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What is Difference Between Stainless Steel and Mild Steel?

03 September 2022

Stainless Steel is created largely from iron and carbon in a two-step process. The chromium in stainless steel combines with the oxygen in the air to generate a protective coating, making stainless steel very corrosion and rust-resistant. The more alloying elements steel has, the higher its price.

Mild steel is carbon-alloyed, whereas stainless steel is chromium-alloyed. In the presence of water, oxygen, and ions, mild steel is very reactive and will easily convert to iron oxide (rust). Mild steel is produced in the same manner as other carbon steel, commonly accomplished by combining iron ore and coal. Mild steel, also called carbon steel is low-emissions carbon steel.


The primary distinction between mild steel and stainless steel is that mild steel is constituted mostly of iron and carbon, whereas stainless steel is composed mainly of iron and chromium. So, let’s find a few more differences between mild and stainless steel.

  • Composition

Mild Steel

Steel is an iron-carbon alloy with a carbon content of 2.1%. Steel alloys include mild steel and stainless steel. Mild steel, also known as plain or low carbon steel, has 0.05-0.25% carbon as its major component. Other components are present in lower concentrations. Among them are aluminum, nickel, sulfur, chromium, and silicon.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel has a greater chromium concentration, accounting for 10.5% of its total weight. Manganese, Nitrogen, Copper, Nickel, and Molybdenum are the additional elements contributing to Stainless Steel's formation.


  • Corrosion Resistance

Mild Steel

Mild steel is not corrosion-resistant (rust). Mild steel does not have strong corrosion resistance in its untreated condition; nevertheless, it may be considerably increased by adding a suitable surface protection agent to any project's exposed sections. Raised DO concentration increased mild steel corrosion rates to 72%.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is corrosion-resistant. The chromium in stainless steel reacts with the oxygen in the air to form a protective layer that makes it extremely corrosion and rust-resistant. Even though stainless steel is extremely corrosion-resistant, it is not rustproof.


  • Common Grades

Mild Steel

Here are some typical mild steel grades. Their universality is something they share with comparable metals.

  • EN 1.0301

This grade has silicone content, a manganese content of 0.4%, and carbon content of 0.1%. It also contains trace amounts of copper, aluminum, nickel, chromium, and molybdenum. Its equivalent grades are C10, AISI 1008, and DC01.

  • EN 1.1121

This carbon steel has a carbon content of 0.08% to 0.13% and a manganese content of 0.3% to 0.6%. Its applications include the manufacture of cold-headed bolts and fasteners. AISI 1010 is the equivalent grade. This grade has high ductility and formability and may be formed using standard methods.

  • EN 1.0402

The grade comprises 0.18% to 0.23% carbon and 0.3% to 0.6% manganese. It is extremely weldable and is good for carburized components. It exhibits an excellent blend of strength, toughness, and flexibility.


Stainless Steel

Stainless steel comes in at least 150 different grades. The following are the most prevalent steel grades:

  • The 200 Series

The 200 series is used in cutlery, washing machines, outdoor equipment, the automobile sector, and other applications.

  • The 300 Series

The 300 series is used in medical devices, autos, food and beverage equipment, jewelry, and other products.

  • The 400 Series

Heat treatment applications are one of the 400 series' applications. Motor shafts, agricultural equipment, and gas turbine components are examples.


  • Amount of Iron

Mild Steel

The carbon forms a strong molecular structure with iron. The resultant lattice microstructure aids in achieving certain material qualities, such as tensile strength and hardness, on which we rely on steel. Mild steel can contain up to 98% iron.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is made up of around 90% iron.


  • Strength

Mild Steel

This steel is less strong due to its low carbon content. It promotes improved weldability. A variety of alloying elements are used to improve the chemical characteristics. Mild steel has a lower tensile strength but may be strengthened by adding carbon.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is stronger than mild steel due to its alloy (chromium). As a result, it is utilized to make products that must survive impact or repeated use. It can be cut, machined, and shaped into complex forms without introducing proportionate stresses to the workpieces.


  • Weldability

Mild Steel

Mild steels have excellent weldability, and their absence of extra alloying elements makes them a cost-effective solution for many welding applications.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel has low weldability. The biggest issue in welding this type of stainless steel is the lack of HAZ toughness. Excessive coarsening of the grain can cause cracking in strongly constrained joints and thick section material. No particular precautions are required when welding thin section material (less than 6mm).


  • Brittleness

Mild Steel

Mild steel may flex rather than break when subjected to a larger impact force, making it less brittle.

Stainless Steel

Stainless Steel is fragile when compared to mild steel. Stronger metals are also more brittle; when subjected to a larger impact force, the metal (stainless steel) breaks rather than bends.


  • Fabrication

Mild Steel

Mild steel is a suitable fabrication material because it is simpler to twist, cut, drill through, weld, or roll into pipes.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel, on the other hand, is difficult to manufacture; high-tech machinery and trained personnel are required.


  • Magnetic

Mild Steel

It is magnetic.

Stainless Steel

It might be magnetic or not. Generally, ferritic stainless steels are magnetic, but austenitic stainless steels are not.


  • Malleability

Mild Steel

A malleable substance is pounded without cracking or breaking into a new shape. Mild steel is more malleable than stainless steel because it is more flexible.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is significantly less malleable than mild steel, making it easier to produce.


  • Appearance

Mild Steel

Mild steel has a drab appearance and a matte texture.

Stainless Steel                                                                                                                               

Stainless steel appears silver-white, bright, or glossy. The chromium coating on stainless steel makes it beautiful in its natural form without the necessity for painting.

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