What is the difference between carbon steel and stainless steel?
Steel is an alloy with iron which happens to be the main element. An alloy refers to the combination of different metals to result in a new metal of either high-quality or low quality.
The core difference between carbon steel and stainless steel is that carbon steel is an alloy of carbon and iron while stainless steel is an alloy of Iron and Chromium.
What Is Carbon Steel?
Carbon steel refers to a metal that contains carbon and iron. The carbon-metal happens to be the main element when compared to iron.
The percentage of carbon in the metal help to determine the grading system of carbon steel. The presence of carbon in steel help to increase the strength of the metal.
Carbon steel is mainly used in designing construction material, strong steel wire and main components of automotive.
What Is Stainless Steel?
Stainless steel is a type of steel which has a high resistance to rust and corroding. The metal tends to shine for a longer period.
The main element in stainless steel is Chromium which forms a passive layer on the iron to prevent corroding and rusting.
Stainless steel is used in the construction of cutlery, cookware, and surgical equipment, components of automotive and structural monuments.
Comparison Chart: Carbon Vs Stainless Steel
|Basic Terms||Carbon Steel||Stainless Steel|
|Meaning||It is an alloy of iron and carbon.||It is an alloy of iron and chromium|
|Corrosion||Prone to corrosion when exposed to air and moisture||Resistant to corrosion due to the chromium layer|
|Strength||Tend to be hard and tensile due to a large amount of carbon||Tend not to be hard|
|Grades of Steel||Divided into mild steel and high carbon steel||Have various types of grades based on the numbering system|
|Cost||Less expensive||Quite expensive|
|Appearance||Tend to tarnish and rust||Tend to be bright and shiny|
|Application||Strong steel wires, automotive components, and construction materials||Cutlery, cookware, surgical equipment aircraft, automotive bodies, and structural monuments|
Core Difference between Carbon Steel and Stainless Steel
- The carbon steel vulnerable to rust while stainless steel is resistant to rust
- The carbon steel is hard and brittle while stainless steel is less brittle
- The carbon steel is wear-resistant while stainless steel is less wear-resistant
- The grading of stainless steel is based on the numbering system while that of carbon steel is grouped into mild steel and high carbon steel
- The carbon steel is less expensive while stainless steel is quite expensive
- The carbon steel has a high tensile for strength while stainless steel has a weak strength
- The carbon steel is made out of carbon and iron while stainless steel is made out of iron and chromium
- Stainless steel has a bright and shiny appearance whereas carbon steel has a tarnish appearance
- The carbon steel is used in the construction of automotive components, steel wires, and construction materials whereas stainless steel is used in making cutlery, cookware, and surgical equipment
- Carbon steel tends to exhibit ferromagnetism unlike stainless steel
Read More: Difference between Ester and Ether
The stainless steel has a chromium layer that acts as a protective layer to the iron hence the reason behind the resistance to corrosion. The carbon steel is stiff and exhibits ferromagnetism hence widely used in automobiles.