Buying metals can be confusing. Most of the time, our customers know which form (Bar, Plate, Tube, Sheet, Channel, etc.) they need but not always which type of metal. While it is pretty easy to tell the difference between two dissimilar metals like Aluminum and Brass, it can be a little harder to differentiate between iron alloys that have been Cold Finished from those that have been Hot Rolled.
what is cold finished steel?
The easy definition: stock has been passed through a pair of metal rollers while keeping the temperature of the stock below its recrystallization temperature, usually at room temperature. The metal is rolled at this temperature and is bathed in oil throughout the entire rolling process, resulting in a metal with a smoother finish than Hot Rolled forms. Because of this oiling, this type of metal also maintains its natural grey color, rather than the telltale, bluish-grey tint of Hot Rolled forms.
things to keep in mind about cold finished steel
- This type of metal is only available in basic shapes like flats, hexagons, and rounds. Since these shapes are formed when the metal is relatively cool, the forms can harden and weaken in any area that has been modified to produce a certain shape. This is why more intricate forms (Channels, hot rolled, beams, etc.) are not available as Cold Finished.
- Because Cold Finished is not oxidized in the way Hot Rolled is, it is much easier to color. These forms have finer surfaces and sharper corners and edges than those made of Hot Rolled. Any work fabricated from this metal will result in a product that is aesthetically pleasing.
how does cold finished differ from hot rolled?
- Cold Finished Steel is stock that has been rolled at room temperature. During this rolling process, the stock is doused in oil, which prevents oxidation to occur, keeping the surface smooth and the natural grey color of the actual steel
- Most forms of Hot Rolled are more flexible than Cold Finished. While this isn’t usually noticeable in most forms, you can see a difference in some of the smaller sizes. If you are looking for an iron alloy with more flexibility, Hot Rolled Steel might be a better choice.
- At the corners and edges, Hot Rolled may appear to be a little rounded, with dimensions that might be less exact than Cold Finished, and Cold Finished Steel is stiffer than Hot Rolled. If you’re looking for an iron alloy that allows a little more flexibility, Hot Rolled may be a better choice.
We hope that this section has been informative. We carry all of the standard forms and sizes of most metal products. Please visit metalsforasteel.com to see all of our Cold Finished Steel Inventory. If you are looking for a particular piece of metal that you haven’t been able to find anywhere, please email us and one of our metal specialists will get right back to you.