1060 Carbon Steel: Uses, Composition, and Its Properties
1060 carbon steel is a high-carbon steel grade mostly used for general-purpose applications. 1060 steel, like other high-carbon steel, is known for its high strength and hardness. 1060 steel has a good trade-off between mechanical properties and cost, but it also has different uses when compared to other low and medium-carbon steel.
This article defines what 1060 steel is, its uses, composition, and properties, and how it compares to other common steel types.
1060 carbon steel is a part of the 10XX series of steel, which is a group of carbon steels in which the two last numbers represent the carbon content of the steel. In this case, 1060 means the carbon content is 0.60%. This is on the low end of high-carbon steel, as high-carbon steels have a carbon content of 0.6–1.0%.
1060 carbon steel is a versatile steel with high hardness, excellent durability, and low cost, which is why it is used in:
- Wear rail
- Water mains
- Clutch discs
Yes, 1060 steel is suitable for knives. While not the hardest form of high-carbon steel, it does have good hardness and durability. However, 1060 steel is not corrosion-resistant and so will require some maintenance to prevent rust. 1060 steel can also be found in use for other bladed tools including axes and swords.
Yes, 1060 carbon steel is suitable for katanas. While 1060 is used for knives, it is more popular in swords. 1060 steel is used for the Musashi bamboo lightweight katana and the Siwode handmade katana, which are only two of many 1060 carbon steel katanas.
1060 carbon steel is made by smelting either scrap steel or pig iron. When melting pig iron, the mixture will contain more carbon than required for making 1060 steel. To bring the level of carbon down, the foundry will blow pure oxygen into the molten steel which creates oxidization. The oxidation process binds carbon to impurities which creates slag on the surface of the molten melt that can be removed. Carbon can then be added to achieve the correct chemical composition.
1060 carbon steel is made with 98.35–98.85% iron, 0.60–0.90% manganese, and 0.55–0.66% carbon. 1060 carbon steel also has trace amounts of other elements, a typical list of which is included in Table 1 below:
The carbon content of 1060 steel is approximately 0.60%, the “60” in 1060 steel represents the carbon content of the steel. The steel content of 1060 steel qualifies it as a high-carbon steel which is required to have between 0.60–1.0% carbon.
Table 2 shows some properties of 1060 carbon steel:
Hardness (Rockwell B)
1060 steel has a machinability rating of 57%. This is a fairly low rating compared to other steels which range from 40 to 170%. The machinability rating will be lower for hardened 1060 steel which has undergone a tempering treatment. The recommended cutting rate when turning is 215–290 m/min and the cutting rate when milling is a recommended 130–190 m/min.
There are a few characteristics that 1060 carbon steel is known for, which include:
- High hardness.
- High tensile strength.
- Wear resistance.
- Moderately ductile (Compared to other steels).
No, 1060 steel is not a mild steel. 1060 steel is a high-carbon steel. Mild steel, or low-carbon steel as it is also known, has a low carbon content of 0.05–0.30%. There is also medium steel which has a carbon content between that of mild and high carbon steel (0.30–0.60%).
Yes, 1060 steel is strong relative to other materials and metals. Although, at 485 MPa, 1060 is one of the less strong steels which range from 241–2,450 MPa in tensile strength.
1060 steel has low weldability due to its high carbon content. This carbon content causes 1060 steel to be brittle and susceptible to hydrogen-induced cold cracking. To reduce this risk, the weld zone can be preheated. However, 1060 steel will still remain hard to weld without cracking.
1060 is available in different forms which all have similar chemical composition but differ slightly in microstructure, properties, and characteristics. Some available forms of 1060 steel are:
1060 hot-rolled plate has undergone rolling at around the recrystallization temperature of 1060 steel. This will allow 1060 steel to phase change into martensite which has a finer grain structure. Hot-rolled 1060 steel is less hard and strong than cold-rolled 1060 steel but is also cheaper and more ductile. Hot-rolled 1060 steel responds well to flame hardening and is used in the construction of railroad tracks.
A cold-rolled 1060 plate is rolled at room temperature and will have different properties compared to a hot-rolled plate. The cold-rolled version of 1060 steel will have a higher strength and hardness than the hot-rolled version but will also be more brittle. The cold-rolled steel will not have the opportunity to change its phase state but will be left with an elongated grain structure. This form of steel requires stress relieving before it can be worked with. To relieve stresses, the steel should be heated to between 550–650 ºC and then slowly air cooled.
Table 3 below shows the equivalent grades of 1060 carbon steel:
1060 steel is an all-round steel that has several advantages:
- Low cost
- Strong (compared to other metals)
- High Toughness
- Good edge retention
- Thermally conductive
Some disadvantages of 1060 steel are its:
- Susceptible to rust
- Poor weldability
- Poor to moderate ductility
No, 1060 carbon steel is not expensive. Although it is more expensive than low- and medium-carbon steels due to the higher carbon content, it is still relatively cheap compared to other steel alloys including stainless steel and high-speed steel. 1060 steel may cost between $450 and $750 per ton.
1060 differs from ordinary steel primarily due to its carbon content which affects its material properties. While 1060 steel may differ from low- and medium-carbon steel, 1060 might itself be considered an “ordinary steel” when compared to stainless steel. Stainless steels differ from 1060 steel as they have alloying elements including: chromium, molybdenum, phosphorus, sulfur, and sometimes nickel. Stainless steel differs mainly due to its increased corrosion resistance and higher price point.
To learn more, see our guide on What Are the Properties of Steel.
1060 carbon steel does not differ from high-carbon steel. High-carbon steel is defined as any steel which has a carbon content between 0.60% and 1.00%. Since 1060 has a 0.60% carbon content, 1060 steel is a high-carbon steel. There are of course other high-carbon steels that have a slightly higher carbon content, but they will only be slightly harder, stronger, and less ductile.
1060 would be considered generally better than medium-carbon steel, however, it will depend on the application. 1060 is a high-carbon steel that offers better strength and hardness than medium-carbon steel. However, medium-carbon steel is both more ductile and lower in cost, which might make it a better choice for certain applications.
1060 is a high-carbon steel that has a 0.60% carbon content, whereas 1045 carbon steel is a medium-carbon steel that has a 0.45% carbon content. This difference in carbon content leads to a few differences, one of which is cost. 1060 steel is both harder and stronger due to its higher carbon content. Whereas, 1045 steel is more ductile and less brittle than 1060 steel.
This article presented 1060 carbon steel, explained it, and discussed its uses and properties. To learn more about 1060 carbon steel, contact a Xometry representative.
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