Did You Know ?
What is Steel?
Steel is an alloy that consists mostly of iron and has a carbon. Carbon is the most common alloying material for iron, but various other alloying elements are used, such as manganese and chromium. These elements act as a hardening agents. Varying the amount of alloying elements and the form of their presence in the steel controls qualities such as the hardness, ductility, and tensile strength of the resulting steel.
Though steel had been produced by various inefficient methods long before the Renaissance, its use became more common after more-efficient production methods were devised in the 17th century. With the invention of the Bessemer process in the mid-19th century, steel became an inexpensive mass-produced material.
Today, steel is one of the most common materials in the world, with more than 1.3 billion tons produced annually. It is a major component in buildings, infrastructure, tools, ships, automobiles, machines, appliances, and weapons.
The most usable material
The production of iron by humans began sometime after 2000 BCE in south Asia, perhaps in the Caucasus region. Thus began the Iron Age, when iron replaced bronze in implements and weapons. This shift occurred because iron, when alloyed with a bit of carbon, is harder, more durable, and holds a sharper edge than bronze. For over three thousand years, until replaced by steel after CE 1870, iron formed the material basis of human civilization in Europe, Asia, and Africa.
Steel is one of the most recycled materials in the world
The steel industry has been actively recycling for more than 150 years, in large part because it is economically advantageous to do so. It is cheaper to recycle steel than to mine iron ore and manipulate it through the production process to form new steel. Steel does not lose any of its inherent physical properties during the recycling process, and has drastically reduced energy and material requirements compared with refinement from iron ore. The energy saved by recycling reduces the annual energy consumption of the industry by about 75%, which is enough to power eighteen million homes for one year.
The use of steel in structures
Forth Railway Bridge - 2.5 km - the world’s first major steel bridge, ranks as one of the great feats of civilization. It was begun in 1883 and formally completed on 4 March 1890.
The Iron bridge at Coalbrookdale in Shropshire, England, completed in 1779, was the first major structure to be constructed entirely of iron.
The Third Mainland Bridge is the longest of three bridges connecting Lagos Island in Nigeria to the mainland and is the longest bridge in Africa. The bridge starts from Oworonshoki which is linked to the Apapa-Oshodi express way and Lagos-Ibadan express way, and ends at the Adeniji Adele Interchange on Lagos Island. There is also a link midway through the bridge that leads to the Herbert Macaulay Way, Yaba. The Bridge was built by Julius Berger Nigeria PLC and opened by President Ibrahim Babangida in 1990: it measures about 11.8km in length.
The other two being the Eko and the Carter bridges.