Carbon Steel The Lifeline of the Tools and Dies Industry

Steel is considered as one of the most constructive and valuable elements. Alloy steel, carbon steel, tool steel, stainless steel and so on, steel has influenced, helped and has managed to benefit hundreds of sectors, ranging from domestic applications to the commercial mechanical cum production sectors. Carbon steel in particular has a significant say in the important sector of tools and dies, which are often dubbed as the lifeline of the production sector.

Carbon steel comes across as a base material providing prominent properties like good wear resistance and hardness, both these properties happen to be the main requirements of the ‘tools and dies’ industry. Also called as plain carbon steel, carbon steel has carbon as the main interstitial alloying constituent. It is a type of steel containing carbon, manganese, silicon and some other elements.

Via the heat treating processes, as the carbon percentile rises, steel becomes harder and stronger as well. In addition, in carbon steels, as the carbon content increases, its ductility increases while the weld-ability, melting point and temperature resistance decreases. Carbon is the main constituent in the carbon steels’ segment, and hence the content of carbon distributes it into 4 parts as follows:

  • Low carbon steel

  • Medium carbon steel

  • High carbon steel

  • Very high carbon steel

Low carbon steel is also called as mild carbon steel and has a carbon content ranging from 0.05% to 0.26% and around 0.4% of manganese with properties like less strength and good shape-ability. This steel is cheaper as compared to other types. 0.29% to 0.54% is the carbon content in the medium segment along with 0.60% to 1.65% of manganese with properties like good wear resistance and average to good strength and ductility, hence used in automotive and forging components.

Percentages of carbon in high carbon steel and very high carbon steel are 0.55% to 0.95% and 0.96% to 2.1% respectively; hence the former is used in the manufacture of springs and high strength wires while the latter is used with micro structures. All the percentages are approximate. There are many heat treatment processes which are performed for alterations of the mechanical and physical properties of carbon steel.


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