Difference Between Mild Steel and Stainless Steel

Steel is considered to be one of the best and most common materials used worldwide. Steel is usually used for the construction of different architectural fabrications. There are several subcategories of steel that depend on different qualities and characteristics of a build.

The type of steel varies more in its hardness, strength, cost, and aesthetics. Depending on the kind of work, the detection of the proper type of steel, and cost, the required type of steel can be opted.

Mild Steel

Carbon steel is often called mild steel. Mild steel makes for the biggest part of production steel used in various range of applications. Most of the carbon steel is strong and stiff. The resistance of mild steels is poor, so they are not be used in an environment that is corrosive.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel can be defined as a steel alloy that has a minimum of 12 percent chromium content. As this type of steel never stains, hence the name stainless steel.

It never corrodes or rusts and is very easy to use. Several grades furnish stainless steel that suits environments with materials that can be subjected in a lifetime.

The difference between mild steel and stainless steel is explained in detail in the below table with respect to their properties.

Mild Steel Vs Stainless Steel

PropertiesMild SteelStainless Steel
CompositionMild Steel is unalloyed steel containing carbon, manganese, phosphorus, sulfur, and silicon. Mild steel contains 0.15 to 0.25 % of carbon.Stainless steel is an alloy steel containing a minimum of about 12 % chromium (Cr), and other elements are added to improve particular characteristics, including nickel, manganese, molybdenum, copper titanium, silicon, niobium, aluminum, sulfur, and selenium.
Corrosion-ResistantMild steel is not resistant to corrosion and easily rusts rapidly. The iron content present in mild steel reacts with moisture in the air to produce iron oxide. This iron oxide is also called Rust.Stainless steel does not rust easily. The chromium layer prevents iron from oxidizing, which gives corrosion resistance property to stainless steel.
AppearanceMild steel is dull and has a matte finish.Stainless steel has a silver-white shiny or lustrous appearance. The coating of chromium on stainless steel makes it attractive in its natural state without needing to be painted.
ToughnessThe toughness of mild steel is less.The toughness of stainless steel is more when compared with mild steel.
DuctilityMild steel has a low carbon content, due to which it is more ductile.Stainless steel is less ductile as compared to mild steel.
HardnessThe hardness of mild steel is low than stainless steel.The hardness of stainless steel is more compared to mild steel.
WeldabilityWelding of mild steel members is easier than stainless steel. Stainless steel has low weldability; welding stainless steel changes its shape and needs a very skilled and experienced welder.
MagnetizationMild steel can be permanently magnetized as it contains a high amount of iron.Stainless steel may not be magnetized.
MalleabilityMild steel is more malleable compared to stainless steel, due to which it finds its application in major of the fabrication works.Stainless steel is less malleable when compared to mild steel.
ElasticityThe elasticity of mild steel is low than stainless steel.Stainless steel is more elastic than mild steel.
HardnessThe hardness of mild steel is less than stainless steel.As stainless steel contains chromium hence the hardness of stainless steel is more than mild steel.
Thermal ConductivityStainless steel has higher thermal conductivity than mild steel.Stainless steel has lower thermal conductivity than mild steel.
StrengthThe strength of mild steel is less as compared to stainless steel.The strength of stainless steel is more than that of mild steel.
WeightMild steel doesn’t weigh more than stainlessStainless is around 5 or 6% heavier than mild steel.
ApplicationMild Steel is widely used for manufacturing rolled sections, reinforcing bars, roof coverings, sheet piles, railway tracks, channels, angles, bolts, rivets, and sheets.Stainless Steel is widely used to manufacture household utensils, railings for stairs and balconies, pipes, grills for window vessels to store acids, dairy pharma plant equipment, etc.Their relative inertness and finish-retention qualities also make them useful in surgical equipment and kitchen applications such as sinks, kitchen countertops, etc.
Cleaning and MaintenanceThe cleaning and maintenance of mild steel are difficult as compared to stainless steel.The cleaning and maintenance of stainless steel can be easily cleaned, and it requires less maintenance.
CostMild steel is less expensive than stainless steel when working on a low budget, and mild steel proved economical.Stainless steel is more expensive when compared to mild steel.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Mild Steel

Advantages

i) Mild steel can be easily cut, bent, and twisted to deform into the desired shape.

ii) Mild steel structures prove to be economical due to their low cost.

iii) Mild steel is an elastic material and can be easily cut, machined, punched, or drilled, welded, forged, and rolled.

Disadvantages

i) Mild steel forms rust easily.

ii) Due to its lightweight, a harder body’s ability to resist penetration is less compared to stainless steel.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Stainless Steel

Advantages

i) Due to the high corrosion resistance property, stainless steel is suitable for extreme environments.

ii) Fire and heat resistance allows it to retain shape at high temperatures.

iii) Stainless steel’s easy cleaning ability makes it the primary choice for applications requiring strict hygiene control, such as in hospitals, kitchens, and other food processing plants.

iv) Its aesthetic appearance provides a modern and attractive look to metal applications.

v) Ease of fabrication and modern steel-making techniques allow stainless steel to be cut, machined, fabricated, and welded.

Disadvantages

i) The initial cost is high, especially when compared to alternative metals.

ii) Difficult to fabricate stainless steel without using high technology machines and proper techniques.

iii) The cost of final polishing and finishing of stainless steel is high.

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