Carbon steel is an excellent choice for various metal fabrication projects. Several forms of carbon steel exist, and each has specific qualities that make it unique. The metal you choose affects your finished product’s surface, strength and other characteristics, so knowing these requirements will help you decide whether carbon steel is the right material for your application. Once you’ve chosen a material, partner with Summit Steel for our contract manufacturing steel fabrication services.
- Hot-rolled steel: When we manufacture hot-rolled steel, we heat it above its recrystallization temperature. The steel becomes more malleable, so it can conform to countless shapes. As hot-rolled steel returns to room temperature, it shrinks unevenly. The production process also creates a scale on the steel’s surface. Though the scale can be removed, these qualities make hot-rolled steel a material best suited for large, industrial objects that don’t involve precise dimensions.
- Cold-rolled steel: We use a roller to press room-temperature steel to create cold-rolled steel. This form of steel is harder than hot-rolled, and the lack of temperature change means that cold-rolled steel doesn’t shrink. The absence of scale and shrinking makes cold-rolled carbon steel an excellent option for automobile parts and elements that must fit tight tolerances.
- Hot-rolled, pickled and oiled (HRPO) steel: HRPO steel has the same malleability as other hot-rolled steel, but we use an acid bath to remove the scale. After the acid application, the steel receives a coat of oil to prevent corrosion. Still, HRPO shrinks unpredictably as it cools. Our consumers use HRPO steel for various applications such as structural elements and shelving.
- High-strength, low-alloy (HSLA) steel: HSLA steel has impressive corrosion resistance and offers better mechanical properties than other carbon steel. HSLA steel has a low carbon content and contains only small amounts of other elements. Those trace elements improve the steel’s corrosion resistance. Our clients often choose HSLA steel for applications that put immense stress on the metal, such as building rollercoasters and bridges.
Note that each of these forms comes in various grades. The hardness and strength of your steel, plus its chemical composition, depend on the grade you choose.