The Pros and Cons of Mild Steel

It can be difficult for a layperson to select a type of steel from the variety available for use during a DIY project. This article discusses some of the benefits and the drawbacks of mild steel (steel with low levels of carbon). Use this information to decide whether this material is suitable for your project.

The Pros

It is light. The carbon content of steel determines how heavy that steel may be. For instance, carbon steel (steel with high levels of carbon in it) is much heavier than mild steel because mild steel has less carbon in it when compared to carbon steel. Thus, it will be easier for you to work without help if you opt for mild steel. Selecting heavier steel types may compel you to get help in handling that metal as you work.

It is affordable. Mild steel is one of the most affordable types of steel. This low cost makes this material ideal for someone who wants to keep project costs as low as possible.

It is ductile. Mild steel has a high level of ductility. Consequently, it will be easy for you to bend the steel into the different shapes that you would like during the execution of your DIY project. For instance, it will be easy for you to bend the steel into the different shapes of the components of the furniture that you may want to make.

The Cons

It cannot be heat treated. Heat treatment usually affects the carbon content of steel. Steel is usually subjected to heat treatment in order to alter its characteristics, such as making it harder. Mild steel is therefore a poor candidate for heat treatment because the limited carbon content in it makes it unable to show significant changes after heat treatment.

It isn't very strong. Mild steel will easily fail if it is subjected to high-stress applications, such as using it to make grates that will be driven over frequently by heavy vehicles. It is therefore only suitable for low-stress applications, such as making home or garden products. This is in contrast to stronger types of steel, such as carbon steel, that can handle high-stress applications.

Consider the benefits and the shortcomings of mild steel discussed above before you make a final decision. It may also be helpful to discuss other steel types, such as stainless steel, with a steel fabrication expert so that you get several options from which you can choose the most appropriate for your specific project.