Industrial Piping: Comparing Carbon Steel and Stainless Steel Custom Fabrications

Hello, my name is Malcolm and this is my new blog. My friends thought that I was insane when I told them I was going to start a manufacturing blog. However, I'm not insane. I am just massively inspired by a trip I made to my father-in-law's factory. I married into an industrial and manufacturing family who run a number of different plants across the country. When I was brought into the family fold I decided to find out about the industry. It was a fascinating experience and I am really pleased to have had it. I hope you like my blog.

Industrial Piping: Comparing Carbon Steel and Stainless Steel Custom Fabrications

9 January 2018
 Categories: Industrial & Manufacturing, Blog


Carbon steel and stainless steel are popular materials in the manufacture of industrial pipes. In general, industrial piping networks should have a high capacity for efficient fluid flow. Also, they should be strong enough to resist the harsh operating conditions found in most industrial spaces. Both carbon and stainless steel pipes deliver these objectives. However, these materials are not the same in quality or performance. Therefore, if you are planning on ordering custom piping from you specialist fabricator, you must evaluate the two options and choose the most suitable for your operation. Consider this short discussion of the most critical properties of these materials for clear insight.

Material Reactivity

When choosing a material for custom industrial pipe fabrication, it is important to evaluate the reactivity of the metal. If the metal is highly reactive, it could become a liability due to accelerated corrosion. This factor is particularly important if your industrial space has corrosive compounds, or if you are planning on conveying chemicals through your new piping. If this is the case in your operation, you should choose stainless steel instead of carbon steel. 

Stainless steel metal grades have chromium as an alloying element. This additive stabilises the metal, preventing rusting and corrosion in adverse environments. Carbon steel is a relatively stable material in standard or average industrial operations. However, if the material is exposed to moisture, salinity and acidic compounds for a prolonged period, it will experience corrosion. If you choose to use this metal, you should ensure that the surfaces are galvanised. 

Metal Strength

The strength of industrial piping is an important factor to evaluate before commissioning the manufacture of custom products. High-strength tubes are essential if the pipe network will be exposed to high internal pressure or external mechanical impact. The tensile strength of carbon steel and stainless steel is comparable. In simple terms, the physical or mechanical resilience is in the same range. However, you should note that the strength of carbon steel will depend on the quantity of carbon. Therefore, you should discuss your expectations with the fabricator.

Ease of Fabrication

You should compare the workability of carbon steel and stainless steel before choosing the ideal material for your custom industrial piping. This issue is of particular importance if the network will have a complex configuration. Workable materials can be fabricated into intricate shapes with ease. Standard carbon and alloy steels are both workable, and they can be manipulated into different shapes. If you are interested in highly malleable steels, consider using metal with low carbon. 

Contact a stainless manufacturing company to learn more.

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Malcolm's Manufacturing Blog

Hello, my name is Malcolm and this is my new blog. My friends thought that I was insane when I told them I was going to start a manufacturing blog. However, I'm not insane. I am just massively inspired by a trip I made to my father-in-law's factory. I married into an industrial and manufacturing family who run a number of different plants across the country. When I was brought into the family fold I decided to find out about the industry. It was a fascinating experience and I am really pleased to have had it. I hope you like my blog.

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