10 Things You Didn’t Know About Steel
These days, modern steel fabrication is super-efficient. Everybody knows that the steel industry mass produces a vast range of different products every day. There’s a lot, however, hardly anyone knows about steel.
10 Things You Didn’t Know
- The earliest known form of steel production was circa 4000BC. Iron Age steel was a variable mix of iron of different qualities, and carbon. The
steel quality was equally variable. Poor quality iron, or insufficient carbon, produced inferior quality steel. It wasn’t until about 3000 years later that high-quality steel was consistently produced.
- In the ancient past, steel manufacturing was slow, inefficient, and quality of materials was debatable, to say the least. Steel was used for weapons in the time of ancient Greece, but quality varied a lot. The first real “weapons grade” steel was Damascus steel, a hard alloy of steel and carbon, perhaps the first modern steel ever recorded. Opponents of people using Damascus steel soon learned that good steel was the only way to beat good steel.
- Steel is much stronger than iron, depending on the carbon content. Top quality carbon steel is 4% carbon, making it super hard and structurally very strong. This form of steel is used in skyscrapers, spacecraft, and other structures subjected to high pressures and loads.
- Modern steel production as at 2015-16 was about 160 million tonnes. That’s the equivalent of 160 million sedan cars. The major sources of steel production are Europe, North America and Asia.
- Not all “steel” cans are made out of steel. Only about 60%, in fact, are actually made of steel. The rest are made of various softer alloys. Steel cans first came into major production in 1812 in New York, used for canning fruit and vegetables.
- Stainless steel is mixed with chromium and nickel to prevent corrosion. This type of steel was first developed in the early years of the 20th century and became commonplace in the 1950s.
- Steel is one of the biggest commodities in dollar terms, globally. Current steel turnover from all sources is estimated to be approximately $1 trillion,
or nearly the equivalent of the total GDP of Australia.
- Iron has to be heated to very high temperatures to absorb carbon. The temperatures required are one of the reasons that ancient steel was of lower quality than modern steel.
- True modern steel production began in 1856 with the Bessemer process, a technique of heating iron while applying oxygen to increase carbon absorption. This process allowed accurate production of high-quality steel.
- Large-scale steel production began in Germany in the 1860s, using a combination of open hearth technology and exhaust gases to heat large amounts of iron, up to 100 metric tonnes per furnace.
Talk to Trufab Engineering for all your steel fabrication needs
For the latest in steel fabrication in WA, talk to Trufab Engineering. Call us on 08 9455 1377 to speak to our steel fabrication experts about our metal fabrication services, 3D CAD modelling, or contact us online.