Carbon vs. Alloy: Which Type of Steel Is Best for Welding
Steel is often a popular material in the world of welding. But people often wonder whether it’s better to use carbon steel or alloy steel when welding. So, we’re here to finally settle the debate.
What Is Carbon Steel?
Carbon steel is a type of steel that is made out of carbon and iron.
The name is a bit of a misnomer. You see, if the steel reaches a certain amount of carbon content, it no longer becomes steel and becomes cast iron. This amount is about 2.1 per cent.
So, steel that has less than 2.1 per cent carbon content is considered carbon steel.
What Is Alloy Steel?
Welding alloy steel is a bit different from welding carbon steel.
Alloy steel is essentially made of the same materials as carbon steel (iron, carbon, and other elements). The difference is that alloy steel has more elements added to it than carbon steel.
This is done to change the properties of the steel. In fact, alloy steel may have up to 25 different alloys in it.
Advantages of Welding Carbon Steel
Harder and Tougher
Carbon steel is often harder and tougher than alloy steel. It has higher levels of carbon, which gives it its strength.
This is good for working on any project that needs a strong metal that can withstand a lot of stress.
The downside is that it is less flexible, so it may not be ideal for certain projects.
Carbon steel is also cheaper. Due to its harder and tougher quality, you can purchase it in much thicker sizes if needed. This can save you money if you need to keep a budget.
Easier to Weld
Due to its strong properties, welding carbon steel can be easier than alloy steel. That’s because carbon steel will stay in one position during the welding process.
Alloy steel can move around a lot during the welding process, which can make it difficult to weld.
Advantages of Welding Alloy Steel
Alloy steel is much more flexible than carbon steel. This makes it easier to bend and shape. This is great for projects that need to curve, twist, or bend.
Highly Durable and Resistant to Corrosion
Some types of alloy steel have a special type of alloy added to them. This gives it an extremely high resistance to corrosion.
The downside is that you might not want to use it in a project that needs a lot of flexibility.
Should You Be Using Carbon or Alloy Steel?
Since both types of steel have their own unique properties and use, the best choice is often a combination of the two.
You can purchase carbon steel for the parts that need a lot of strength and toughness. Then, use alloy steel for the parts that need a lot of flexibility. As long as you keep these properties in mind, you should have no problems using either type of steel for your next project.
Alloy and carbon steel are both used frequently in the world of welding. When you’re planning your next welding project, make sure you consider which one will be right for your needs. The purpose of the welding will determine which type of steel you’ll want to get.
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