The Whats And Whys Of Cold Rolled Steel

Posted on: 15 January 2015


Chances are pretty good that you don't think about cold rolled steel every day, but you are probably affected by it more than you think. Steel is an alloy of iron, carbon, and other elements. It is hard and strong and has been the building material of choice for many years. In order to make steel more versatile, it must be shaped and molded to many different sizes and specifications. This is where cold rolling comes into play.

If you have ever had a can of soda, opened a fridge, or driven a car, you might be interested in cold rolled steel and its uses. 

What is Cold Rolled Steel?

Steel can be formed in several manners, but cold rolling is a preferred method in the industry. To shape steel, coiled up sheets of steel or large ingots are fed into giant rollers that force the steel into a certain shapes by exerting huge amounts of pressure.

When this is done at high temperatures, it is known as hot rolling, but it can also be done at around room temperature: cold rolling. Cold rolled steel is resistant to dents, forms well, and becomes quite ductile when paired with an annealing process.

What are Some Cold Rolled Steel Products?

You are probably familiar with the term "aluminum can", but about a quarter of all beverage cans worldwide are actually made of steel coated with tin. And about 80% of food cans are made from tin-plated cold rolled steel too.

Cold rolling is also used to produce sheet metal, which is then bent and shaped to form bodies for appliances such as washers and refrigerators. Thicker sheets are also produced, which can then be further machined to make special parts for cars, engines, or other uses.

Why is Cold Rolling Better than Hot Rolling?

All science classes teach that when a material is heated up it expands and when it is cooled it contracts. This is certainly true for steel. This means that when steel is hot rolled, it will contract slightly as it cools. This makes it difficult to get the dimensions exactly right when rolling.

Precise dimensions are crucial to some industries such as the automotive and medical industries. Since cold rolling does not introduce heat into the process, the steel does not expand or contract. This allows for much tighter tolerances of product specifications. 

Although you may have never consciously thought about cold rolled steel before, you have no doubt benefited from it at one point or another. To learn more, contact a company like A & C Metals - Sawing with any questions you have.