Every material used to manufacture electronics enclosure has different qualities and characteristics. Two of the primary steels used for metal electrical enclosure are stainless and carbon steel.
Even if they have very distinguishing differences, there are shared characteristics between these two steels. These differences can make them very appropriate for a wide variety of engineering applications. In order to make sure that you are making the right decision for your enclosure purchase, it is very vital to have firm grasp of understanding the similarities and key differences between these two steel material.
Before we proceed in this article, it is important that you know that the two metals – carbon steel and stainless steel – are about different material compositions that make them unique as they are. We will talk the different applications companies have for each.
It is important to know that these two steels have very different composition, they are primarily made of carbon and iron. In some instances, however, there are additional metals being added to make them the unique material as they are. Steel manufacturers are controlling and changing the metals’ elemental compositions and create a huge variety of alloys that makes them very good for different engineering applications.
These are the important ingredients for making the widely-used stainless steel: nickel, molybdenum, and chromium. Stainless steel should at least have 10.5 percent chromium in terms of its composition. There are strategies used by steel manufacturing plants to differ the composition of each stainless steel per its material to achieve a certain quality.
When it comes to carbon steel, it usually means that this steel’s primary ingredient are carbon and iron. These metals make carbon steel very durable. The content of carbon in each of this metal can range from 0.05 percent. In mild or low-carbon steels it can have this percentage. There are ultra high-carbon steels that has 3% composition of carbon content.
When it comes to cost of acquisition for each of the steel, it can greatly vary according to the form of the steel you are buying. There are several factors that determine the effective composition of the steel. In general sense, stainless steel has more expensive materials compare to the mild or medium carbon steel. However, when it comes to ultra high carbon steel, it can cost almost equal to stainless steel. This depends on what type of engineering application you are looking at. It is important for your design engineers what factors you need to have to be able to assess what type of metal enclosure you actually need.
When it comes to corrosion resistance, stainless steel is the best option. However, in general sense steel is very vulnerable when it comes to pitting and corrosion formation. While it is a durable material, it can still get corrosion especially when it is not in a dry place. The process of corrosion is produced by the oxidation process happening in the material. Steel have electrons that binds with oxygen or water molecule in the air. When this happens, there is an oxidized patch that will eventually become iron oxide which is usually called rust. Because of this, rusting is one of the main problems when it comes to structural problems when it is spread out to whole infrastructure.