Steel is well known for being incredibly strong and resilient — but did you know that it's also one of the most flexible and commonly used building materials today? Steel is used in many different ways within both residential and commercial construction. In fact, it's probably present in many places in your home and workplace right now. If you've ever wondered about exactly what steel is and how its different forms are used in construction, keep reading to learn its secrets.
What Is Steel Made Of?
The reason that steel is so incredibly strong is that it's made mainly from an ultra-strong metal: iron. Carbon residue — better known as "coke" — and a small amount of lime are added to the iron and then melted within a massive furnace. The newly formed steel is then blasted with oxygen, which minimises the carbon content to reduce brittleness and enhance durability.
What Are the Different Formulations of Steel?
Steel is made in many different forms, and virtually all of these forms may be recognisable to you if you know what to look for. The most common kind of steel for building applications is the steel beam. Steel beams are crafted from heavy and sturdy steel plate. They form the skeleton of many commercial buildings today and are often used in residential homes as well.
Structural steel is typically used in commercial construction but is very rarely needed for residential homes. Structural steel is the strongest of all steels, and it's also the heaviest. Simply transporting structural steel plates is a complex process due to their extreme heft, so their use is carefully coordinated.
Another type of steel that's often used during construction is commonly called foil steel. This steel is exactly the opposite of structural steel — it's so lightweight that it's literally bendable. Foil steel has many possible uses, including wall insulation and fire protection within the home.
Sheet steel is probably most familiar to you as a siding option — it's often used as siding in outbuildings like cubby houses or even in window frames. It's bendable, but is still noticeably thicker and tougher than foil steel. Sheet metal cutting can be done to virtually any size, making it ideal for many different needs.
Steel is likely to be all throughout your home and your workplace — if you take the time to look, you might just be surprised at how much you count on the safety and durability of steel every day!