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What Are Carbon Steel Forgings?

carbon steel forgings

Forgings made from one of the four grades of steel are referred to as carbon steel forgings. Carbon steel is simply steel with different amounts of carbon integrated into the steel. Low-carbon steel contains between .05 and .25% carbon while medium carbon steel contains between .29 and .54%.

Steel infused with the highest percentage of carbon is called “high” carbon steel. Formulated to withstand strong pressure and forces, high-carbon steel is between .55 and .95% carbon. The American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) has established a system that classifies different grades of steel using four-digit appellatives. These digits indicate the grading and carbon content of the carbon steel forging.

Why Use Carbon Steel Forgings?

Carbon steel offers exceptional structural integrity due to having a solid grain architecture that can withstand heavy stress, impacts, and loads. They are also cost-effective because carbon steel does not need pricey alloys to provide superior strength and durability. Moreover, the open-die process used to produce these forgings also keeps the cost budget-friendly.

Carbon steel forgings can also be produced in a wide variety of sizes and shapes to accommodate even the most complex projects. Advanced forging technology eliminates all or nearly all fissures, bubbles, and other flaws commonly affecting cast parts.

Quality control procedures for testing carbon steel forgings is called non-destructive testing (NDT) and includes one or more of the following tests:

  • Magnetic Particle
  • Leak/Penetrant
  • Ultrasonic
  • Acoustic Emission
  • Visual Inspection
  • Computed Tomographic
  • Radiographic

NDT ensures forgings are reliable, safe, and capable of meeting or exceeding expectations.

Benefits of Using Forged Carbon Steel

In addition to being one of the strongest and dependable types of steel, carbon steel forgings provide many more advantages, including:

  • Leak-Free Connections: This is due to special forging applications and stringent quality control standards
  • Versatility: They are available in an array of styles and sizes, including elbows, plugs, unions, tees, bushings, and couplings
  • Durability: Carbon steel forgings offer significantly improved reliability and strength compared to steel plates and castings
  • Affordability:  Carbon steel is an affordable choice for developing a wide array of structural applications
  • Better Resistance: Forged carbon steel offers dependable toughness and strength for low and high-temperature conditions, and it’s resistant to general wear and corrosion.
  • Lightweight: Mild steel is lightweight and malleable to accommodate the need for even the most complex industrial shapes

What Is Carbon Steel Used For?

There are three different types of carbon steel: low, medium, and high. All three of these types are used in many applications.

Low-Carbon Steel

Common uses for low carbon steel include appliances, car doors and hoods, truck/SUV bed floors, machine parts, cookware/utensils, and fencing. With its superior structural qualities and natural resistance to environmental damage, low-carbon steel can also be used for numerous construction projects.

Medium-Carbon Steel

Medium carbon steel is the perfect choice for building large machinery parts, crankshafts, train wheels, train tracks, industrial boilers, bridge joints/beams, and other applications that require heavy-duty, tough materials.

High-Carbon Steel

Steel with carbon contents of .55% and more are considered high-carbon steels. Properties of high-carbon steel (extreme strength, hardness, and resistance to wear and tear) are necessary for sharp-edged cutting tools, dies, punches, masonry nails, and cast-iron products.

What Is Drop-Forged Carbon Steel?

Drop-forged carbon steel has been around for centuries. Before the Industrial Age, drop forgers were skilled metal forgers who manually shaped and pressed hot metal into specific shapes. Today, drop forging is done by computerized machinery preprogrammed to heat and forge steel.

Superior to other forging methods, carbon steel drop forging greatly improves the ability to eliminate the tiniest of crystalline flaws often found in cast parts. Forgings needed for applications involving extreme temperatures and pressures should be made of drop-forged carbon steel to prevent operational failure.

Future Market Predictions for Carbon Steel

The global carbon steel market value is expected to meet or exceed $9.8 billion during the first quarter of 2022. Partly driven by the discovery of novel uses for low-, medium-, and high-carbon steel, the demand for carbon steel forgings is also exponentially increasing in the commercial air and space exploration industries.

Reach Out to Trenton Forging Today

To learn more about carbon steel forging, contact Trenton Forging Company today. We’ve served customers in the agricultural, construction, automotive, transportation, defense, and forestry industries for over five decades. Click here to learn more about our complete forging services, or call us today to learn more about the benefits of carbon steel forging.

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