Mild Steel: Mild Steel Composition & Uses | A Simple Guide
What is Mild Steel?
Mild steel is most often referred to as Plain Steel or Carbon Steel. Mild steel is known for its durability and strength. This is type of carbon steel with a low carbon percentage often referred to as “low carbon steel.” Mild Steel is the go to metal for most usage a because, it can be easily drilled, cut or mold with the right machine. Carbon steels are types of metals that contain little % of carbon which boost the properties of pure iron usually in the range of 0.05 to 0.25 %
The mild steel has different grades but all grades all have carbon content within 0.05 to 0.25 % limits. Many elements are also added to improve key properties like wear resistance, corrosion resistance and tensile strength.
Mild steel is not an alloy steel, thus does not contain huge amounts of other elements apart from iron. Because its carbon and alloying element content are relatively low, there are many other properties that differentiate it from higher carbon and alloy steels.
Carbon content is uniformly increased by heat treating steel. As carbon content increases, steel develops hardness but loses ductility. Less carbon means that mild steel is typically more ductile, machinable, and weldable than high carbon and other steels, however, it also means it is nearly impossible to harden and strengthen through heating and quenching. This means that the metal becomes brittle and may fracture instead of bending when applying an excess load.
Mild steel also has a high amount iron and ferrite, making it magnetic. The lack of alloying elements such as those found in stainless steels means that the iron in mild steel is subject to oxidation (rust) if not properly coated. But the negligible number of alloying elements also helps mild steel to be relatively affordable when compared with other steels. It is the affordability, weldability, and machinability that make it such a popular choice of steel for consumers.
How is Mild Steel Made?
Mild steel is made similar to how other carbon steels are made. The manufacturing processes for mild steel are similar to other carbon steels. Higher carbon steels just contain more carbon, resulting in different properties like high strength and hardness values compared to mild steel.
These processes have developed over time and are now much more cost-effective than before. In modern manufacturing, three steps are involved in manufacturing mild steel out of pure iron.
A common way this is done involves a combination of iron ore and coal. Once the coal and iron ore are extracted from the earth, they are melted together in a blast furnace. Once melted, the mixture is moved to another furnace to burn off any impurities that they may have, as well as to make any other adjustments to the mild steel’s chemical composition. Following that, the steel is allowed to solidify into a rectangular shape. This slab of mild steel is then usually brought down to the desired size using processes called hot rolling or cold drawing, although there are other methods that can also be used.
Main Uses of Mild Steel
These are some uses of Mild Steel across the world:
- Structural steel