The Wonderful World of Steel and the Structures it Built

the eiffel tower So much of our world is made out of this wonderful metal. It is versatile, durable, and affordable. It is functional, beautiful, and completely adaptable to a variety of environments. Steel can be used in a variety of construction projects: from the building of roads and rails, bridges, buildings, airports, and more.  Rest your eyes on a magnificent building or structure in your city and the odds are quite high that steel had something to do with it. We thought we’d take a look at this fascinating metal, why it’s such a useful building material and some of the more famous structures that have used it. 

What Is Steel Anyway? — A Quick Overview of its Composition

An alloy is a combination of elements and metal. Steel is an alloy of iron and other elements. In order to truly understand the magnificence of steel, it is important to know that of iron. Steel contains a concentration of 98 to 99 percent and with the small additive of carbon, there is a great change to this metal.   Many millennia ago, human beings found iron and they became obsessed with it as a material to construct weapons and structures. Over the years, human ancestors worked the material discovering better ways to draw it from the Earth and eventually smelt it into steel. In fact, much of the iron that was used in ancient history was from iron found in meteorites. And it is said that ancient civilizations thought of the material as, quite literally, sent from the skies. 

Some of these elements include carbon, silicon, manganese, phosphorus, sulfur, nitrogen, copper,  and more. Carbon is added to iron to add toughness and strength that is found in steel. The more carbon is added the stronger the compound becomes but the less ductility it contains. The silicon is added to steel in order to remove oxygen bubbles. Manganese is an important alloying element as it also helps counter the presence of oxides and Iron sulfide. Other elements like titanium help keep the grain size small and nickel is used to improve the steel’s corrosion resistance properties. 

Building Benefits — Why Steel is a Beloved Material for Builders

Steel is used in a lot of construction projects because it has undeniable benefits for the structures that it composes. One of them is durability, the highest strength-to-weight ratio than any other building material. This means that it can hold up a great amount of weight, which makes it ideal for buildings that are both large and small. At the same time, thanks to regulations, steel is a consistent metal as producers of steel must create steel with certain specifications. This means you can get a consistent product without worrying about varying chemical compositions. Because of its durability and consistency, steel ends up being quite cost-effective for any builder.  Steel is also a fire-resistant material; it will not burn or provide fuel for a fire.  

For those environmentally conscious folks, it might be interesting to note that steel is also continuously recyclable. So one does not have to worry about wasting the product, as it is likely that most steel products already contained recycled material. 

Famous Steel Structures — The World’s Memorable Steel-Constructed Attractions

So how do we know steel is a great building material? Well, aside from all of the above, the test of time has let us know precisely how reliable it really is. Let’s take a look at some unforgettable and famous steel structures that have been built to last. 

The Eiffel Tower

Many tourists have snapped their photographs— from romantic couples photos to filtered selfies to awkward poses — in front of his great steel tower that was at some point during World War II meant to see its end. The story has it that Hitler had, in fact, ordered the demolition of the Paris attraction, but the order was never carried out. In any case, it survived the war and has continued to stand tall (no pun intended). When the tower was first built for the 1889 World Fair, many looked upon the tower with skepticism. The tower was built, however, by acclaimed metal expert Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel and his employee Maurice Koechlin, who fined tuned the concept. The pair had worked on the Statue of Liberty sometime before. 

The Brooklyn Bridge

We talked more in detail about this structure in one of our last blogs. Who knows how many countless films and television shows have featured this incredible bridge within its frame. An icon of American architecture and an unforgettable landmark of New York City, the Brooklyn Bridge is an outstanding example of the wonders of steel as a building material. The bridge itself is about 130 years old and was quite a feat of architectural genius as it was built with many heavy metals. 

Go With the Steel Experts 

If you’re looking to build any structure with this fantastic material, you want to contact steel specialists that are able to guide you towards the best material. Here at Steel Specialities, we know the wonders of steel and are ready to answer your questions about this incredible metal. Whether you are doing a large-scale project or something smaller, go with the experts in steel fabrication. 


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