High Quality Low Carbon Steel Sheets At Bushwick Metals

August 15, 2022 in Blog / Steel Sheets
worker handling low carbon steel sheets

In the first four months of 2022, steel mills in the United States shipped over 31 million net tons of steel. When researching steel suppliers, it can be difficult to tell the difference between the many types of steel available.

Steel comes in various shapes, sizes, and compositions. Each grade of steel has unique advantages and disadvantages. Different compositions and alloys give steel different physical properties. The properties of a steel grade determine what applications it’s best suited for.

Among our selection of steel products, steel sheets are one of our specialties. The kind of sheet metal you need depends on the specifications of your project. Sheet metal is used for applications like automotive and aerospace manufacturing, appliances, roofing, and construction.

Read on to learn more about the properties and applications of low-carbon steel sheets!

Different Types of Steel Sheets

Trying to understand the differences between grades of sheet metal can be overwhelming. We’ve put together a quick and simple guide to help you choose the right sheet.

Hot-Rolled

By far the most common type of steel sheet, hot-rolled sheets are a popular and low-cost option. Hot-rolled steel is cheaper than other kinds of steel because it’s easier to produce. Hot-rolled steel is also known for being easier to work with than other types of low-carbon steel sheet metal. Its ductility gives it the ability to bend flat without cracking. However, because of the untreated surface of hot-rolled steel, it has an oxide coating that doesn’t bind well to paint. This type of sheet metal is best for applications where the finish isn’t important.

Pickled and Oiled

Pickled and oiled sheet metal is manufactured in the same way as hot-rolled sheet metal. After production, however, we treat this sheet metal to give it a more desirable surface finish. We remove oxides from the steel sheet with an acid-pickling formula. Once we’ve removed oxides from the sheet, we give the surface a coat of oil to protect it from corrosion and rusting.

This type of sheet metal is good for any application hot-rolled sheet metal works for. However, because of the surface treatment, it has a smoother surface that is easier to coat with paint and enamel.

Hot-Rolled High-Strength Low-Alloy

High-Strength Low-Alloy, or HSLA, steel utilizes a small amount of strengthening alloys. The addition of these alloys gives HSLA steel sheet metal more hardness and corrosion resistance. Because high-strength low-alloy steel is more resistant to bending and corrosion, it’s good for structural applications. Though plate might be preferable for construction, structural steel sheets are good for construction projects requiring lightweight materials.

Cold-Rolled

Cold-rolled sheet metal goes through the same manufacturing processes as hot-rolled steel. After the initial high-temperature processing, however, it is further processed at lower temperatures. This extra processing makes cold-rolled steel harder than hot-rolled steel.

Cold-rolled steel offers a smooth surface that is suitable for painting. It also allows for sharper edges and narrower thickness tolerances.

Galvanized

Galvanized steel sheet metal gets treated with a coating of zinc that gives it good corrosion resistance. Galvanized sheets can use different amounts of zinc depending on the application. Its corrosion resistance makes it useful for projects that will be exposed to the elements.

The layer of zinc is resistant to cracking and peeling, so the metal can still easily be bent and formed. Galvanized steel is also suitable for welding and soldering.

The Benefits of Low-Carbon Steel Sheets

Low-carbon steel, also known as mild steel, has a carbon content of around 0.3%. Anything with a higher carbon content is regarded as medium-carbon or high-carbon steel. While high-carbon steel boasts higher hardness and tensile strength, low-carbon steel has some advantages over it. Low-carbon steel is cheaper to produce, for example, than high-carbon steel.

In addition to being cheaper, low-carbon steel is generally easier to work with. Because it is softer than high-carbon steel, it is easier to reshape.

How Steel Sheets Are Measured

When you shop for steel sheets, you’re going to see several different measurements for each product. Generally, sheet metal is measured by gauge, size of each sheet, and weight per square foot or sheet. Gauge is the measure of sheet metal’s thickness, shown as a single number. A higher gauge indicates a thinner sheet.

While it is possible to have metal thicker than 7 gauge, metal of this thickness or thicker is usually considered a plate instead of a sheet. Most commercial steel suppliers carry gauges as thin as 30. Sheet sizes will be given as two lengths, each in inches, for either edge of the sheet.

How to Choose the Right Steel Sheets

Some of the factors you should consider when choosing a sheet metal include size, processes used, and tolerance. For a larger structure, you’ll want harder steel sheets that will resist permanent reshaping. Think about how much weight the finished product will have to bear.

In manufacturing, you may work on sheet metal in many ways, including welding, bending, cutting, and painting. Keep in mind which sheet metal type will be easiest to work with. If you’re going to reshape a sheet several times, avoid harder steel sheets, such as cold-rolled, which can be more brittle. Instead, choose a sheet soft enough to bend without cracking. For projects requiring a lot of welding, choose a sheet metal with good weldability. This will reduce work time and result in a higher-quality finished product.

Trust Bushwick Metals for Your Steel Needs

At Bushwick Metals, we stock steel sheets in many grades, shapes, and sizes. Whatever your low-carbon steel sheet metal needs, we’ve got you covered. Still have questions about low-carbon steel sheets? Contact us today to learn more about our products and value-added services!

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