Mild steel is used in 85% of all steel products in the United States of America. This overwhelming market demand, makes it the cheapest form of steel available. With such widespread usage, the knowledge of its properties is necessary for anybody who's into the manufacturing business or a student of metallurgy. You will find the most important characteristics of mild steel presented in the following lines.
An alloy is a mixture of metals and non-metals, designed to have specific properties. These metallurgical innovations make it possible to compensate for the shortcomings of a pure metal by adding other elements.
What is Mild Steel?
Steel is any alloy of iron, consisting of 0.2% to 2.1% of carbon, as a hardening agent. Besides carbon, many other metals are a part of it. They include chromium, manganese, tungsten and vanadium. Other than a maximum limit of 2% carbon in the manufacture of carbon steel, the proportions of manganese (1.65%), copper (0.6%) and silicon (0.6%) are fixed, while the proportions of cobalt, chromium, niobium, molybdenum, titanium, nickel, tungsten, vanadium and zirconium are not. What is known as mildest grade of carbon steel or mild steel is typically the variety which has a comparatively low amount of carbon (0.05% - 0.26%).
What Role Do Additive Elements in Alloys Play?
All elements in steel, along with carbon, act as hardening agents. That is, they prevent dislocations from occurring inside the iron crystals and stop the lattice layers from sliding past each other. This is what makes steel harder than iron. Varying the amounts of these hardening agents, creates different grades of steel. The ductility, hardness and mild steel tensile strength is a function of the amount of carbon and other hardening agents, present in the alloy.
Properties and Uses
Here is a compilation of mild steel properties and its uses in various fields of technology.
- The calculated average industry grade mild steel density is 7861.093 kg/m3. Its Young's modulus, a measure of its stiffness is around 210,000 MPa.
- A moderate amount of carbon makes this steel different from other types. Carbon atoms get affixed in the interstitial sites of the iron lattice, making it stronger and harder. However, the hardness comes at the price of a decrease in ductility.
- Compared to other types of steel, this type is ideal for welding purposes, as it conducts electric current effectively without tarnishing the metal surface in any way.
- Mild steel has ferromagnetic properties, which make it ideal for manufacture of electrical devices and motors. It yields itself easily to magnetization.
- Unlike other grades of carbon steel, which tend to be brittle, mild steel is hard, yet malleable, making it the ideal choice for the construction of pipelines, construction materials and many other daily use products like cookware.
- Mild steel can be machined and shaped easily due to its inherent flexibility. It can be hardened with carburizing, making it the ideal material for producing a range of consumer products.
- The high amount of carbon also makes it vulnerable to rust. Naturally, people prefer stainless over mild steel, when they want a rust free technology. It is also used in construction as structural steel, besides finding applications in the car manufacturing industry.
So, these are some of the properties and uses of mild steel. It is the cheapest and most versatile form of steel and serves every application which requires a bulk amount of the alloy.