Why is Structural Steel so Commonly Used in Buildings

Standard post by SteelProMaster on June 1, 2015
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There are many benefits that selecting the right kind of structural steel brings to a construction project. That’s because all other materials are going to be measured against the standard of the structural steel which has remained and probably will remain for a long time the best material used for a construction’s framing system.

To include some of the structural steel benefits, they are:

Speed of Construction

Structural Steel Speed of ConstructionIt’s true that with other materials, the field work can start sooner, but the truth is that the rapid erection cycle, fabrication and design of structural steel allows the framing system to be completed a lot faster and therefore become available earlier to the rest of the trades. Not only does structural steel maintain a tight construction tolerance, but it also improve construction productivity since it can be produced very fast.

Lower Project Costs

Structural Steel Lower Project CostsFor the majority of construction projects, structural steel is still one of the most affordable options to consider. According to many studies published by reputable websites, structural steel framing systems including fire protection, decking and are generally five to seven percent cheaper compared to concrete framing systems. However, that should not come as a surprise, since structural steel has remained the best choice for the construction industry for the past thirty years.

Aesthetic Appeal

Structural Steel Aesthetic AppealYou’d be surprised to know that the majority of architects around the world are very excited about structural steel when it comes to creating amazing designs. That’s because steel looks amazing when exposed and it can be used in order to emphasize transparency, strength, slenderness, but also grace of frame. Structural steel is one of the few construction materials out there that allows architects a very high degree of creativity and expression in their design, while also addressing the client’s unique identity and functional demands.

Design Flexibility

Structural Steel Design FlexibilityFrom the most complex to the most functional and simplest designs, structural steel is the material of choice of any designer who wants to create amazing buildings that not only look great, but are also very functional and durable. In terms of its ability to encourage design creativity and freedom of expression, there is no other material out there that can compete with structural steel.

High Strength

Structural Steel High StrengthWhen it comes to construction materials, many of them are going to be tough and durable, but none of them can compare to structural steel. In fact, when comparing the improvement in the standard strength of steel that is used in construction projects today to that of a decade ago, you’ll find that it’s higher than the combined strength of all other high-strength materials on the market. Structural steel is generally fifty KSI material which manes that it has a yield stress of about fifty thousand pounds per square inch in both tension and compression.

By contrast, a high strength concrete mix has a compressive yield stress of twelve to fifteen KSI, while a normal concrete mix has a yield stress of three to five KSI.

Ease of Design

Structural Steel Ease of DesignFor the majority of construction engineers, structural steel is the number one choice for any construction project. There are many tools out there available for structural steel design and they are far superior to tools for other systems. Combined with three dimensional modeling, structural steel can be used in order to create just about any possible design.


Structural Steel SustainableMany people are not aware of this yet, but structural steel is the most recycled material out there. In fact, the structural steel made today is made of eighty eight percent recycled product, it can be reused without extra processing and can also be completely recycled in the future if need be. Structural steel also has a carbon footprint of just forty seven percent and in order to produce it, the energy required to do so has been reduced by nine percent in the past decade and over thirty percent in the past thirty years.

When producing structural steel, little water is required. In fact, the only water used in this process is make-up water that’s going to be added to a closed loop recycling process. There is no water discharge into the environment from structural steel mills which furthermore helps preserve the environment.


Structural Steel ModifiableIt’s easy to modify structural steel in the future for vertical expansions, loading conditions and new applications, but also change it in many other ways that would never be possible using other framing systems.

Building managers and owners always have to deal with changes in requirements and the good news is that when it comes to composite steel frames, they can be easily changed in order to meet the client’s demands and needs.

Also, existing beams and steel columns can be strengthened by using the attachment of steel plates to the web of sections or flanges in order to allow for greater loads. In fact, it’s not rare for structural steel buildings to have extra floors added to them even many years after the building was completed.


Structural Steel EfficientOne of the best things about structural steel buildings is the fact that they optimize building space efficiency by using slender columns in order to improve usable floor space, the integration of HVAC systems into structural spaces to reduce floor to floor heights and also longer spans for column-free and open spaces. A regular column will occupy about seventy five percent less floor space compared to an equivalent column made of concrete.

Reliable and Predictable

Structural Steel Reliable and PredictableUsing modern quality assurance processes, structural steel is fabricated and manufactured under specific and well controlled conditions. The material’s final strength is going to be verified at the point of production and not when it’s time to place it in the building’s frame.

Since it has extremely high tolerances, structural steel is the main choice for architects who want to design large buildings and make sure that the end result is a rugged construction that’s going to last for hundreds of years.

Given the fact that structural steel is also easily available and pretty affordable to buy, it’s by far one of the most popular and highly used construction materials in the world today.

Ingredients and Types of Steel

Standard post by SteelProMaster on May 26, 2015
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Periodic Table with Marked Steel Ingredients


Ingredients of Steel

Steel is made up of a lot of ingredients, in fact, more than you can probably guess. Below we’re going to take a closer look at each of them:


This is a vital ingredient for making steel and it’s used in order to harden the steel. Too much of it though can reduce the hardness of steel. Low carbon levels are within point three percent or less, medium carbon levels are between point four to point seven percent and high carbon levels are between point eight percent and above.


The use of chromium in making steel is for combating corrosion. In general, about twelve percent chromium is used when making steel and that’s because it can greatly increase the strength of a knife. More than 12% chromium though will have the opposite effect on steel.


Makes the blade stronger.


Prevents corrosion.


Makes the blade harder, but too much of it makes the blade brittle.


Allows steel to maintain its strength at higher temperatures.


Adds a lot of toughness to the steel.


Nitrogen is used at times as a Carbon replacement.


Makes the steel stronger.


Improves steel strength, but also removes O2 from the metal when it’s formed.


Reduces toughness, yet improves machinability.


Improves resistance to wear.


Makes the blade harder and improves wear resistance.

Types of steel

Steel Types

There are currently thousands of types of steel out there, but the most popular ones are stainless, tool, alloy and carbon steels. Each of these kinds of steel has a designation system and a specific number. For instance, in the SAE designation system, alloy and carbon steel are designated by a 4 digit number.

The first digit refers to the amount of carbon in the steel (in hundredths of a percent by weight), the 2nd digit refers to the secondary element and the last 2 digits refer to the amount of carbon in the steel. So if you have a knife made with 1095 steel, then it means that point ninety five percent of it contains carbon.

Plain Carbon Steels

1095 is undoubtedly one of the most popular 10XX steel and it’s generally used for making blades for kitchen knives. On the other hand, steel in the 1050 range is generally used for making swords. 1095 steel has point ninety five percent carbon, while 1045 steel has point forty five percent carbon. However, there is less manganese in 1095 steel, while 1045 steel has more manganese in its composition.

So basically, 1095 steel is more resistant to wear, but not that tough. The 1045 steel holds a good edge, 1095 steel holds a great edge and on top of that, you can also sharpen it easily. But if there’s one big con about this steel, that’s the fact it rusts easily. To combat this, blades made of 1095 steel need to have a special coating applied to them.

Alloy Steels

5160 Steel:

This refers to 1060 steel (plain carbon) which was mixed with a bit of chromium. 5160 steel is very tough and generally has between point fifty six and point sixty four percent carbon.

Tool Steels

52100 Steel:

This type of steel contains a lot of carbon (generally between point ninety eight percent to one point ten percent). Not only does it hold an edge well, but it’s also a lot harder than others. So if you want to make sure the knife or sword you got can hold an edge very well, this is the type of steel you’d want it to be made of. The downside of this type of steel though is that it can rust.

A2 Steel:

This steel is very tough, but does have less wear resistance compared to other tool steels. It has a carbon content range of point ninety five percent to one point zero five percent. In order to prevent it from rusting, you need to carefully maintain it and also coat it.

CPM 10V Steel:

This type of steel has a good toughness for a tool steel and it’s one of the most wear resistant tool steels out there. If you’re looking for great wear resistance, this is the type of steel you should consider.

CPM 3V Steel:

This type of steel has a high wear resistance and it’s also very tough.

CPM M4 Steel:

Contains one point forty two percent carbon and has excellent toughness and rsistance.

D2 Steel:

While it does contain a lot of chromium, it’s not as much as to make it stainless steel. D2 steel has great toughness and it also has great rust resistance. It also has a carbon content between one point five to one point six percent, yet it’s hard to sharpen.

L6 Steel:

L6 steel holds and edge well and it’s also quite tough. It’s generally used for cutlery, but it can rust pretty easily and requires consistent maintenance.

M2 Steel:

This type of steel contains point eighty five percent carbon and is extremely resistant to heat. On large knives it can be quite brittle, but it does hold an edge extremely well.

O1 Steel:

Since it’s a hard material, O1 steel has a good edge retention. However, if it’s not properly maintained, it’s going to rust fast. Carbon content ranges between point eighty five percent to one percent.

O6 Steel:

Compared to zero-one, this is a much tougher metal and has one of the best edge retentions out there.

W2 Steel:

W2 steel contains plain carbon steel with extra carbon. It can hold an edge well and is also very hard.

Stainless Steels

The 400 SERIES:

420 Steel:

420 steel has around point thirty eight percent carbon, which means that this steel cannot hold an edge well and it’s also very soft. A lot of cheap knives are made using it since it’s easily procurable and affordable. The good news about it is that it’s extremely resistant to rust.

425M Steel:

Similar to the 400 series, this type of steel has point five percent carbon and is generally used by Buck knives. It is fairly durable and excellent for the purpose it’s being used for.

Corrosion and Steel LintelsIf your building was constructed between the eighteen nineties to present, then above any door or window opening in a header lies a lintel. So what is the purpose of the Lintel, you ask?

Well, it’s generally made of cast iron, wrought iron or steel and has the purpose of structurally supporting a facade wall. Therefore, if you have a masonry facade and want to have door and window openings within it, then the use of a lintel can definitely make that possible. However, keep in mind that if the lintel is not properly maintained, then eventually, as it’s going to be exposed to the elements, it will start to corrode.

Types of corrosion

There are currently 8 types of corrosion that lintels may be subjected to, including stress and inter-granular corrosion which you’ve probably become accustomed to already if you watched CSI. When it comes to inter-granular corrosion, it’ll usually occur at holes of susceptible metals, such as iron or steel, but also at unsealed or unpainted edges of the same type metals. As for stress corrosion, this is when cracks within the metal start to appear due to a combined action of applied tensile stress and general corrosion.
Preventing and Treating Lintel Corrosion

Moisture resistance

Lintels need to be able to resist moisture at the joints with masonry and at their edges because if they cannot, then the steel will start expanding at the edge because of inter-granular corrosion. As a result, the lintel will begin to slowly sag. Keep in mind that both of these kinds of corrosion are eventually going to affect the surrounding masonry and cause window distortion under the pressure, brick displacement, but also in step-crack patterns that are highly visible.

In situation where servicing of such problem has been avoided for too long, extensive repairs will most likely need to be performed. In parts of US where freezing temperatures are part of the weather pattern, seeing those characteristic cracks starting from the upper corners of a window or door opening is very common. For example, for homeowners living in Chicago tuckpointing in such cases might be required at a very minimum. Worst care scenario – you’ll need to have several bricks removed from above the opening and steel lintel replaced to prevent further damage or even failure of the masonry structure.

Removing old sealants

To make sure you won’t have to deal with any type of corrosion, it’s recommended that you start removing old sealants. Next, use a wire brush to brush the rust from your steel lintel and then use a red oxide primer and some exterior paint on it.

Lastly, you need to get some caulk specifically made for use on exterior masonry and apply a layer of it between the brick and the lintel. On the other hand, if stress corrosion or inter-granular corrosion are already very visible, you should consider replacing the steel lintels and hire a professional to repair the surrounding masonry.

How is Iron Ore Processed – From Ore to Steel

Standard post by SteelProMaster on May 15, 2015
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Iron Ore Processing – From Ore to Steel

Iron Ore Processing – From Ore to Steel

Starting from the raw materials and going all the way to the finished product, our company handles coal and iron ore mining in order to provide a complete range of service offerings and steel products. Since we are the largest mining and steel company in the world, we are proud to announce that in 2014 we managed to produce more than seven point seven million tones of coking coal and seventy seven million tons of iron ore. As for coking coal, this is a type of carbonized coal that is usually burned in blast furnaces and is a prime ingredient for melting iron.


In order to make steel, we first of all need to process the iron ore. The way the process goes is that the rock containing the ore is grounded carefully in order to separate it from the ore. Next, the coal will be properly cleaned from sediments in a coke furnace which yields an almost one hundred percent pure form of carbon. Next, in order to produce molten iron, a mixture of coal and iron ore will be heated in a blast furnace.

ArcelorMittal has an experienced and widely diversified fleet of production equipment that consistently makes steel. These include both electric arc and basic O2 furnaces. In an electric arc furnace, in order to make steel, recycled steel scrap will be melted to achieve this. On the other hand, in a regular O2 furnace, the main material used for producing steel is molten ore that is then combined with different quantities of alloys and steel scrap which produces various grades of steel. All in all, around twelve percent of the steel our company makes originates from recycled steel.

Finished products

The molten steel molten in the furnaces will eventually pass through casters in order to create billets, blooms and slabs. Next, through cold and also hot rolling processes, these primary steel products will be turned into many types of finished steel products. For instance, billets will be turned into rods and bars, blooms will be used for making beams and girders for instance, while slabs are generally rolled into flat products.

There are many industries that use the steel we produce, including the packaging, household appliances, construction and automotive industries. No matter if it’s regular steel or more advanced steel products, our company specializes in producing almost any kind of steel product and has the experience and equipment required for meeting client demands from a wide range of industries.

Iron Ore Mining Process

Standard post by SteelProMaster on April 26, 2015
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Iron ore mining pictureThe process of mining low-grade iron ore, or taconite, requires massive resources. Heavy industrial mining equipment, expansive mines, and a skilled labor pool are all required. Some of the equipment includes diamond-bit rotary drills, hydraulic shovels and loaders, water-wagons, production trucks and heavy duty conveyors.

Creating steel from low-grade iron ore requires a long process of mining, crushing, separating, concentrating, mixing, pelletizing, and shipping. Once the taconite pellets are formed, they are shipped to the customers and various steel mills.

Short Tour & Mining Process Overview

Mining, blasting, crushing, concentrating, agglomerating are some of the terms associated with mining process. Let’s talk about them as well as machinery, and processes that aren’t the elements of everyday conversation to folks outside of the mining industry.
First, a low-grade iron ore called taconite is mined. This taconite rock is about 28 percent iron, the rest sand or silica for the most part. The purpose of this process is to take this low-grade taconite rock and process it to remove most of the sand/silica and prepare it for shipment to a steel plant to make it into finished steel.

Once the low-grade ore is mined, it is then crushed, and grinded to as fine as face powder. After grinding this fine ore is mixed with water and a series of magnets are run over it. The magnets grab the iron particles and the rest is discarded. For every ton of retained iron about two tons of tailings are discarded / wasted.

Once the iron is captured in a “concentrated” form, the water is removed, a little clay added to serve as a binder, and finally the material is rolled into a small pellet about the size of a marble. These iron ore pellets are heated in a large, natural gas fired kiln to 2400 degrees F to harden them for shipment. The pellets are cooled and screened for quality and then loaded onto trains and ore boats for shipment to blast furnaces and steel mills. That’s where these iron ore pellets are turned into finished steel for shipment to auto and appliance manufacturers, steel building producers, and others.


The iron ore concentrate, mixed with Bentonite, is formed into soft pellets in balling drums in the pellet plant – it is done in much the same manner that one would roll a snowball. The goal is to make a pellet about the size of a marble (between 1/4″ and 1/2″). Pellets are screened to meet the size specification, with undersized or oversized crushed and returned to the balling drums.
The soft pellets are then delivered to the roller feeder for final removal of the fines, which are also returned to the balling circuits. The correctly sized soft pellets are delivered to the traveling grate furnace for further drying and preheating. The grate is fired by natural gas.

From this point, the pellets are charged into the large rotary kiln where they are heat-hardened at 2,400 degrees Fahrenheit. The pellets are discharged into the revolving cooler and then moved to the pellet screening plant on to the pellet loadout system.

The whole process consumes a lot of energy in the form of electricity and natural gas. Millions of dollars, over the last several years, have been spent to improve energy efficiency and to recoup waste heat and re-use it in the process. These efforts have significantly reduced expenditures on energy.

Watch this short Discovery Channel Video that shows iron ore to steel transformation process.