Carbon Steel vs Mild Steel – What’s the Difference

Carbon Steel vs Mild Steel

Steel is one of the most widely used materials in various industries like construction, automobile, manufacturing, etc. Steel has many grades; carbon and mild Steel are the most commonly used. Although these two are often used interchangeably, they have significant differences that can affect their application, strength, and durability. This article will explore the differences between carbon steel and mild Steel to help you understand which suits your construction or manufacturing needs best.

What is Carbon Steel?

Carbon Steel is an alloy of iron and carbon with a range of other elements, such as manganese and silicon. It offers increased strength, excellent formability and machinability, durability, weldability, corrosion resistance, and low-cost maintenance. Carbon steel is widely used in many industries, including construction, automotive engineering, energy production, shipbuilding, etc.

What is Mild Steel?

Mild Steel is low-carbon Steel with 0.04 – 0.3% carbon, making it malleable and ductile for various industrial uses. It has excellent weldability and formability properties, making it ideal for fabrication with easy bending and cutting processes.

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Difference Between Carbon Steel and Mild Steel

The main difference between carbon steel and mild Steel is the amount of carbon present. Carbon steel contains more carbon, while mild Steel has very low amounts of it. Carbon content affects the Steel’s hardness, strength, ductility and malleability. Mild steels are generally softer than carbon steels and, therefore, more malleable while retaining their strength at lower temperatures.

Composition and Manufacturing Process

The primary difference between carbon steel and mild Steel is their composition and manufacturing process. Carbon steel has a higher carbon content, typically around 0.30% to 2.0%, and contains other alloying elements besides iron and carbon, such as manganese, silicon, and copper. Meanwhile, mild Steel has a lower carbon content, generally around 0.05% to 0.25%, and has no other alloying elements besides iron and carbon. The manufacturing process for carbon steel involves more heat and refinement than mild Steel.


Carbon steel has a higher tensile strength than mild Steel, making it more durable and suitable for heavy-duty applications. However, it can also be brittle, especially when exposed to extreme temperature changes or stress. Mild Steel, on the other hand, is more ductile and has a lower tensile strength than carbon steel. It is less susceptible to breaking or cracking than carbon steel, making it an ideal material for construction or manufacturing projects that require flexibility.


Mild Steel is more affordable than carbon steel since it has a lower carbon content and is easier to manufacture. Carbon steel, on the other hand, requires more refined manufacturing processes, making it more expensive than mild Steel.


Carbon steel is commonly used in industries that require high tensile and yield strength, such as construction, heavy equipment manufacturing, and the energy industry. Meanwhile, mild Steel is ideal for general engineering applications, construction, and the automotive industry, where flexibility and affordability are crucial. Both materials can be welded, but carbon steel’s higher carbon content may require pre- or post-heat treatment to prevent cracking.

Corrosion Resistance

The carbon content of Steel affects its corrosion resistance. Carbon steel is more susceptible to corrosion than mild Steel, and its surface can rust and corrode over time. Mild Steel has a lower carbon content, making it more corrosion-resistant. However, its surface can still rust and corrode when exposed to moisture and chemicals.


To sum it up, the primary difference between carbon steel and mild steel lies in their composition and manufacturing process, strength, cost, application, and corrosion resistance. While carbon steel is more robust and has higher tensile strength than mild Steel, it can also be brittle and more expensive. Mild Steel, on the other hand, is more affordable and malleable, making it ideal for general engineering and construction applications. Understanding the differences between these two materials can help you choose the right type of Steel for your project and ensure its success.



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