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Difference Between Wrought Steel and Carbon Steel

Wrought steel vs Carbon steel

When it comes to metalworking, there are many different types of steel that can be used for various projects. Two of the most popular types are wrought steel and carbon steel, both of which have unique properties that make them ideal for certain applications. Let’s take a closer look at these two types of steel to understand their differences and similarities.

What is Wrought steel?

Wrought steel is an iron-carbon alloy that has been heated and shaped into a malleable material. It typically has a low carbon content and is incredibly resilient, malleable, and ductile. It’s been used for centuries all over the world, from tools and weapons to ships and cathedrals. Wrought steel offers a strength that is greater than cast iron but less than other steels due to its carbon content; it provides flexibility and strength in situations where those things are both beneficial. While wrought steel can rust if exposed to damp environments, it can be coated with protective wax or paint to protect against corrosion – making it an extremely good choice for outdoor applications such as bridges or water tanks.

What is carbon steel?

Carbon steel is a type of metal that is extremely important to the industrial age. It is known for its stiffness and strength, making it an ideal choice for constructing things like airplanes, vehicles, ships and bridges. It’s also popular in the manufacturing sector due to its corrosion resistance, malleability and thermal conductivity. Carbon steel has several alloying elements added to it to form more specialized versions including high-strength low alloy steel and ultra-high-carbon steel which are used in niche applications. With its versatile properties, it’s no surprise carbon steel is such a major component of numerous industries today.

Wrought Steel vs. Carbon Steel

The primary difference between wrought steel and carbon steel is that wrought steel is an alloy, while carbon steel is made from iron ore. Wrought steel is an incredibly strong material that has been used for centuries in everything from bridges to buildings. It is also extremely resistant to corrosion, making it ideal for outdoor applications. Carbon steel, on the other hand, is much softer than wrought steel but still offers excellent strength. It is often used in projects where high levels of strength are not required, such as furniture and decorative pieces.

Both wrought steel and carbon steel can be tempered or heat treated to give them additional strength or flexibility depending on the application they are being used for. Tempering involves heating the metal to a specific temperature and then quickly cooling it to harden or soften the metal, depending on the type of tempering process you use. This allows metalworkers to customize a piece of metal to meet their exact needs for a particular project.

Both types of steel have unique properties that make them useful for different applications. Wrought iron is incredibly strong but can become brittle in some cases if not properly tempered or treated with care. Carbon steel is softer but more malleable than wrought iron, so it can be easier to work with when creating intricate designs or shapes from sheet metal. Additionally, carbon steel will not corrode as easily as wrought iron, so it may be better suited for outdoor applications where rust could become an issue over time.

  • Wrought steel is an alloy of iron and carbon, with a carbon content of less than 2%. It is a tough, ductile material that is highly resistant to wear and tear.
  • Carbon steel is an alloy of iron and carbon, with a carbon content of between 2% and 4%. It is a strong, durable material that is resistant to wear and tear.
  • Wrought steel is more expensive than carbon steel.
  • Wrought steel is harder to work with than carbon steel.
  • Wrought steel is more brittle than carbon steel and is more likely to break or shatter under impact.


When deciding between using wrought or carbon steels for your next project, consider your needs carefully and research each type of metal thoroughly before making your final decision. Both types offer excellent strength but have subtle differences that may make one better suited than the other depending on your specific application requirements. Whether you need a durable material like wrought iron or something more malleable like carbon steel, understanding the pros and cons of each type will help you choose which one best meets your needs. With careful consideration and proper research, you will be sure to find just what you need!

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