Steel, the most widely used metal in the world, surrounds us in various forms. Although there are various grades of steel available, they share common properties and advantages. However, specific characteristics are unique to each grade and they can influence the decision about which material to use for a particular project.

The main two categories of steel are mild steel and stainless steel. The main difference between any grades of steel is their chemical composition, which can change their strength, ductility, hardness, and cost.

Mild steel contains carbon as its alloy; it dominates steel production and finds extensive use in construction, engineering, and manufacturing due to its versatility. Renowned for its malleability, mild steel is ideal for shaping and welding. While being malleable, it is also extremely stiff and strong. Additionally, mild steel, being magnetic, can be safeguarded against corrosion, and its affordability relative to stainless steel contributes to its popularity.

Stainless steel includes both carbon and chromium. Chromium changes the internal structure of the steel, giving it a very high corrosion resistance, resistance to impact, and a hard surface that doesn’t stain or tarnish. This makes stainless steel the preferred choice for applications demanding heat and corrosion resistance. Its resistance to odours and discoloration, absence of pores or cracks that could harbour bacteria, and non-contaminating properties make it ideal for hygienic environments, such as in food preparation and medical equipment.

Overall, you should use mild steel in applications where: you won’t be using the steel surface directly (final piece is painted or coated), very large structures when you need a more cost-effective solution, if the metal needs to be bent or welded. When heat resistance, hygiene, or anti-corrosion are your main priorities, use stainless steel.

At Shearfab we have 30 years’ experience in sheet metalwork fabrication. Our extensive CAD department, CNC punching and laser-cutting equipment, welding, fabrication, and full in-house painting facility, coupled with our delivery fleet ensures customers receive a complete, quality-controlled turnkey project all from one site.

Shearfab’s one-stop-shop sheet metal fabrication facilities allows Shearfab to produce a surprisingly diverse range of mild steel and aluminium products. We work closely with our customers to complete quality-controlled turnkey projects from conception to installation. We produce structural steel to BS EN IEC 1090 Execution Class 2.

For more information on our services, speak to a member of our team today.