There are various notions surrounding the comparison between the two major metals (stainless steel and mild steel) used in construction especially in flange manufacturing industries. But before exploring the important aspects, is it important for people to know the difference between the two to be used for flange making. If you were to use one or the other, it is essential that you ensure that you have the proper knowledge of which is more suitable. Otherwise, it could completely compromise the project you have in hand.
Description of Mild Steel and Stainless Steel
Carbon steel is sometimes referred to as ‘mild steel’. It is defined by The American Iron and Steel Institute as having no more than 2 % carbon and no other appreciable alloying element. Mild steel makes up the largest part of steel production and is the most used in a vast range of applications. Welding carbon steels with a carbon content greater than 0.3 % requires that special precautions be taken. However, welding mild steel presents far fewer problems than welding stainless steels in the flange making process.
Stainless steel is defined as a steel alloy with a minimum of 11.5 wt% chromium content. Stainless steel does not stain, decompose or rust as easily as ordinary steel (it “stains less”), but it is not stain-proof. It is also called corrosion resistant steel when the alloy type and grade are not detailed, particularly in the aviation industry. There are different grades and surface finishes of stainless steel to suit the environment to which the material will be subjected in its lifetime.
Costing as a factor for Mild Steel
Cost is a very significant aspect that is to be considered in the Manufacturing Industries. Mild steel is a cheap form of iron-carbon alloy, and hence is cheap and suitable to be used in the flange Manufacturing Industries.
Stainless steel is only more expensive to make, more expensive to machine and when it is welded it moves/changes its shape and as such, it needs very skilled and experienced welders. Also, stainless steel contains additional compounds that reduces hydro-corrosion and increases the hardness of the steel. This makes it more expensive, less flexible and is more likely to suffer from stress fatigue and stress fractures, which calls for a lot of fixing, hence increasing the cost factor. This makes it less suitable to be used for the making of flanges.
Usability as a factor for Mild Steel
Mild steel is the most common high capacity steel in production. It is often used when large amounts of steel are needed, for example as structural steel. Mild steel is the most common form of steel as its price is relatively low while it provides material properties that are acceptable for many applications especially in the flange making industries.
On the other hand, Stainless Steel is a hard, beautiful metal that is ideal for furniture and art decor but finds lesser applications in Manufacturing Industries and especially that of flanges due to the cost factor as well as the fact that it is more breakable and non flexible.
The Flexibility of Mild Steel
Mild steel is more malleable than stainless steel, hence paving its way in to the manufacturing industries and its excessive use in flange making. It is subject to corrosion but is malleable and does not suffer from the brittleness issues of stainless steel thereby making stainless steel less effective to be used in flange making.
Hardness and Strength as a factor for Mild Steel
Mild steel is less hard than stainless steel as stainless steel reduces hydro-corrosion, which increases the hardness of the steel. But this makes it less ductile. Mild steel has a reasonable strength and hardness. It is easier to weld than stainless, and it is cheaper. Even though mild steel has a relatively lower tensile strength, it is flexible, which makes it highly suitable for the manufacturing of flanges. However mild steel can be hardened by increasing the carbon content and surface hardness can be increased through carburizing.
Weight as a Factor for Mild Steel
Mild steel weighs less than stainless steel. Stainless steel weighs more due to its hardening properties and has a lesser occupancy to be used for flange making as it makes it difficult to be handled during the manufacturing process. Also, the weight determines the effectiveness of the steel in flange making.