High carbon steel is used in the creation of steel wires and springs due to its ability to hold shape memory. This type of steel is made from 0.55 to 0.95 percent carbon and 0.30 to 0.90 percent manganese, and this composition is what accounts for its strength.
Carbon steel is a type of metal alloy that comes in a variety of strengths. High carbon steel is just one variety of carbon steel based on strength. Others include low, medium and ultra, which is sometimes referred to as very high. The strength of carbon steel is directly related to the amount of carbon and manganese used in the making of the metal alloy. For example, low carbon steel contains less carbon and manganese than high carbon steel.
The two most common types of steel alloys are carbon and stainless steel. Unlike carbon steel, stainless steel is easy to recognize because of the shine it puts off due to its chromium content. Carbon steel in general, including high carbon steel, is identified and defined as any steel that is not stainless. Although carbon steel might not be as decorative as stainless steel, it is much stronger. It is the carbon in this type of steel that gives it strength. However, adding large amounts of carbon to steel also makes it extremely brittle.