Hot Rolled vs Cold Rolled Steel : What is the difference

More than thousand types of steel grades are available in the market. Each type of steel has unique properties. They are different because of their chemical composition and the way steel sheets are processed. One key difference between steel sheets is the difference between hot rolled vs cold rolled steel.

What is the Difference between Hot Rolling and Cold Rolling Steel?

Hot rolled steel are processed over recrystalization temperature
Hot Rolled vs Cold Rolled Steel Mill

The manufacturing process of steel has a significant impact on steel mechanical and physical properties. The major difference between hot rolled and cold rolled steel is the way they are processed. Hot rolled steel involves rolling the steel sheets above re-crystallization temperatures. Whereas cold rolled steel is processed at room temperature in cold reduction mills followed by annealing and temperingClick this link!! to know various materials used to manufacture sheet metal parts.

Each of these steels has their own advantages, limitations and applications. Understand the difference between hot rolled and cold rolled steel in selecting the right type of steel for your application.

Hot Rolled Steel

Hot-rolling involves rolling steel billet above recrystallization temperature (above 900º C) in a series of rollers to achieve required steel thickness. During complete processing steel remains in the heated state.

Because of shrinkage during cooling of the steel, the size and shape of the hot rolled steel is less predictable. In other words they are manufactured with a relatively large tolerance range and have grey & scaly finish with good hardness.

Hot Rolled steel sheets are available in the thickness range of 1.6 mm to 10 mm. They are used in fabrication & construction work (such as railway track, automotive frames, structural frames, low accuracy sheet metal parts etc.) where aesthetics and part dimensions are not very important.

Advantages of Hot Rolling
  • Easy to manufacture
  • Low Processing cost.
  • Free from internal stresses.
  • Good hardness
Disadvantages of Hot Rolling Steel
  • Dimensionally inaccurate.
  • Shrinkage and warpage.
  • Grey and scaly finish.
Cold Rolled Steel

Cold-rolling involves rolling of steel in reduced mills at below recrystallization temperature (room temperature). During cold rolling, hot rolled steel is further processed at room temperature to have a smooth and shiny finish, closed thickness profile, good surface texture and flatness.

Cold rolled steel will have higher yield strength and available in the thickness range of 0.1 mm to 4 mm. As a result they are less likely to fail under pressure. Cold rolled steel is mainly used for precision and quality fabrication work ( consumer electronics and telecom products, metal furniture, automobile industry etc.)

Advantages of Cold rolled Steel
  • High yield strength.
  • Close thickness profile.
  • Smooth and shiny surface finish
Disadvantages of Cold rolled Steel
  • High processing cost compared to hot rolling process.
  • Internal stresses may generate.

Hot Rolled vs Cold Rolled Steel

Here is the list of comparison between hot rolled vs cold rolled steel sheets.

PropertiesHot Rolled Steel SheetCold Rolled Steel Sheet
Processing TemperatureAbove Re-Crystalization Temperature (900º C)At Room Temperature
Processing CostLowHigh
StrengthLow StrengthHigh Strength
HardnessHighLow
FinishGrey and ScalySmooth and Shinny
QualityModerateGood
Available Thickness1.6mm to 10mm0.1mm to 4mm

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