One of the most important metals that we use is steel. It is a big part of infrastructure all over the world, from huge city skyscrapers to rural homes. Buildings are certainly not its only use, and it also makes up machinery, travel systems like bridges and railways, as well as the vehicles themselves. Steel is also part of important machines and is used to make components like these industrial valves from Orseal.
Steel is also a material that is valuable because it is a material that can be recycled, so it is important to consider this when we are needing to use less of the Earth’s natural resources and reduce our carbon emissions.
Before steel, we had iron, which has been used by humans for thousands of years, and even gave a period of time its name – the iron age. This came after the bronze age, as people started to make more and more use of iron, a hard metal that was incredibly strong, and therefore useful for numerous things, such as tools and weaponry. Blacksmiths worked with the iron to form and shape it, by heating it to extremely high temperatures before hammering it out.
It wasn’t until the industrial revolution that steel was discovered and started to be used. Steel is an alloy that is made from carbon and iron and was an improvement on iron for many buildings and for making machinery. During this time, bridges, railways and new machines were constructed from steel, many of which are still around today.
Steel was made by putting the iron into a blast furnace, and then adding in carbon to make the steel. The way that we make steel hasn’t altered a lot and this process is still the one that is used nowadays to make new steel.
Nowadays, all around the world some of the most famous buildings, from the Shard to the Eiffel Tower to the Empire state building are all built using steel. This metal, which is not only strong and durable, but also has shock resistant qualities has stood the test of time and is still the number one material choice for buildings, both large and small.