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What Are the Different Uses of Low Carbon Steel?

Jay Leone
Jay Leone

Low carbon steels offer many applications. Truck bed floors, automobile doors, domestic appliances, and spare tire tubs are just a few of the things made with these types of steel. By definition, these steels can contain up to around 0.2 percent carbon by weight. Some of the more widely used low carbon steels include 1010, 1018, and 1020 steel.

The automobile industry employs a considerable amount of this steel for making parts that require simple bending or moderate forming. Truck cab backs, tailgate access covers, floor pans, and bed floors are often made of this steel. Roofs, hoods, doors, and body sides on regular automobiles are also usually made of it. Other automobile parts, such as spare tire tubs and dash panels feature low carbon steel construction.

A low carbon steel disc.
A low carbon steel disc.

Very low carbon steel contains only up to 0.05 percent carbon. Manufacturers often make steel paneling out of very low carbon steels. These steels are also often used to create non-critical structural shapes for buildings. The carbon content of low carbon steel varieties generally ranges between 0.05 and 0.2 percent. They are often used to make beams and structural shapes for bridges and buildings.

Low carbon steel may be used for beam supports in buildings.
Low carbon steel may be used for beam supports in buildings.

The carbon in steel affects the material’s ductility and strength; steels with high carbon contents are stronger than steels with lower carbon contents. Conversely, high carbon steels are less ductile than low carbon steels. High ductility, however, results in poor machinability. Utilizing higher spindle speeds on machines makes machining these highly ductile steels much easier. In general, low-quality steels, such as certain low carbon steels with high phosphorous and sulphur contents offer better machinability than cleaner, higher quality steels.

Low carbon 1010 steel contains 0.10 percent carbon. This steel is low-strength steel but its strength can be increased through various tempering processes. Certain types of fasteners and bolts feature low carbon 1010 steel. One of the most popular varieties of low carbon steel is 1018 steel, which is relatively easy to machine, form, and weld. Sprocket assemblies are often made of this steel.

The carbon content of 1020 steel can reach around 0.2 percent. Low carbon 1020 steel is often used for making bolts and fasteners. The strength and ductility of this steel contributes to its widespread use. It can also be hardened to increase its applications. Compared to 1010 steel, 1020 steel offers higher tensile strength and hardness values.

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    • A low carbon steel disc.
      By: Nomad_Soul
      A low carbon steel disc.
    • Low carbon steel may be used for beam supports in buildings.
      By: sattriani
      Low carbon steel may be used for beam supports in buildings.