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What Is a Carbon Steel Flange?

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  • Written By: John Markley
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 04 November 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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A carbon steel flange is a ridge, edge, or rim on an object made from carbon steel, a type of metal alloy. Flanges are incorporated into the design of objects to increase their structural strength or keep them attached to another object. Common applications for the carbon steel flange include its use for train wheels, train tracks, and pipe networks.

Carbon steel refers to a group of alloys of iron in which the main alloying substance is carbon. Increasing the amount of carbon in a steel alloy and subjecting it to certain heat treatments makes the resulting steel alloy stronger and harder. The tradeoff is that it also becomes less ductile, meaning that it is less able to deform when subjected to tensile stress and so may crack or break rather than bending under such stress.

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Carbon steel is divided into grades defined according to their carbon content, which can vary from as little as 0.05 percent carbon in low-carbon steel to 2 percent in ultra-high carbon steel. Carbon steels have low quantities of alloying elements, because carbon must be the main element alloyed with iron for the alloy to be considered carbon steel, and an iron alloy with more than 2 percent carbon content is classified as cast iron rather than steel. Some carbon steels do have small amounts of additional alloying elements, however, such as copper and manganese. High-carbon steels are useful due to their great strength, and low-carbon steels are widely used because they are fairly cheap to produce and are still strong enough for many purposes.

Pipes frequently have carbon steel flanges encircling them at each end. These flanges have holes for nuts and bolts to go through, gaskets, or interlocking indented and protruding sections that fit together. This allows pipes to be quickly joined together or disassembled as needed, making construction and repairs easier. Pipe flanges in different nations or regions are typically made with standardized dimensions set by a major standards organization, such as the American National Standards Institute in the United States.

Another type of carbon steel flange can be found on wheels for trains. Railway wheels, which are often made from carbon steel, have flanges on their rims that hold the train to the track and prevent it from derailing. The rails on which trains run are also flanged, usually in an I-beam or H-beam shape, and are also frequently carbon steel, making the carbon steel flange an integral part of modern rail travel.

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