Advantages of Using High Carbon Steel in the Automotive Industry

Advantages of using high carbon steel in the automotive industry.

High carbon steel is versatile and often used in fastening applications in a wide range of industries, from construction and retail to toys and appliances. There are several advantages to high carbon steel in the automotive industry as well, which is what you will learn about in this blog.

What are the Advantages of High Carbon Steel?

High carbon steel is defined as any steel that has a 0.30 carbon content or above. Compared to low carbon steel, it is stronger and more durable.

“People use the high carbon because of the high strength it has,” says Chad Castrigano, Director of National Accounts at Three D Metals, Inc. “The high carbon content makes it resistant to wear and tear, so it doesn’t break down over time.”

In addition, high carbon steel is also ductile, which means it’s easy to form into any shape without breaking. The material can then be heat-treated to give it “memory,” so it maintains its shape even after being applied.

High Carbon Steel Applications in the Automotive Industry

High carbon steel is used for several applications in the automotive industry, usually as a fastener. Here are some examples:

  • Panel trip clips
  • Connectors in electrical terminals
  • Bumper clips
  • Airbag clips
  • Fuel rail clips

According to Castrigano, what makes high carbon steel ideal as a fastener for automobiles is its ease of assembly, strength, and durability. Clips made of high carbon steel can easily be snapped into place, and the assembled component may be removed and re-applied several times over the life of the component.

Related: High Carbon Steel Properties & End-Use Applications >>

Why Choose High Carbon Steel for Auto Parts Manufacturing?

While high carbon steel has a higher cost than low carbon steel, its structural properties provide more value, especially when it comes to safety features in automobiles.

“For safety features, like air bag clips, you need a fastener to have enough strength to hold that air bag in place,” says Castrigano. “You don’t want low carbon steel in that application because a low carbon steel, once the airbag explodes, would come out of the assembly. The pounds per square inch of force could unlatch the pillar covering into a passenger. A fastener made with high carbon steel holds the plastic panel on while allowing the airbag to expand quickly and come back.”

High carbon steel is also preferable as a fastener in applications where aesthetic appeal is desired. For example, as opposed to using nuts and bolts to keep a bumper attached to a vehicle, high-carbon steel clips work better and are hidden beneath the surface.

Airbag exploded in a car.

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