Steel Is The Backbone Of Several Industries Around The World
Steel is one of the most widely used materials in a wide range of industries. So much so that it is estimated that over 20 billion tonnes of steel are currentlyin use, across the world. On average, this works out to more than 2 tonnes of steel for every person on the planet.
Another interesting fact is that steel is also the most recycled material on earth. In fact, more steel is recycled each year than paper, glass, aluminium and plastic combined. Steel can be recycled endlessly because it is easy to recover and almost completely recyclable without loss in quality.
An alloy of carbon, iron and other metals and non-metals, steel can be customised and adjusted precisely to offer different properties. At a relatively low cost of production, steel in its varied forms and alloys is used to suit a variety of needs.
Here are some of the main applications of steel in different industries:
Construction and Infrastructure:
Because of its strong, sustainable, durable and non-corrosive nature, steel is one of the key materials used by the construction industry. It allows structures to be erected quickly, saving time, material cost and human resource cost. Some of its primary uses in construction are listed below:
Structural sections: Structural steel is used to provide a strong, firm frame for buildings. It forms around 25% of the steel that is used in a building.
Reinforcement bars: Reinforcement barsprovide tensile strength and stiffness to concrete.Not only for the visible, above the surface part of a building, these bars are also used to provide deep foundations and basements.Because it binds well to concrete, and has a similar thermal expansion coefficient, it is the preferred material to be used.A strong andcost-efficient option, reinforcement bars make up almost 44% of the steel used in a structure.
Sheet products: Steel sheet are used for roofing, beams, internal walls, ceilings, and cladding. They are also used for insulating panels for exterior walls in cold climates or places with heavy air conditioning.
Non-structural steel: Steel is also used inseveral non-structural applications in buildings. These include heating and cooling equipment and interior ducting, railings, shelves, stairs, banisters, grills and almirahs, tables, chairs and other internal fixtures.
Surface transport networks: Steel is an integral material used in the construction of surface transportation networks such as roadways, railways, airports and ports. According to worldsteel.org, 16% of the steel produced globally is used for transportation and transport infrastructure.It is used to makeroads, bridges, flyovers, tunnels, railway tracks, train and bus stations, fuelling stations, ports and airports.
Essential utilities: The everyday utilities that act as a lifeline to bring us some of our basic necessities are made of steel. Examples includefuel, water and power.The underground pipelines that distribute water and gas, the rebar for power stations and pumping houses are all made of steel.
Today, the construction industry used almost 50% of steel produced in the world. Hospitals, houses, office complexes, malls, schools and universities, convention centres, auditoriums, stadiums, hotels, theatres…they all stand in place because of the steel in them.
Wrought steels are designed to meet specific levels of strength, corrosion resistance, ductility and elasticity. The bulk of such steel is used to manufacture transport vehicles. In fact steel accounts for more than half the weight of a transport vehicle, most of which use advanced high-strength steels or AHSS.Different types and grades of steel are used for different part of the vehicle such as the body, doors, steering, wheel axles, interior, suspension, gearbox, engine, bumper, fender, overhead carrier etc.
The alloy’s popularity in this industry is owed to the fact that it is lightweight and requires less energy to fabricate. This in turn reduces CO2 emissions, making it environment friendly.
Steel is alsoused in marine applications because the alloy can resist rust better than other shipbuilding metals such as bronze, galvanized steel, or brass. Chemical tankers are one of the largest vehicular users of steel because they need a material that can be easily fabricated to specifications. In addition, steel can be cleaned thoroughly when changing cargo; it is strong, and durable.
Heavy machinery like forklifts, offshore platforms, earthmoving and quarrying equipment, and cranes are also made using steel as a major component.
Segments of the energy sector such as electric, natural gas, wind power and even nuclear energy rely strongly on steel because of its functionality, strength and durability and its reliability in demanding environments.
Modern household appliances are mostly made of steel, including refrigerators, gas burners, ovens, sinks, dish washers, washing machines, microwaves, cutlery, and many others. Steel adds not only aesthetic value, but also several other benefits such as easy maintainence, durability, ease of use, anti-microbial surface etc.
In addition to household appliances, industries and factories also use huge amounts of steel. From needles to factory floors to large machineries – they are allmade of steel.