the way to distinguish between cast iron and cast steel

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the way to distinguish between cast iron and cast steel

Postby megan2008 » Tue Nov 05, 2013 3:00 am

Because of advances in metallurgy numerous metals can be used in a wide range of applications. The most common are iron and steel. Although the chemical compound of the two metals is very similar, the slightest variation can change the properties widely, meaning that they are used in very different situations.

For welding, pipe fitting, plumbing or other work with metal, you need to be able to tell the difference between cast iron and cast steel. Cast iron is cheaper, requires less energy for casting and has a lower melting point than cast steel. Cast steel is more reliable for more complicated castings because it is more flexible and has a higher resistance to tension than cast iron. You can perform ests to identify between the two metals, some which are slightly destructive. If you do not want to tarnish any of your material, you may be able to tell the difference through simply looking at the metals.


1.Identify the metallic material by looking at its raw surface color. The surface of cast steel is dark gray, sometimes referred to as 'steely.' In contrast, both white and gray cast iron have a duller and less shiny gray appearance.

2.Perform a spark test by holding the edge of your metal sample against the cutting edge of a grinding wheel. If the metal generates red sparks, it is cast iron and if it generates white sparks, it is cast steel.

3.File a piece of metal off your sample using a metal file or a chisel. If it is cast steel, you should be able to file a continuous chip. For cast iron, you will only be able to file small chips of metal off.

4.Perform a melting test if you have extra metal to work with. Hold a blow torch to your metal sample after putting on your safety gloves and mask. Observe the color of light that surrounds the metal as it melts. Cast iron appears red as it begins to melt and cast steel appears white. This is because cast steel melts at a higher temperature than cast iron.

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