The Low-Carbon Steel Grades We Use for Our Cold-Rolled Steel Profiles

Greater dimensional precision and increased strength make low carbon grades an important grade to consider for profile configurations produced by cold rolling. The formability of the many grades of low carbon steel is ideal for cold rolling. In this post, we explore the different kinds of low-carbon steel grades as well as some of their applications.

Common Low-Carbon Steel Grades Used for Cold Rolling

Low-carbon steel is one of three main carbon steel categories:

  • Low carbon (mild steel): This is the largest group of carbon steel, characterized by 0.04% to 0.30% carbon content. Low-carbon steel allows manufacturers to create a broad variety of shapes, from flat steel to structural beams. The addition of other elements such as aluminum or manganese means that carbon steel can be altered to fit a variety of applications.
  • Medium carbon: Stronger than low-carbon steel, this variation includes a content of 0.31% to 0.60% carbon alloyed with manganese ranging from 0.060% to 1.65%. Medium-carbon steel is more difficult to form, cut, and weld, but manufacturers can more easily heat treat it to harden and temper medium-carbon steel products.
  • High carbon (carbon tool steel): High-carbon steel is very difficult to bend, cut, or weld, making it an excellent choice for use as tool steel. Its carbon content ranges from 0.61% to 1.50%. Heat treatment of this steel makes it extremely hard and brittle.

Because of its forming characteristics, low-carbon steel is an ideal material of choice for the cold rolling process. Rathbone Precision Metals uses various grades of low-carbon steel to produce cold-rolled and cold-drawn steel profiles. Among these low-carbon steel grades are:

  • C1008: Comprising 0.10% carbon and 0.40% manganese in its content, C1008 is easy to form and weld. It’s a common structural component in furniture, automotive equipment, and appliances.
  • C1010: The carbon content of this grade ranges from 0.080% to 0.13%, and it includes between 0.30% and 0.60% manganese. Quenching and tempering increase this steel’s strength, making it the material of choice when building cold-headed fasteners and bolts.
  • C1018: The most common readily available general-purpose steel is often used to produce carburized parts. It rates at 78% machinability and is easy to weld. It is composed of between 0.15% and 0.20% carbon and 0.60% to 0.90% manganese. Its primary applications include uses as carburized parts, mounting plates, fixtures, and spacers.
  • C1020: C1020 is another general-purpose steel with carbon content between 0.18% and 0.23% and manganese content between 0.30% and 0.60%. It is a lesser manufactured grade than 1018. This steel demonstrates good machinability in its as-forged condition. It’s also easy to weld and works well when carburized. This grade of low-carbon steel is commonly used in machinery parts, and forged pump, hydraulic, and motor shafts.
  • C1045: This steel has one of the highest carbon contents of commonly used low-carbon steels. Carbon content ranges from 0.43% to 0.50%, and manganese content comprises 0.60% to 0.90%. This strong steel maintains consistency better than other grades when forged or heat treated; however, it requires specialized workers to use it in welding and machining applications. Light gears, torsion bars, forged connecting rods, crankshafts, bolts, and axles are all common applications created using this steel grade.

It is important to note that when considering the above low-carbon grades, the higher the carbon content grade can provide more strength and hardness than that of the lower carbon content grades. C1045, having the highest carbon content of these low carbon grades can therefore provide more strength and hardness than that of C1020, C1018, C1010 and C1008.

Rathbone’s Cold-Rolled and Cold-Drawn Low-Carbon Steel

Precision cold-rolled and cold-drawn steel profiles are some of the most prevalently manufactured items at Rathbone Precision Metals. Our steel products can fit within diameters of 0.032” to 2.00” and come with standard dimensional tolerances of ±0.002” thickness and ±0.005” width for cold-rolled profiles. We offer linear dimensional tolerances from our standard ±0.002” to ±0.0005” using cold drawing controls.

We deliver customer-required cross-sectional dimensions and profile configurations in a variety of forms, which include:

  • Catch-weight and pancake-wound coils
  • Exact-length and random mill length bars
  • Deburred and non-burred saw-cut pieces
  • Adiabatic sheared pieces for those requiring larger volumes

Quality Cold-Rolled Steel from Rathbone Precision Metals

Cold-rolled steel is an important material used to create a broad range of components that appear in many different industries. Low-carbon steel’s unique characteristics make it an ideal material for your consideration to be provided as a cold rolled or cold drawn steel profile. Rathbone provides quality cold rolling and cold drawing processes for customers requiring versatile steel solutions.

If you would like to learn more about our services and offerings, contact us to request a quote!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *