It is impossible to imagine our world without steel as a building material. Steel is resistant, very hard and ductile. Despite these properties, steel can be easily processed using many methods and its strength makes it ideal for load-bearing structures.
By using steel, structures can be built with less material consumption than it would be possible without reinforcement. Modern office buildings, which can be built up to a height of 300 metres, would have to have metre-thick stone walls in the lower levels to be able to bear the weight of the entire structure.
However, this would make the buildings so heavy that they would sink into the ground over time. Today's skyscrapers were simply unthinkable without steel.
The load-bearing supporting structure inside buildings reduces the amount of material required so that buildings are relatively light in comparison to their size. This building material is found in all areas of our daily lives. It is not only found in buildings, but it also bears the weight of large bridges, is used in cars and in many technical installations in the industry.
What is steel exactly?
Steel consists mainly of iron. This is a rather brittle material, which is also very sensitive to water and oxygen and rusts quickly. Iron is found all over the world and is mainly found in iron ores. This ore is smelted in blast furnaces and processed into pig iron.
The rust sensitivity and brittleness make unalloyed iron uninteresting for the construction industry. The reason for the negative properties is the carbon in the iron. In steelworks, the iron is heated so much that the carbon burns. This process is maintained until the carbon content has fallen below 2 percent. There are even grades that contain only 10 per mille carbon.
Today there are thousands of varieties worldwide. By adding other elements, alloys can be produced which can be given different properties depending on the use.
For example, there are grades that can withstand extreme mechanical loads, such as HARDOX Wear Plate. Other grades have special strength, are weatherproof or are particularly resistant to oxidation.