Cold-Rolled vs. Hot Rolled Stainless Steel

Cold-rolling and hot-rolling are the two main methods by which stainless steel fabricators craft stainless steel sheets, counters, BBQs, and other items. There are benefits and downsides to both methods.

When stainless steel is cold-rolled, it is rolled to the final dimensions and specifications when the metal is far below scalding temperatures. The main benefit to this method is that the steel will not shrink once it is cooled, unlike hot rolled steel, which can shrink after the metal cools below 1700 degrees Fahrenheit.

With hot rolled steel, the steel is formed to its final dimensions and specifications, while the temperature is above scalding temperatures. An advantage here is that the metal is stress-free once it has been rolled and forged. Cold rolled steel can often twist or warp if it undergoes further machining, making it a poor option for many industrial tasks. It is for this reason that many stainless steel fabricators offer stainless steel sheet metal that has been fabricated using both methods.

Here are a few more key differences between metals forged by these two different processes:

  • Hot rolled steel tends to be slightly looser and have less tolerance than cold rolled steel.
  • Cold rolled steel tends to contain less carbon and slag, while hot rolled steel contains between .18 and .30 percent carbon content. This makes hot rolled steel more difficult to forge in more traditional manners.
  • Cold rolled steel has a more natural inclination to twist, making it ideal for decorative applications.

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