Carbon Steel: Categories of Carbon Steel and Their Uses

When it comes to finding the right substance to use for your structure, there are few that can compare with steel. The two materials that are most abundant in carbon steel are iron and carbon. Both materials are needed in order for steel to have immense strength to hold all the weight it will bear. 

As a contractor, it is important to know the materials you will be using. This will help you make better decisions as to which materials will work best for each building project. This blog post will focus on carbon steel and how to use it in your construction projects. 

Carbon Steel: Categories of Carbon Steel and Their Uses

The highest amount of carbon content that steel can have should be a maximum of 2.1% for it to still be considered steel. Different amounts of carbon will result in variations in the strength, ductility, hardness, and machinability of the steel. 

Categories of Carbon Steel

Below are the different types of carbon steel and the carbon content they have. Each type will have different uses in the building process. 

Low Carbon Steel

This is also known as mild steel and has lower carbon content in comparison to other types of steel. This will result in low-carbon steel being the most machinable of all steel types. If mild steel will need to have increased weight, other materials such as manganese may be added to the mix to give it more weight without compromising its ductility. If other materials are added, this steel may come to be known as high strength, low alloy steel. 

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Medium Carbon Steel

As its name implies, medium carbon steel is a balance between low and high carbon steel. This type of steel will offer greater strength and hardness than low carbon steel yet still remain more ductile than high carbon steel. This type of steel can receive additional treatments such as quenching and tempering without sacrificing its machinability. 

High Carbon Steel

This type of steel has a much higher carbon content compared to low and medium carbon steel types. This will result in a harder, less ductile type of steel that can be used in parts of the build that will require more strength and durability. The high concentration of carbon will give this type of steel great strength, hardness, and wear resistance. 

Very High Carbon Steel

This type of steel is the hardest and strongest type of steel that can be used in a build. It is almost impossible to weld and bend this type of steel due to its hardness. This type of steel is far less common than other types of carbon steel but can be used in building highrise buildings or other structures that require high-strength steel. 


Remember that the carbon content in the steel can be altered to change its composition. Different types of steel may be used for varying parts of the project. Knowing which type of steel to use and making sure to get your steel from a reliable source will make all the difference in the overall durability and strength of the structure you are building. 

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If you are looking for a reliable steel distributor, come to KGS Steel Birmingham. KGS Steel, Inc. is a full-line structural steel and carbon steel service center warehouse that has been servicing the southeastern United States since 1985.

Bessemer, AL

3725 Pine Ln,
Bessemer, AL 35022


Mon - Fri7:30 AM–4:30 PM
Sat - Sun: Closed 

Nashville, TN

310 Herron Dr,
Nashville, TN 37210


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Sat - Sun: Closed 

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