Iron alone sometimes turns out to be suitable for particular needs and projects, but there are generally better options for most applications. While raw, purified iron can be cast or forged into shape and used for a variety of applications, it often turns out to be the case that an alloy of the material will perform even better. Natural iron is fairly strong and relatively ductile, but it is also prone to corrosion and various forms of structural failure. Iron that is alloyed with carbon and other additives to form steel tends to perform at a higher level without requiring much more investment or effort to obtain.
The fundamental alterations to iron that happen through the process of alloying can be grouped into a number of different categories. In most cases, improved strength can be obtained relatively easily, with the addition of enough carbon alone often allowing for this result. Resistance to tarnishing, staining, oxidation, and similar properties can also often be imparted through the addition of materials like chromium. Designers of particular alloys have many different options before them, and achieving the right balance of properties for particular applications is something of an art in itself.
In many cases, the most important results will be achieved mostly through the addition of simple carbon to raw iron. The Carbon Steel Seattle WA suppliers offer up improves on the inherent properties of iron most notably in terms of enhanced structural strength. Compared to pure iron, the Carbon Steel Seattle WA companies like Specialty Metals sell most commonly is also both harder and more resilient while also resisting oxidation, chemical corrosion, and other common hazards.
Browse website listings of the available alloys of this general kind, though, and it will become clear there are plenty of choices even with this one basic family. Alloys that contain a significant proportion of carbon are used for everything from reinforcing concrete to turning out relatively inexpensive tools that exhibit desirable wear-related characteristics. While there are many different ways of building on the basic properties of iron through the use of other additives, carbon often turns out to be the most important and impressive alloy ingredient of all.