Carbon Steel

Have you ever wonder what the uses are of Carbon Steel? What about the differences between Carbon and Stainless Steel? I know that I have and this article will clear a few facts up.

Carbon Steel is a metal alloy that combines iron and carbon. There are many different types of carbon steel which is dependent on the amount of carbon that is added. The carbon content in steel can range from 0.1%-2% but the most common is 0.1-0.25%. These groups are:

  • Low Carbon Steels/Mild Steels – contain up to 0.3% carbon
  • Medium Carbon Steels – contain 0.3-0.6% carbon
  • High Carbon Steels – contain more than 0.6% carbon
  • Ultra High Carbon Steels – contain 1.0-2% carbon


The various uses of Carbon Steel are dependent on the content of carbon added to the alloy. The different grades create different qualities in the steel and can vary strength, malleability & durability. The more carbon added makes the steel harder and stronger but less malleable and more brittle. Carbon steel with the lowest amount of carbon added is called wrought iron and is used for things like fencing. Medium grades are called mild steel and are used for structural purposes in buildings and bridges. High-carbon steel is used for springs and steel wires while ultra-high carbon steel is called cast iron and is often used to make cooking pots.

Carbon VS Stainless

Carbon and Stainless Steel are both metals that are used in a wide array of commercial and consumer applications. The main difference between the two is that Carbon Steel combines iron with carbon while stainless steel combines iron with chromium. These different components that are added to the steel make them useful for different purposes. Carbon steel has a higher carbon content which allows it to have a lower melting point, durability and better heat distribution. While Stainless steel has a high chromium content that forms an invisible layer on the steel to prevent corrosion and staining.


An easy way to remember the difference between the two is by using an example of cooking pots and pans. Stainless pots and pans are marketed based on convenience as they are easier to clean, do not stain and will not rust as long as the coating on the steel remains effective. While Carbon steel pots and pans as used by professional cooks and although they are not decorative and require more maintenance they do get hotter than stainless steel, distribute heat better and are less expensive and more durable than stainless steel.

If you would like to have a look at the range of Carbon Steel Products that SMC offers, please have a look at the link below.

Cite: WiseGeek

Elle T. // Editor SMC


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