Mild steel is among the most widely available variations of the metal, and for good reason. Its sheer versatility and budgetary benefits make it a standard choice for reinforcing concrete, and for making automobile parts and cookware. However it also sees notable use within machinery in the form of studs, bolts, gears and shafts, and in this blog post we’re going to look at the mechanical properties of mild steel, and why they have resulted in this metal being so widely used.


In intense areas of industrial activity, such as gas or oil fields, there’s huge demand for high strength steel materials that can resist critical loads in very hostile environments. Whether your ‘office’ is the desert or somewhere much colder, the temperature pressures that test mild steel’s tensile strength range from −80 °C to +30 °C. This isn’t even taking into account the other vital qualities that would be required of a material in general use, such as weldability, corrosion resistance and its overall density.

The mechanical properties of mild steel in this regard make it well suited for purpose; compared to high-carbon steel it’s profoundly flexible, with everything from washing machines to oil drums benefitting from the fact that parts can be easily made to fit whilst retaining a good degree of strength. One important distinction to make is to identify the difference between mild steel and ‘dead mild steel’. Still an alloy of iron and carbon, dead mild steel has a slightly different carbon content (generally varying from 0.15 to 0.3 percentage), and is used for making various components like sheets, strips, wire or rods.

One of the more obvious benefits of mild steel in mechanical applications is its ferromagnetism. Low carbon steel has the ideal qualities to have when producing motor parts and electrical devices, including a lack of any other alloying elements, a relative permeability of 2,000 and Watt losses of 5.5 W/kg. Typically seen in ac applications in which the operating conditions are not severe, the ferromagnetism of mild steel makes it a primary component of small motors with intermittent usage, generators, pole pieces and laminations for relays and other electromechanical equipment.

As well being able to deliver a highsurface hardness and a soft core to various parts, mild steel is also used to improve drilling, machining, threading and punching processes. It can prevent cracking in severe bens, and is routinely used in hot forging and rolling tool steels. Whilst the metal’s definition can be fuzzy in certain respects, but any metal that offers a consistent .15 to .2% Carbon should deliver all the aforementioned mechanical properties of mild steel.

For future blogs looking at the benefits of uses of mild steel, aluminium and more, keep an eye on the Austen Knapman Facebook page, or follow us at @AUSTENKLTD.

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