What Carbon Steel Grades We Have!

Qinghe Steel is a full line supplier and processer of carbon steel coil, sheet, plate, bar, and strip products. We stock over many grades of carbon steel, including 1018 and 1040 series carbon steel, annealed and in various tempers and high temperature grades, for shipments worldwide.   View our steel center here.

Carbon steel types

Get Your Metal Cut-to-Size!
We'll cut your order to your exact specifications. No need to buy full lengths!
Contact us

What Is Carbon Steel

Carbon steel is a special type of steel that, as the name suggests, has a higher concentration of carbon than other types of steel. Most types of steel have a relatively low carbon content of about 0.05% to 0.3%. In comparison, carbon steel has a carbon content of up to 2.5%. Two-and-a-half percent carbon may sound insignificant, but it introduces several attractive benefits that aren't found elsewhere.

Types of carbon steel and their application

Low-carbon steel

Low-carbon steel: For carbon content of 0.06% to 0.25%, also we call it mild steel plate. Low-carbon steels are often used in automobile body components, structural shapes (I-beams, channel and angle iron), pipes, construction and bridge components, and food cans.

Medium-carbon steel

Medium-carbon steel: C content from 0.25% to 0.55%. As a result of their high strength, resistance to wear, and toughness, medium-carbon steels are often used for railway tracks, train wheels, crankshafts, and gears and machinery parts requiring this combination of properties.

High-carbon steel

High-carbon steel: 0.55% to 1.0%, also called hard steel plate. Due to their high wear-resistance and hardness, high-carbon steels are used in cutting tools, springs high strength wire, and dies. What is High Carbon Steel Plate, and Things You Must to Know

Ultra or very high-carbon steel

Though an extremely strong metal, this material is brittle and requires special handling. It contains between 0.96% and 2.1% carbon. Through processing with alloys, ultra high-carbon steel becomes one of the most durable carbon steels on the market. It’s often used for truck springs, metal cutting tools, or knives.

To enhance strength and reduce brittleness, carbon steel pieces may include traces of other elements, such as:

  • Manganese, up to a 1.65% maximum
  • Silicon, up to a 0.6% maximum
  • Copper, up to 0.6% maximum

Production and processing

Carbon steel can be produced from recycled steel, virgin steel, or a combination of both.

Virgin steel is made by combining iron ore, coke (produced by heating coal in the absence of air), and lime in a blast furnace at around 1650 °C. The molten iron extracted from the iron ore is enriched with carbon from the burning coke. The remaining impurities combine with the lime to form slag, which floats on top of the molten metal where it can be extracted.

The resulting molten steel contains roughly 4 wt.% carbon. This carbon content is then reduced to the desired amount in a process called decarburization. This is achieved by passing oxygen through the melt, which oxidizes the carbon in the steel, producing carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide.

Carbon Steel Advantages

Carbon steel is most often mild or hot-rolled steel. As a corrosion-resistant and abrasion-resistant steel, carbon steel plates are well suited for applications requiring durability against stress as well as environmental stressors when used for outdoor purposes. Additional benefits of carbon steel plates include:

  • Versatility when compared to other steel sheets. Steel plates are available in a wide selection of thicknesses and widths
  • Carbon steel plates offer great ductility
  • Cost-effective alternative to aluminum or stainless steel
  • Malleable and easy to fabricate
  • Can be galvanized for corrosion-resistance

Carbon Steel Disadvantages

But there are also some disadvantages to choosing carbon steel over traditional steel. Because it's so strong, carbon steel is difficult to work with. It can't be easily bent and molded into different shapes, thus limiting its utility in certain applications. Carbon steel is also more susceptible to rust and corrosion than other types of steel. To make steel “stainless,” manufacturers add chromium — usually about 10% to 12%. Chromium acts as a barrier of protection over the steel itself, thereby protecting it from moisture that could otherwise cause rusting. Carbon steel doesn't contain chromium, however, so it may rust when exposed to moisture for long periods of time.

Carbon Steel Grade Series 

1018 mild (low carbon) steel, strong and ductile, has good weldability properties crimping, bending, swaging, worms, pins, gears, dowels, tool holders, machine parts, pinions, ratchets, etc.
1020 suitable for surface hardening, can be case machined, hardened, and welded hydraulic shafts, motor shafts, pump shafts, machinery parts
1030 high carbon steel, has moderate hardness and strength, machinable, ductile machinery parts, used in the tempered and quenched condition for strength
1035 medium-carbon engineering steel, suitable for induction hardening and flame used for forged parts, links, gears, couplings, forged shafts and axles
1040 has good strength, wear resistance, and toughness, machinable forged couplings and crankshafts
1045 medium carbon steel, can be forged satisfactorily, most common shafting steel induction hardening applications, medium strength parts, shafts for pneumatic and hydraulic cylinders
1050 plain carbon steel, readily welded and machined forged shafts and gears
1060 standard grade carbon steel used for forged applications
1065 high-carbon steel, has high tensile strength, heat treatable blades and cutlery
1144 stress-proof-equivalent steel, a higher-strength alloy than A36 and 1018, has improved ductility used for parts requiring mechanical properties obtained by heat treating
11L14 free machining steel, has enhanced machinability, stronger than 1018 used for forged applications
12L14 free machining steel, has enhanced machinability, stronger than 1018 screw machines, couplings, inserts, bushings, and hydraulic hose fittings

Qinghe Steel stocks a wide range of carbon steel sizes for your specific project needs. We offer quick delivery throughout the world. Contact us today to discuss carbon steel for your project needs.