Hot Rolled vs Cold Rolled Steel: What is the difference

More than a 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 vs Cold Rolled Steel Mill

The manufacturing process of steel has a significant impact on steel's mechanical and physical properties. The 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 tempering.

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

Hot Rolled Steel

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

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

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

Advantage and Disadvantages of Hot Rolled Steel

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 steel billets in reduced mills 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 is available in the thickness range of 0.1 mm to 4 mm.Cold rolled steel application is in precision and quality fabrication work ( consumer electronics and telecom products, metal furniture, automobile industry, etc.)

Advantage and Disadvantages of Cold Rolled Steel

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 the hot rolling process
  • Internal stresses may generate
Hot Rolled vs Cold Rolled Steel

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

Hot Rolled Steel Sheet
Cold Rolled Steel Sheet
Processing TemperatureAbove Re-Crystallization (900 ℃)At Room Temperature
Processing CostLowHigh
StrengthLow StrengthHigh Strength
FinishGrey and ScalySmooth and Shinny
Available Thickness1.6mm to 10mm0.1mm to 4mm
We will keep updating more information on the difference between hot rolled and cold rolled steel sheets. Add your suggestions, comments or questions to hot rolled vs cold rolled steel sheets to us.

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