We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Cold-Rolled Steel?

By Kirsten C. Tynan
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
AboutMechanics is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At AboutMechanics, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Cold-rolled steel is steel that has been worked below its recrystallization temperature by passing it between a pair of rollers. Recrystallization temperature is the temperature at which grains in the lattice structure of the metal have been rearranged, leaving it free of strain and deformations. In this way, cold-rolling differs from hot-rolling, which is used to work metal above its recrystallization temperature. Cold-rolled steel stock is available in a variety of sizes and shapes with characteristics useful in a wide range of applications.

Steel is pre-treated before being cold rolled with a process known as pickling, which uses strong acids to remove scale and other impurities. The metal is then passed through rollers to reduce its thickness. Most cold rolling takes place in multiple passes and usually incorporates two stations to work the metal. One station is used for a larger initial reduction in size while the other produces a smaller finishing reduction to produce a quality surface. Due to increased hardness created by cold rolling, this process is more limited than hot rolling in the size reduction achieved with each pass.

There are several reasons for cold rolling steel. This process reduces the thickness of the metal worked and achieves tighter thickness tolerances than can be produced with hot rolling. Cold rolling can also produce a high quality surface finish and prepare the metal to receive a surface coating.

A variety of grades of cold-rolled steel stock may be produced depending on the reduction in size of the original stock. Skin rolled steel undergoes a reduction of 0.5–1.0% and is noted for its smooth surface finish and good ductility. Other grades include quarter hard, half hard, and full hard, which can reach up to 50% reduction in size from the original stock.

As the size of the cold-rolled steel is further reduced, its strength and hardness both increase, but its ductility decreases. Quarter Hard steel retains sufficient ductility that it can be bent back on itself without fracturing. Half hard steel can only be bent to 90 degrees and full hard steel can only be bent to 45 degrees without fracturing. After cold rolling, heating the metal up in a process known as annealing can restore some of its ductility. The final cold-rolled steel stock may be manufactured in the form of sheets, strips, bars, or other forms.

Cold-rolled steel products feature a variety of attributes suitable in a wide range of applications. In addition to its high strength, cold-rolled steel is highly resistant to denting and exhibits useful magnetic properties. It also readily accepts surface coatings such as enamel and paint. Manufactured items made with cold-rolled steel range from commercial products such as appliances and bathtubs to automobiles to industrial products including motors, generators, and transformers.

AboutMechanics is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

AboutMechanics, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

AboutMechanics, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.