Steel is a metal alloy consisting mostly of iron, typically with small amounts of carbon although other elements may be included such as manganese, chromium, vanadium and tungsten. Modern steel making began in 1858 with the capability to produce large quantities cheaply. Mild steel is used for numerous applications where wrought iron was used previously. Steel shapes include sheet, rod, plate, hex, pipe and a variety of beams. Sheets are generally under 1/4 inch. Steel plate is generally above 1/4".
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Steel has many desirable attributes:
- Comes in numerous alloys with a wide variety of properties
- One of the lowest cost metals.
- Easily formed to make enclosures and other shapes
- Can be hardened
- Many alloys can be machined easily
Applications of Steel
Steel is used widely in the construction of roads, railways, infrastructure, and buildings. Most large modern structures, such as stadiums and skyscrapers, bridges, and airports, are supported by a steel skeleton. Steel is also used in appliances, cars, bolts, nails, screws, shipbuilding, mining, aerospace, material moving equipment, office furniture, tools, armor, etc.