5 Things You Never Knew About Steel
Steel has been called "the marvel of civilization," and it's easy to see why! With each passing century, the steady advancement of human technology finds new ways to take advantage of this strong, flexible, and highly adaptable metal. Its many useful properties have ensured its presence in virtually every industrial niche.
Here are five amazing facts that you probably didn't know about this supremely useful material. If you're interested in learning more once you're done here, consider visiting the home of the World Steel Association online!
Steel is Highly Reusable
Steel is a green product! Not literally, of course. Steel is environmentally friendly. The magnetic properties of steel make it easy to separate from other waste products. Millions of tons of wasted steel are recycled each year as a result; in fact, the majority of all steel in North America is recycled steel.
Steel is an Extremely Diverse Material
There are more than 3,500 different grades of steel. These different types of steel have a diverse range of strengths, environmental properties, and applications. Nearly 75% of them didn't even exist 20 years ago. Within the automotive industry, more than half of the varieties of steel in use today are ten years old or less!
Steel's Applications are Virtually Limitless
Steel is everywhere, including in your home. Your oven, dishwasher, and refrigerator are most likely at least 65% steel, with several different grades of the metal being put to various uses in each appliance. More than 1,500 different common food items, including soups and pasta sauces, come in steel cans. If your house has a steel roof, you can expect it to endure wear and tear from the elements for about fifty years, as opposed to the standard seventeen. Incidentally, all of that steel? It's probably recycled: steel can be repurposed over and over again. It does not lose strength in the process.
Steel is Ordered into Four Essential Groups
The many types of steel in existence today can be broadly classified into four distinct categories. One of the most common, carbon steel, can be made extremely hard. Alloy steel is created by blending steel with other metals, resulting in a wide range of potential properties and applications. Stainless steel incorporates nickel, and is highly resistant to rust and chemical corrosion. Tool steel is hard, and resistant to physical abrasion; it is also commonly employed in knifemaking. Together, these four categories form the acronym CAST.
Steel has been Used in Skyscrapers since 1884
The Home Insurance Building, constructed in Chicago and finished in 1884, measured in at ten stories tall. It was the world's tallest building for a further five years after its completion. Architect William Le Baron Jenney created a framework of structural steel to support his monolithic structure, silencing naysayers who asserted that so tall a building could not possibly stand. Steel had previously been used in the framework of another building, the Ditherington Flax Mill, but at five stories high the mill was not considered to be on the same level of engineering.
Jessica Kane is a professional blogger who writes for Federal Steel Supply, Inc., a leading supplier of carbon, alloy and stainless steel pipes, tubes, fittings and flanges.
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