Mild steel vs stainless steel? What are the main differences?

Mild steel vs stainless steel? What are the main differences?

Steel is all around us and it is the world’s most commonly used metal. While there are thousands of different grades of steel, they all have similar properties and benefits, but some of their individual distinct characteristics can mean that the choice of steel used in a particular project may vary.

The main two categories of steel are mild steel and stainless steel. The main difference between any grades of steel is their chemical composition, which can change their strength, ductility, hardness, and cost.

Mild steel contains carbon as its alloy; it is the most widely used and makes up the largest part of steel production, and is a very popular metal in construction, engineering, and manufacturing because it is very versatile. It is extremely malleable which makes it ideal for shaping and welding. While being malleable, it is also extremely stiff and strong, making it a good option to use in applications where the steel will be subjected to less good conditions. Fencing, for example, is usually done with mild steel, as it will have to endure weather conditions. Mild steel is magnetic and can be protected against corrosion. The major factor that makes it extremely popular is that it is significantly cheaper than stainless steel.

Stainless steel includes both carbon and chromium. Chromium changes the internal structure of the steel, giving it a very high corrosion resistance, resistance to impact, and a hard surface that doesn’t stain or tarnish. Because of this, it is the more popular when it comes to heat and corrosion resistance. It is resistant to odour and discolouration. It contains no pores or cracks for bacteria to settle in, and it doesn’t contaminate substances that it comes into contact with. These characteristics make stainless steel popular in applications where hygiene is important, for example in food preparation and medical equipment. Its natural corrosion resistance is useful in applications where water is involved.

Overall, you should use mild steel in applications where: you won’t be using the steel surface directly (final piece is painted or coated), very large structure when you need a more cost-effective solution, if the metal needs to be bent or welded. When heat resistance, hygiene, or anti-corrosion are your main priorities, use stainless steel.

At Seward Precision we work with all different types of metal, and we are Laser Cutting Specialists.

Laser cutting is a versatile process that allows Seward to be flexible and work with high volume production. When it comes to steel components, laser cutting is a fast and cost friendly solution.

Laser cutting is also the perfect process for precision metal components, as it works with extreme high tolerances.

We can achieve intricate designs, always keeping a high level of quality. Quality is one of the most important factors for us and our clients. We guarantee that the end product is exactly what has been ordered.

For all your steel or laser cutting needs, or to learn more about us and our services, don’t hesitate to contact us today.