The Whats, Whys, and Hows of Carbon Steel

When it comes to carbon steel, there are a few things you should know. Steel is an alloy of iron and carbon. The carbon makes up only a few tenths of a percent of the steel, but it enhances its strength and fracture resistance. Stainless steel has better resistance to corrosion and oxidation thanks to the addition of 11% chromium. Carbon steel, however, has no chromium. Instead, it comprises a higher carbon concentration than other types of steel.

Other more common types of steel have low carbon concentrations that range from 0.05% to 0.3%. In carbon steel, that concentration is ramped up higher to a maximum of about 2.14%. It also includes other alloying elements in its composition, but there are no hard rules governing the minimum required percentage, except for manganese (1.65%), copper (0.60%), and silicon (0.60%).

Iron is malleable or ductile. Adding carbon reduces pure iron ductility, thus strengthening it. By varying carbon and other alloys, you can alter the resulting steel’s hardness, tensile strength, annealing, quenching, tempering, and yield. A heat treatment process where the carbon migrates more to the exterior gives the carbon steel weathering and corrosion resistance. The more carbon is alloyed with steel, the stronger and harder it gets.

Carbon steel is a versatile alloy metal widely used, more so in the oil and gas sectors. It is used to make flow lines, pipelines, structural components, platforms, and much more. In particular, carbon steel pipe fittings are used for their inexpensiveness, hardness, and good tensile strength. The carbon steel pipe fittings carry liquids or gases, which include oil, gases, and steam. They are also used to connect pipe systems. For example, according to Science Direct, carbon steel elbows curve at 45 degrees or 90 degrees to serve as connecting pieces.

Finally, four major categories make up carbon steel types – low, medium, high, and ultra-high carbon steel. Respectively, they have 0.05 to 0.25%, 0.3 to 0.5%, 0.6 to 1.0%, and last, 1.25 to 2.0% carbon content. Carbon steel has many applications. In the oil and gas sector, they use carbon steel for its structural and thermal strength, corrosion resistance, and cost-effectiveness. Reach out to us here at Lynco Flange & Fitting for all your pipeline supply needs.

Our team is here to help yours

Our team can speak directly with engineers, offering product knowledge and specific guidance about which parts are most likely to get the job done to your specifications. We'll get you the quote that makes the most sense. Try us.

Get a free quote