, gears and factory parts, crankshafts and other parts that require great strength and good wear resistance.
  • High-carbon steel: Most commonly found in various cutting tools or springs, high-carbon steel is more common on the tool or equipment side of the construction ledger. It’s less often used for actual structural components.

For more on carbon steel and its numerous uses in construction, or for information on any of our steel products or services, speak to the staff at Wasatch Steel today.