Steel: An ingredient for progress

Since the ancient Turkish civilizations of 1800 B.C., steel has contributed to the betterment of humankind, in numerous ways. Over the years, the steels’ quality, composition, properties, manufacturing procedures, and processes have been developed in multiple ways, to produce different grades of steel. From the steel utensils and weapons of the prehistoric times to the futuristic robots, it is used in a large number of industries, owing to its heat resistance, extraordinary strength, ductility, and malleability. We have largely benefited from steel, with applications ranging from the humongous building complexes, reinforced by TMT Steel, to the surgical steel tools used by doctors.

Following is a brief overview of how steel has impacted the world:

Industrial Revolution: The industrial revolution nurtured the chemical and iron industry, with large-scale developments in the processes. This paved the way for Bessemer process (1855) and open-hearth processes. These processes supported the establishment of mass production of steel, throughout Europe, and slowly to Asia, America, and other continents. The textile industry was one of the prime consumers of steel, along with shipping and railway industry. Eventually, other sectors realized the potential of steel, and incorporated steel in industries, like electronics, transportation, etc.

Today, the majority of the heavy machinery, used in any process industry, is made of steel.

Development: Before steel was used as reinforcement, wrought iron was used for reinforcing tall structures. One of the first skyscrapers made of reinforced concrete was the ‘Ingalls Building’, built in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1903. As of today, numerous modern architectural marvels incorporate steel, to ensure steady structural strength, for their constructions. Steel rebars are used almost everywhere today, for the building residential complexes, industrial facilities, utilitarian constructions like terminals, ports, etc. They improve the tensile strengths of concrete constructions, as they possess high carbon content.

Connectivity: The trade conducted on an international level, is primarily dependent on steel, for its huge steel containers that transport the goods. These containers are loaded onto cargo ships, which use steel to a large extent. The roads, flyovers, and bridges also rely on steel, for constructions. The cars, bikes, and other automobiles we use for commutes use AHSSs (Advanced High Strength Steels) for their manufacture. Sheets of steel are used for assembling railway coaches and freight trains, while steel beams are used for laying train tracks. Pipelines and water tanks that are made of steel are used for transporting fluids like hydrocarbons, water, etc. due to their resistance to corrosion, and leakage proof designs.

Durability: Due to its strengthening and efficient corrosion resistance properties, Steel offers long-standing endurance and durability. Buildings that are constructed with RCC, can bear larger tensile stresses, due to improved ductility and impact resistance. Its application is huge in Packaging and Chemical industries to ensure a longer shelf life and durability of the contents.

Sustainability: The total amount of steel recycled, is more prevalent all over the globe than all other recyclable materials combined. More than 630 million tonnes of scrap was recycled in 2017 globally, out of which 560 million tonnes was used by the steel industry, and 70 million tonnes by foundries. On an average, steel is about 87% recyclable, with its alloying elements being easily separable. Recycling steel enables the manufacturers to conserve raw materials, and conserve energy that would’ve otherwise been used for alloying steel. Thus, recyclability of steel enables us to protect the environment, by promoting recycled and upcycled steel. This property of steel helps us to achieve the production targets, without compromising on the quality, as recycling does not affect the quality of steel produced.

  With the rising population, the demands for steels’ usage in infrastructure, lifestyle, medical machinery, etc. are skyrocketing. The flexibility of steel as a material has enabled us to incorporate it, through applications ranging from intricate clockwork mechanisms to the ginormous suspension bridges that connect our cities. The technological development of steel over the years has allowed various sectors to incorporate steel in their processes. Thus, with the constant improvement of steel products, backed by metallurgical sciences and process engineering, ensure the requirement of steel, for generations to follow.


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