What Type of Sheet Metal Is Best for Your Application?

January 6, 2022 6:25 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Professional metal fabricators understand that not all metals are created equal, and the metal that’s right for one application will simply not be right for another. Unfortunately, many of our customers who aren’t as familiar with the industry don’t always understand this concept right away.

The good news is that we’re here to help explain everything you need to know. Keep reading to learn more about some of the various applications for different sheet metals, including some high-carbon steel uses and low-carbon steel uses.


Aluminum is used for many more products than a can of soda. It’s one of the most popular metals out there for custom-parts manufacturing and airplane bodies because it’s more malleable and elastic than steel. It also has a high strength-to-weight ratio and is corrosion resistant. Many people opt to use aluminum over other corrosion-resistant metals because it’s much cheaper.

The biggest drawback is that aluminum is likely to warm or deform when exposed to temperatures greater than 400°F. Additionally, aluminum is a difficult metal to weld due to its high thermal conductivity.

Stainless steel

Stainless steel is a steel alloy containing a minimum of 10.5 percent chromium, which provides many of the material’s benefits. Manufacturers opt for stainless steel when aesthetics matter because of the shine the chromium adds to the product. You’ll find stainless steel in many of today’s household kitchen appliances as well as in commercial kitchens.

Like aluminum, stainless steel is corrosion resistant; unlike aluminum, this metal can be expensive and has a low strength-to-weight ratio. When weight matters, stainless steel isn’t your best bet.

Low-carbon steel

Also known as mild steel, low-carbon steel contains anywhere from 0.14 percent to 0.20 percent carbon. This low carbon content makes it very easy to fabricate. Plus, it’s more malleable than stainless steel, costs less and is much easier to weld. Some low-carbon steel uses include car panels, computer boxes and pretty much all steel sheet products.

The biggest drawback of low-carbon steel is that it requires galvanizing to prevent corrosion. For that reason, you don’t want to use this metal if it’s going to be used in a marine setting or corrosive environment.

High-carbon steel

High-carbon steel is on the opposite end of the spectrum. This product has between 0.6 percent and 2.5 percent carbon content and is harder than stainless steel due to these high carbon levels. Since it’s harder and less likely to warp or deform than some other metals, some high-carbon steel uses include wear plates and springs.

This metal’s high hardness level does have its disadvantages, though. The increased hardness leads to increased brittleness. Much like its low-carbon counterpart, high-carbon steel also isn’t corrosion resistant.

We can help you choose the best metal for your application

For information on high-carbon steel uses or to hire a fabrication partner to assist with your project, contact our team at Benchmark Fabricated Steel today. We’re looking forward to speaking with you and learning more about how we can help with all of your fabrication needs.

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