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What is the Difference Between Carbon Steel and Stainless Steel?

Although all steel might appear as the same to many consumers, there are actually key differences between the steel types, and knowing this information is particularly valuable in metal fabrication projects. It should be noted as such because choosing between carbon steel and stainless steel seems to not really be something that is considered, or even mentioned, a lot of the time – but it should be, because it’s quite important. there are a few reasons why this is the case, so in this article we take a look at the key differences between carbon steel and stainless steel to help better steer your next buying decision.

Carbon versus stainless basics

If you’re looking into steel fabrication in Melbourne, you should start off by having an excellent idea of what you’re getting into – particularly if you’re new to the world of metal fabrication. The first thing you should take into account is the appearance of the steel – the display of steel in some jobs is of quite a high value, so if it’s good looks you’re after, stainless steel with certain finishes certainly offers a lot more in the aesthetic appeal department. Carbon steel often has a bit of a dull, matte finish, while stainless steel has more of a glossy, shiny look that can be further enhanced by the increased chromium content. If you want your carbon steel to be shiny, you’ll need to apply a coat of paint quickly after you polish the metal to help prevent the formation of rust. It is this corrosion resistance that many look to stainless steel for, as the addition of chromium ensures that rust is quite effectively prevented. This does come at a (literal) cost, though, which we’ll touch on in a little bit.

Allocating your budget effectively

If you need your steel to be as strong as possible, this might be another reason why stainless steel might be the right choice for you. Although it is not necessarily true of all stainless steels, the alloys that are present in the metal make for a much more tensile final product. For this reason, stainless steels might be better if your project involves significant load bearing. If you’re at this stage rushing out the door to buy up stainless steel for your next project due to its good looks, high tensile strength and resistance to corrosion, you should know that you’ll likely pay a bit more for it. Although it’s true that different grades have varying costs, stainless steels are often across the board more expensive than carbon steels. This cost stems from the addition of the other metals that we mentioned earlier (as carbon steel only has the addition of iron), so if you’re after something a bit more affordable for your next project, carbon steel can definitely be for you if you want bang for your buck. It’s not just the

Which steel is right for you?

When deciding between carbon steel and stainless steel, it’s important to note that while they are different, one isn’t necessarily better than the other. Why you choose a certain steel will depend entirely on your needs for the project and your budget. It’s up to you to weigh the pros and cons and determine which will provide a better result for your project.