An Introduction to the Applications of Steel
Steel can be used in several different ways to construct and to offer support to existing structures. However, construction is only the beginning of the advantages it provides. Some of the industries that benefit from steel are manufacturing companies, the railroad system, architecture and construction, and even the medical industry.
Tectonic shifting, environmental conditions, and the natural wear and tear that comes with time, can compromise the structural integrity of buildings, bridges, and vehicles. Large structural systems rely heavily on steel beams, studs, columns, and framing to remain standing for years to come and ensure safety. Steel is also required in the construction and expansion of railroad tracks. Steel can be shaped and molded into just about anything.
Structural steel is used mainly in steel construction. Its composition is altered through a series of lasers and chemicals to accommodate the size, shape and strength of items like I-beams, which are commonly used in the assembly of large buildings like The Empire State Building or The Freedom Tower. Structural steel is a tougher material which is why it serves as the backbone or skeletal structure for a building.
Unlike structural steel, sheet metal is turned into a thin flat material which can be cut, burnt and bent into shape. This material is quite common in the manufacturing industries when making items like vehicles or other machinery. Aluminum, copper, and titanium are just some of the steel material that can be turned into sheet metal. Sheet metal can also be used to create a medical slab, or the tails and wings on an airplane. Sheet metal can also be used for decorative purposes such as horse tacks as well.
Welding is the most common form of steel molding. This process is used to join two pieces of metal together through melting. This can be done through lasers, as well as gas flames, friction, and a variety of other methods. In some cases, a process called galvanization is used on steel to create a protective zinc coating that helps prevent rusting. This is used by submerging the steel in molten zinc. Galvanized steel is best known for its use in air ducts and piping. However, galvanized piping is slowly being replaced by plastic piping due to internal rusting of the pipes that give drinking water an unpleasant appearance.
Steel has a variety of forms that provides different qualities to meet several needs. Some of the sectors steel is used for are in construction. Steel can be found in structures such as hospital buildings, schools, sports stadiums, harbors, bridge suspension cables, offices, roofing, and railway systems. In the transportation industry, engineers use steel to create durable and corrosive resistant parts for vehicles such as cars, trucks, trains, ships, aircrafts, and railroad systems. Metal is also used in the energy industry to extract materials like gas and oil safely without harming the environment. They can be even used to safely shield workers from potentially dangerous radiation hazards and electrical equipment. It might surprise you to learn that steel casing and packaging can be used in lightweight packaging such as a can of soda or bottle caps. This method safely protects can goods and other related products, like canned fruits and vegetables, or canned tuna, from elements like air and water.