Steel vs Cast
Iron: What is the Difference?
Iron is a hard grey metal, and heavier than any of the other
elements found on Earth. During a process, impurities or slag is
removed from iron, and it is turned into a steel alloy. This
confirms that steel is an alloy, whereas iron is an element.
Iron exists in natural forms, and scientists have found it in
meteorite rocks as well. The main difference between the two
elements is that steel is produced from iron ore and scrap
metals, and is called an alloy of iron, with controlled carbon.
Whereas, around 4% of carbon in iron makes it cast iron, and
less than 2% of carbon makes it steel.
Cast iron is cheaper than steel, and it has a low melting point
with an ability to mold into any form or shape because it does
not shrink when it gets cold. Steel is made with a controlled
amount of carbon, whereas cast iron can have any amount of
carbon. Carbons and other metals like chromium are added to the
iron to make alloys and different qualities or grades of steel,
such as stainless steel.
Other difference between steel and cast iron is their
properties. Property of steel is that it is mild, harder to cast
and has a relatively high viscosity. The property of cast iron
is that it is brittle, more damping and absorbs vibration and
noises. In a molten form, cast iron is sufficient enough to
making casts of any kind, from components of various machines to
intricate shapes, such as cast iron or wrought iron furniture or
gates. It is slightly destructive upon drilling, produces
powder, and does not bend or dent because it is very hard, but
it breaks easily – unlike steel. Steel produces chips if it is
grinded, and it is malleable. The strength of both cast iron and
steel is also controversial, as some think steel is stronger
than cast iron and others think that iron and steel is same
thing, but the truth is that cast iron has a more compressive
strength, and steel is more tensile. If compared with cast iron,
steel is superior in tension, and does not rust.
Cast iron and steel are used as construction materials, and are
used to make structures for buildings. Steel is used to make
beams, doors etc. Cast iron has been used to make pipelines and
guttering in the past. It is still used for making manhole
cover, cylinder blocks in the engines of cars, and for very
heavy and expensive cooking utensils, besides its other uses as
a construction material. Steel is preferred by the automobile
industry to make steel parts and components, and it is used in
various other industries to make tools, knives, frames, nails
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