Which is Better: Cast Steel or Carbon Steel Casting

Investment casting can use a variety of materials, of which cast carbon steel and cast steel are two of our common alloy materials. The carbon content is where these two diverge most. When the carbon content exceeds 2.1%, it is carbon steel investment castings and vice versa.

Characteristics of cast steel or carbon steel casting

special casting
Treatment of steel casting defects

Both have the same chemical make-up. They are both ferrous metals made of iron atoms. It is known that pure iron is very soft, so we add a certain amount of carbon to it to strengthen the hardness. One of the metals that are used the most frequently worldwide is steel.

Carbon steel is the primary choice for many mechanical devices and large parts because of its bearing capacity as well as its ductility. Cast steel may not have the same ductility and load-bearing capacity as cast carbon steel, but it is much more resistant to corrosion. Carbon steel cast equipment and parts generally need little maintenance and better durability.

The difference between cast steel or carbon steel casting

Corrosion resistance

Carbon steel has greater corrosion resistance than other metals. This does not preclude them from corroding, though. We also must protect the product after production, such as painting or adding a protective layer. We can choose cast carbon steel if we produce a product that will later be used in a more corrosive environment. Or we can also add chromium to prevent oxidation.


Usually, raw steel is more expensive to buy, so cast steel is cheaper than carbon steel. However, we have to consider many aspects. Carbon steel is the best choice if we are producing a short-term product that does not require a life guarantee or post-maintenance. But if the product needs to guarantee quality for 10 years or 20 years, or even longer, then we also need to consider other costs such as post-maintenance and labor costs. This time may, choose cast steel may be more cost-effective.


Carbon steel has relatively better ductility and is suitable for making desirable products. Cast steel is somewhat less ductile and less fluid and suffers from more significant shrinkage during cooling.


Cast steel is less rigid, so it is more flexible. A best carbon steel casting is more challenging to work with than other materials, which are also related to the carbon content.

Vibration damping

When choosing a casting material, damping properties should be taken into account because a lack of damping capability can result in excessive vibration and noise, such as ringing or screaming. Depending on the location of the material used, effective damping can result in more robust, more reliable performance.
The graphite structure in cast iron, especially the flake structure in gray cast iron, is particularly beneficial in absorbing vibrations. This makes cast iron ideal for applications such as engine blocks and cylinder housings.

Compressive Strength

Compression strength is known as the capacity of a material to endure a force that would cause an object to shrink in size. This is the opposite of the power that would pull the material apart. Compressive strength is useful in mechanical applications where pressure and tightness are important considerations. Cast iron often has a higher compressive strength than steel.

Abrasion Resistance

Cast steel usually has better wear resistance because it has high carbon content. The surface will be more lubricated and less prone to wear.

Advantages of carbon steel and cast steel

carbon steel castings

Carbon steel castings

Carbon steel investment casting is also renowned for its corrosion resistance, particularly when employed as a safeguard during routine maintenance. Additionally, it is resistant to deterioration, resulting in durable casting and extending shelf life. The carbon content of cast steel or carbon steel, which can range from low carbon steel and standard steel to high carbon steel, typically determines the material’s hardness.

cast carbon steel

Cast Steel

The real benefit of cast steel is its design freedom, which enables the creation of parts with complex geometries and hollow cross sections.
Cast steel offers the flexibility and greatest variability in metallurgical manufacturing. This provides different heat treatment options with more extensive mechanical properties and performance ranges. We can also choose different chemical compositions and controls to suit the various requirements of other projects.

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