Over 1.5 billion tons of steel are produced every year to make all kinds of products, from household items to structural beams for skyscrapers. The most common type of steel is low-carbon steel, also known as mild steel. There are countless uses of mild steel in virtually every industry as well as in home projects.
Because it is inexpensive, versatile, and readily available, mild steel is the most common metal used by home metalworkers, makers, and DIYers. The uses of mild steel are endless—its physical properties are suitable for almost any application, and it’s extremely affordable, especially in the form of reusable metal remnants.
In this post, we’ll go over some of the properties and uses of mild steel and how to get the best prices by buying verified remnants instead of new steel.
What Is Mild Steel?
Mild steel is an industry term for low-carbon steel, which is steel with a carbon content of approximately 0.05 to 0.3% by weight. For comparison, high-carbon steel can contain up to 2.5% carbon by weight.
The low carbon content of mild steel gives it specific properties that make it ideal for certain types of projects. Some of the most notable characteristics of mild steel include:
- High ductility: The low amount of carbon and the absence of any other alloying elements in mild steel results in a very ductile metal. This means mild steel can be readily formed without losing its toughness.
- High machinability: Because of its high ductility, mild steel is quite soft. This means that it is more easily machined than harder steels.
- High weldability: The ductility of mild steel also makes it suitable for welding, both to itself and other types of steel. The lower the percentage of carbon, the easier the steel is to weld.
- Low cost: The simple composition of mild steel and its ease of manufacture make it a very inexpensive material.
However, mild steel also has some disadvantages. Unlike higher carbon steels, mild steel cannot be hardened by heat treatment processes. It’s also vulnerable to rusting when exposed to moisture. In these conditions, stainless steel is probably a better option, but it’s also more expensive. Mild steel is a great choice when the application requires the strength and durability of steel but not the corrosion resistance of stainless steel.
Uses of Mild Steel
Mild steel is the most common type of steel and can be found in many types of products in many different industries. Just a few uses of mild steel include:
- Building frames: Mild steel beams are commonly used in construction for building frames because of their high yield strength.
- Manufacturing equipment: Because it is inexpensive, strong, and durable, one of the most common uses of mild steel is in equipment like platens, welding tables, fixtures, and jigs.
- Machinery parts: Mild steel is a common material for machine elements like gears, bearings, and springs that don’t need the corrosion resistance of stainless steel.
- Pipes: Mild steel pipes have excellent weldability and are strong enough to contain high-pressure fluids.
- Cookware and cutlery: Mild steel is used to make knives that retain sharp edges for a long time. It can also be used to make cookware with non-stick properties that are more durable than cast iron and have a higher temperature limit than non-stick coatings.
Maximize Value by Purchasing Remnant Steel
Even newly milled mild steel is affordable, but there are ways to get even lower prices. Verified mild steel remnants are available at prices much lower than steel sourced directly from a mill.
Because mild steel is used in large quantities by manufacturers in the San Francisco Bay Area, these manufacturers have large volumes of usable material left over after the manufacturing process. This material is purchased by local metal recyclers that specialize in recycling and selling usable mild steel remnants at highly competitive prices.
In addition to the cost savings, verified mild steel remnants offer the advantage of less machining waste when remnants closely match the dimensions of the component being machined or fabricated. Compared to full-size steel plates and bars, remnants occupy less floor space and are easier to handle. If you’re not consistently using large amounts of mild steel in your production process, remnants can be a very cost-effective way to source your material.
Your Local Supplier of Mild Steel
With so many common uses of mild steel, it’s important to have a trustworthy, reliable supplier to ensure your projects are completed on time. For two decades, Industrial Metal Service has been supplying mild steel remnants to manufacturers, machine shops, welders, and fabricators in the San Francisco Bay Area and a growing number of shops nationwide. We specialize in selling a variety of verified metal remnants, including steel, aluminum, titanium, and high-temperature alloys. All our metal remnants are verified using x-ray fluorescence analyzers to ensure you’re receiving top-quality steel.