Carbon Steel

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Related to High carbon steel: High speed steel, Low carbon steel

carbon steel

[′kär·bən ′stēl]
Steel containing carbon, to about 2%, as the principal alloying element.

Carbon Steel


steel that does not contain alloying components. Depending on the content of carbon, the steel is classified as low-carbon (up to 0.25 percent carbon), medium-carbon (0.25–0.6 percent), or high-carbon (more than 0.6 percent). A distinction is also made between plain carbon steel and the carbon steel used for structural members. Plain carbon steels include both hot-rolled (section, shaped, plate, sheet, strip) and cold-rolled (sheet) steel; structural carbon steels include hot-rolled and forged semifinished shapes with a diameter or thickness up to 250 mm, calibrated steel, and bright bar.

Carbon steels are smelted in open-hearth, two-bath, and arc furnaces and oxygen-blown converters. Ferromanganese, ferro-silicon, ferrovanadium, aluminum, and titanium are used in deoxidizing carbon steels, and the extent of deoxidation determines the steel’s classification as rimmed, killed, or semikilled. The steel can be alloyed with minute quantities of titanium, zirconium, boron, and rare-earth elements to improve the physicochemical properties and fabricating characteristics. This alloying creates a fine-grained structure and lowers the extent of zonal liquation and the contamination of the steel by nonmetallic inclusions. The alloying also reduces the tendency toward crack formation during hot plastic deformation and increases the resilience at temperatures below 0°C, an increase that permits the use of carbon steel in a variety of climates (- 40° to 60°C).

Carbon steel is cast into ingots (top or bottom pouring) and semifinished shapes (using continuous-casting machines); the weight of the ingots can reach 35 tons. The steel is also used for producing castings. Cast carbon steel differs from wrought steel of the same composition by having lower ductility and resilience.

Carbon steel is the most common ferrous metal, and in the mid-1970’s it accounted for more than 75 percent of the production of ferrous metallurgy in the USSR.


Smoliarenko, D. A. Kachestvo uglerodistoi stall, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1969.
Kachestvo slitka spokoinoi stali. Moscow, 1973.


carbon steel

1.Steel having no specified minimum content of alloying elements.
2. Steel having a specified minimum copper content not exceeding 0.40%.
3. Steel having a maximum specified content as follows: manganese 1.65%, silicon 0.60%, copper 0.60%.
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