What are the different types of Steel?

Steel is one of the most widely used materials globally, with an annual production of 1.3 billion tonnes, and it is employed in the building of numerous architectural fabrications.

Steel is divided into several sub-categories, and the type of steel used depends on the various qualities and characteristics of a given structure.

Strength, flexibility, hardness, aesthetics, and cost are the attributes that differ the most between steel varieties. Choosing the right steel type for the job might improve the project’s quality and price, depending on the scope of work.

Steel is a broader term that refers to many metals; however, it may be divided into two categories by Gilchrist Steels: stainless steel and mild steel. Even though the phrases stainless and mild refer to a wide range of metals, there are a few significant differences between the two.

What is mild steel?

Mild steel is low carbon steel that is also known as “low carbon steel.” Mild steel has typically 0.05 to 0.25 per cent carbon by weight, while higher carbon steels typically have 0.30 to 2.0 per cent carbon by weight. If more carbon is added, the steel becomes cast iron.

Mild steel is not alloy steel; therefore, it does not include substantial chromium, molybdenum, or other alloying elements. Because of its low carbon and alloying element content, it has a number of characteristics that distinguish it from higher carbon and alloy steels.

This makes mild steel easier to work with and weld than high carbon steel. However, it makes it difficult to harden and strengthen by heating and quenching. Because it has less carbon and other alloying elements than high carbon and alloy steels, it has less tensile strength. High iron and ferrite content makes steel magnetic.

Due to the lack of alloying elements found in stainless steel, the iron in mild steel is susceptible to oxidation (rust). However, the low alloying element content makes mild steel cheaper than other steels. Its low cost, weldability, and machinability make it a customer favourite.

How is mild steel made?

Mild steel is manufactured like other carbon steel. Iron ore and coal are commonly used in this process. After mining, coal and iron ore are fused in a blast furnace. Following melting, the mixture is transported to another furnace to burn out any impurities and correct the mild steel’s chemical makeup. The steel is then allowed to harden into a rectangle. This mild steel slab is rolled or drawn to the desired size, although various procedures are available. 

Mild steel’s common application

Here are some examples of its application around the world:

  • Decorations
  • Signs
  • Structural steel
  • Fencing
  • Furniture
  • Nails
  • Automobiles
  • Wire

Types of mild steel

S275 Steel

S275 is steel with low carbon content. Low carbon steels are defined as having a carbon content of less than 0.3 per cent by weight. S275 steel, which has a maximum carbon content of 0.25 per cent, is easy to process, weld, and mould, making it excellent general-purpose steel. Heat treatment has little effect on S275 steel due to its low carbon content.


A few common uses of Mild Steel Channel Black S275 are:

  • Automobiles
  • Furniture
  • Structural Steel
  • Fencing
  • Wire
  • Signs
  • Decorations
  • Nails

S-355 Steel

The S355 steel grade is medium-tensile, low-carbon manganese steel that is easy to weld and has good impact resistance (also in sub-zero temperatures).

This material is frequently supplied untreated or normalised, and it comes in a variety of forms that offer minor chemical and mechanical characteristics differences.

This material has machinability similar to mild steel.


A few common uses of Mild Steel Beam Black S355 are:

  • Bridge components
  • Equipment for Load-Handling
  • Wind Tower Components
  • Structural Steel Works
  • Offshore Structures Components
  • Power Plants
  • Equipment for Mining and Earth-Moving 

Difference between S-275 & S-355 Mild Steel

Their chemical composition is what distinguishes them even though they are produced at the same cost.

The regulations are expected to change to allow all S-355 components to be used instead of mild steel because it is a stronger, more durable material.


Stainless steel offers several unique properties that engineers and designers frequently overlook due to the material’s perceived higher initial cost. Stainless steel, on the other hand, is one of the most durable metals available, making it one of the best choices for a project’s lifetime. What other qualities does stainless steel have besides its durability? Let’s look at it more closely.

First and foremost, what is it?

It’s essentially low-carbon steel with high chromium content. This chromium inclusion is what gives the metal its stainless, anti-corrosive qualities. The chromium in the steel creates a barrier or oxide film that protects the metal. This film has self-healing capabilities that allow it to reseal the protective barrier around the metal if it is damaged chemically or mechanically. There are various grades of stainless steel (over 60 in fact), but they can be grouped into five classes based on the primary elements found within each category that determine the metal’s microstructure.

Benefits of Stainless Steel

Resistance to heat and fire

Certain stainless steel types are highly resistant to high temperatures and, as a result, will retain their strength and structure when exposed.

Cleaning becomes easier

Stainless steel’s easy-to-clean qualities make it an excellent choice for regions with stringent hygiene requirements. Food preparation areas such as those found in hospitals, abattoirs, kitchens, and many food processing industries fall under this category.

The ratio of strength to weight

While comparing to other metals such as iron, stainless steel is highly strong while remaining relatively light. As a result, in terms of weight, you don’t need as much of it to accomplish the same benefits, and it can thus provide good value for money.

Corrosive resistance is high

One of the most significant benefits of stainless steel is that it does not discolour, rust, or degrade as quickly as steel or iron. Furthermore, higher grades of stainless steel alloy can withstand corrosion in acidic and alkaline conditions. As a result, it’s ideal for usage in a variety of chemical processing plants.

Completely recyclable

The fact that stainless steel is 100 per cent recyclable is perhaps the most revealing advantage. It is frequently manufactured by melting down and repurposing waste metals, and it may be recycled indefinitely without changing or decreasing the material’s properties. Currently, roughly 50% of stainless steel is made from recyclable resources, but it is hoped that by 2050, this ratio will touch 100%, making it one of the most environmentally friendly materials on the globe.

Stainless steel is flexible enough to be pressed into metal sheets, rolled into stainless steel pipes, and moulded into elaborate shapes, making it perfect for sophisticated machinery. As a result, stainless steel is utilised on a wide range of products, from high-rise contemporary mega-structures to everyday goods like kettles and toasters. In reality, stainless steel may be found almost anywhere.

What makes it superior to regular steel?

Stainless steel is regarded for its exceptional corrosion resistance, although it is 4 to 5 times more expensive than ordinary steel. The use of this product is recommended for specific applications and high-demand conditions. Stainless steel is 200 times more corrosion resistant than mild steel.

Stainless Steel’s most common applications

Stainless steel is mainly utilised in completed items such as cutlery, worktops, kitchens, the marine industry, and the food business.

  • Automotive and aerospace applications: Aircraft, Autobodies, and Rail cars. 
  • Culinary uses: Kitchen sinks, Cutlery, Cookware
  • Architecture: Bridges, Monuments and sculptures, Airport roofs

Gilchrist Steel is the place to go if you are working on a stainless-steel design project and need a good steel fabricator. Why not contact us for advice? We can deliver exactly according to your requirement. You can also contact us for an online chat by sending us an email. We are eagerly awaiting you, whatever you decide!


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