Difference Between Steel and Mild Steel (With Table)

Steel and mild steels can often be confused for one another. Both the metals are used for various purposes, largely for construction. Even though both of them have a lot of similarities, their carbon content and other composite elements makes them distinguishable. Moreover, it is easy to tell them apart by examining their uses and durability.

Steel vs Mild Steel

The difference between steel and mild steel is that steel is harder than mild steel as it has a higher carbon content. Even though mild steel is comprised of carbon as well, it comprises a variety of mixtures of alloys that steel doesn’t. This mixture of metals is made to have very specific characteristics.

Steel is a hard metal known for its strength and rigidness. It has a high carbon content which makes it brittle and durable. By virtue of this, steel is used to make various tools and cutting instruments. It is also used for construction as it can be welded easily.

Mild steel is a sub-variety of steel alloy. Carbon is one of its major components. Other elements may even include non metals. Due to this, mild steel is not as brittle, strong and durable as steel. Moreover, mild steel has a higher chance of rusting than steel.

Comparison Table Between Steel and Mild Steel

Parameters of comparisonSteelMild Steel
Carbon contentSteel has a higher carbon content than mild steel.Mild steel has a lower carbon content.
StrengthSteel is a very strong metal.Mild steel is not very strong.
CompositionSteel is a metal made up of carbon.Mild steel is an alloy which means that it is made up of a mixture of various metals and non metals.
DurabilitySteel is very durable.Mild steel is not as durable as steel.
MalleableSteel is very hard to bend and thus not very malleable.Mild steel is malleable.
CostSteel is more expensive than mild steel.Mild steel is a little expensive as it is made up of various metals.
CorrosionIt is very easy for steel to rust.Mild steel is galvanised to protect its surface.
UsesSteel is used to make hard tools and cutting instruments.Mild steel is used for making pipes, nuts, bolts, chains, magnets and much more.

What is Steel?

Steel is an alloy that is formed from iron. It is often used for manufacturing tools for construction. It has a very high carbon content, making it strong, durable, hard and less malleable. Steel can be found in many forms depending upon the composition of the metal in question.

One of the most widely used types of steel is alloy steel. This metal is strong and hard, yet it has good elasticity. Such a property makes it perfect for being used to build automobiles such as cars, trains, buses, and even aircraft parts.

When iron is in its pure form, it is not very hard. Therefore, it is not very manageable to use as a constructing material. This pure form of metal is made into steel alloy by adding carbon to it. When made into solid, this type of steel can be of two forms – ferrite and austenite.

The history of steel can be tracked down to when three French scientists distinguished and identified the nature of the metal. Steel was officially defined in 1786, however, it was not until the 19th century that production started on a larger scale. Since then, its properties and uses are widely known.

What is Mild Steel?

Mild steel is a type of steel that is made up of the element ‘carbon’. However, this element is present in very small quantities. Moreover, there are a lot of other metals and non-metals that are used to make mild steel. The composition of elements depends on how the alloy is planned to be used.

Since the carbon content of this alloy is very low, it is very malleable. This makes it easy to use for building pipes, hinges, nuts, screws and bolts. The surface of the alloy is galvanised to make it more durable. This means that the protection helps this alloy from rusting very fast.

Mild steel also contains low amounts of chromium, molybdenum and other alloying elements. Since the carbon content is low, the metal is malleable, ductile, easy for machines and affordable as compared to others.

A common method to produce mild steel is from iron and coal. First, these elements are extracted from the ground and then melted together. On melting, the metal is then heated up to burn away all the impurities. This method of extracting mild steel is called hot rolling or cold drawing. However, there are various other methods that can be used.

Main Differences Between Steel and Mild Steel

  1. Steel has a higher carbon and chromium content than mild steel.
  2. Steel is a strong and hard metal whereas mild steel is comparatively soft.
  3. Steel is made up of carbon and iron. On the other hand, mild steel has very low amounts of carbon along with other metallic and non-metallic elements.
  4. Steel is costlier than mild steel.
  5. Steel is not very malleable whereas mild steel is easy to bend and move.
  6. It is easy for steel to rust.


Steel and mild steel are two types of metal alloys that are used across the world for various purposes. One of the major differences between them is their carbon content. While steel has a high carbon content, mild steel does not.

Such a reason affects the properties that these metals have and also how they will be used. While steel is strong and hard, mild steel is soft and malleable. Moreover, mild steel is way more affordable than steel as the iron element in it is mixed with a variety of other elements.


  1. https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/0370-1301/64/9/303/meta
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/037971128890029X
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