Carbon steel is steel in which the main interstitial alloying constituent is carbon in the range of 0. 12–2. 0%. The American Iron and Steel Institute(AISI) defines carbon steel as the following: “Steel is considered to be carbon steel when no minimum content is specified or required for chromium,cobalt, molybdenum, nickel, niobium, titanium, tungsten, vanadium or zirconium, or any other element to be added to obtain a desired alloying effect; when the specified minimum for copper does not exceed 0. 0 percent; or when the maximum content specified for any of the following elements does not exceed the percentages noted: manganese 1. 65, silicon 0. 60, copper 0. 60. “ The term “carbon steel” may also be used in reference to steel which is not stainless steel; in this use carbon steel may include alloy steels. As the carbon percentage content rises, steel has the ability to become harder and stronger through heat treating, however it becomes less ductile. Regardless of the heat treatment, a higher carbon content reduces weldability.
In carbon steels, the higher carbon content lowers the melting point.  Types See also: SAE steel grades Carbon steel is broken down into four classes based on carbon content: Mild and low-carbon steel Mild steel, also called plain-carbon steel, is the most common form of steel because its price is relatively low while it provides material properties that are acceptable for many applications, more so than iron. Low-carbon steel contains approximately 0. 05–0. 3% carbon and mild steel contains 0. 3–0. % carbon; making it malleable and ductile. Mild steel has a relatively low tensile strength, but it is cheap and malleable; surface hardness can be increased through carburizing.  It is often used when large quantities of steel are needed, for example as structural steel. The density of mild steel is approximately 7. 85 g/cm3(7850 kg/m3 or 0. 284 lb/in3) and the Young’s modulus is 210 GPa (30,000,000 psi).  Low-carbon steels suffer from yield-point runout where the material has two yield points.
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The first yield point (or upper yield point) is higher than the second and the yield drops dramatically after the upper yield point. If a low-carbon steel is only stressed to some point between the upper and lower yield point then the surface may develop Luder bands.  Low-carbon steels contain less carbon than other steels and are easier to cold-form, making them easier to handle.  Higher carbon steels Carbon steels which can successfully undergo heat-treatment have a carbon content in the range of 0. 30–1. 70% by weight.
Trace impurities of various other elements can have a significant effect on the quality of the resulting steel. Trace amounts of sulfur in particular make the steel red-short, that is, brittle and crumbly at working temperatures. Low-alloy carbon steel, such as A36 grade, contains about 0. 05% sulfur and melts around 1426–1538 °C (2599–2800 °F).  Manganese is often added to improve the hardenability of low-carbon steels. These additions turn the material into a low-alloy steel by some definitions, but AISI’s definition of carbon steel allows up to 1. 65% manganese by weight.