Differences of Forged Steel & Stainless Steel

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Forged and stainless steel are surprisingly different.

Forged and stainless steel are different in appearance, strength and in other key elements. Forged steel is rougher, different in molecular and grain makeup than stainless, which is usually cast and polished. These differences follow from the manufacturing process which is designed to make forged steel stronger and stainless steel anti-corrosive and attractive in appearance. Knowing these differences will you to make a decision as to which process to use in building or manufacturing.

Forged Steel

Forged steel items are hammered or forcefully manipulated in place. This process aligns the grain of the steel in one direction, strengthening the material through this seemingly abusive process. In contrast to cast stainless steel, forged steel is less prone to deformity and shattering under stress. Alternately, forged pieces are often machined from a solid block or cast, maintaining much of the solidity of the original forged piece.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is usually cast from a mold, with molten liquid poured in until cured. Stainless steel gets its name from the introduction of chromium which contributes heavily to corrosion and rust resistance. The carbon content is heavily reduced with the other corrosion-resistant alloys mixed in. Stainless steel is usually found as 316L or 918L, with the latter harder yet increasingly prone to shattering versus deforming under impact or extreme stress.

Forged Steel Applications

Forged steel is often found in industrial or other heavy duty applications due to its increased strength and lack of cosmetic considerations. Larger sections of forged steel must be welded together since there is a limit to the continuous sizes able to be made. This is due to the extreme pressures that must be exerted on the steel to press or hammer it into form.

Stainless Steel Applications

Stainless steel is heavily used in utensils, watches and parts that either must be corrosion-resistant, attractive or both. For these reasons, and the fact that the parts can be cast to nearly any shape, stainless steel is preferred to forged steel. Stainless steel is rust- and corrosion resistant and is therefore ideal for items where it is necessary to ward off sweat, equipment for salty roads or where there is constant exposure to moisture.


David Lipscomb

David Lipscomb is a professional writer and public relations practitioner. Lipscomb brings more than a decade of experience in the consumer electronics and advertising industries. Lipscomb holds a degree in public relations from Webster University.