Iron is a naturally occurring element found in nature within Iron Ore. Iron is the main component of Steel, which is an alloy of Iron with the main addition of Steel. Steel is stronger than Iron, with better tension and compression properties.
Steel has high Tensile Strength It is malleable – allowing it to be easily shaped Durability – allowing the steel to withstand external forces. Conductivity – it is good at conducting heat and electricity, useful for cookware and wiring. Lustre – steel has an attractive, silvery appearance. Rust Resistance – the addition of various elements in varying percentages can give steel in the form of stainless steel it’s high corrosion resistance.
When alloyed with other metals such as aluminum or vanadium, titanium alloy is stronger than many types of steel. In terms of sheer strength, the best titanium alloys beat low to medium grade stainless steels. However, the highest grade of stainless steel is stronger than titanium alloys.
Carbon Steel Carbon steels contain Iron, Carbon, and other alloying elements such as Manganese, Silicon, and Copper. Alloy Steel Alloy steels contain common alloy metals in varying proportions, which makes this type of steel suitable for specific applications. Stainless Steel Although stainless steels comprise of several metal alloys, they usually contain 10-20 percent chromium, making it the primary alloying element. Compared to the other forms of steel, stainless steels are approximately 200 times more resistant to rusting, especially the types that contain at least 11 percent chromium. You can read more about stainless steel here. Tool Steel This type of steel is alloyed at very high temperatures and often contains hard metals like tungsten, cobalt, molybdenum, and vanadium. Since they are not only heat resistant but also durable, tool steels are often used for cutting and drilling equipment.
Type 440 – which is a higher grade of cutlery steel which has a higher percentage of carbon, has much better edge retention when properly heat-treated. It can be hardened to approximately Rockwell 58 hardness, making it one of the hardest stainless steels
One of the most frequently asked questions about steel is why isn’t steel classed as metal? Steel, being an alloy and therefore not a pure element, is not technically a metal but a variation on one instead. It’s partially composed of a metal, iron, but because it also has non-metal carbon in its chemical make-up, it’s not a pure metal.
304 Stainless Steel or Type 304 the most common grade; the classic 18/8 (18% chromium, 8% nickel) stainless steel. Outside of the US, it is commonly known as “A2 stainless steel”, in accordance with ISO 3506 (not to be confused with A2 tool steel)
Steel is a uniquely sustainable material because once it is made it can be used, as steel, forever. Steel is infinitely recycled, so the investment in making steel is never wasted and can be capitalized on by future generations. Some interesting facts about steel
While iron is a fairly strong material on its own, steel can be 1000 times stronger than iron. Rusting of steel slows down or even stops entirely when an electrical current is passing through steel. This is known as Cathodic Protection and is used for pipelines, ships, and steel in concrete. Steel is the most recycled material in North America – close to 69% of it is recycled annually, which is more than plastic, paper, aluminum, and glass combined. Steel was first used for skyscrapers in the year 1883. It takes more than the wood of 40 trees to make a wood-framed home – a steel-framed home uses 8 recycled cars. The first steel automobile was made in the year 1918 600 steel or tin cans are recycled every second. 83,000 tons of steel was used to make the Golden Gate Bridge. The amount of energy necessary to produce a tonne of steel has been cut in half over the last 30 years. In 2018, the world crude steel production totaled a whopping 1,808.6 million tonnes. That’s equivalent to the weight of about 180,249 Eiffel Towers. You are likely surrounded by steel at the moment. A typical household appliance is made up of 65% of steel products. Steel is in your electronics too! Of all the materials that make up an average computer, about 25% of it is steel. The first major mass demand for steel came from railroad companies. Many industries soon followed in demanding steel for their needs. Steel was first used in mass production to construct railroad tracks.