The term metal is generally used to refer to any strong material that can conduct heat or electricity efficiently. This explains why many people often assume that the terms steel and metal mean the same thing. While steel is widely used in today's metal fabrication industry, not all metals are steel.
Steel has many unique features that set it apart from other metal types and make it suitable for use in many metal fabrication projects. Continue reading to find out what steel is and the various benefits it can bring when used to make tools, machinery, or other products that require high strength.
What is steel?
Steel is a metal alloy. The term metal alloy is used to describe any metal that is formed by combining a pure metal with other metals or elements. Metal alloys differ from pure metals, which are not combined with any other elements.
Steel can be further identified as an iron alloy as it is made by combining iron with carbon. It is this merging of iron and carbon atoms that gives steel its most revered and perhaps the most beneficial quality — high strength.
What are the advantages of steel?
Steel's high level of strength is arguably its biggest advantage, but there are several other advantages that it can offer, as well. These include the ones highlighted below:
Steel can be converted into the desired shapes
With the appropriate choice of steel type and forming processes, it's possible to convert steel into almost any desired shape. This quality makes steel a versatile choice material for fabrication purposes.
Steel is non-combustible
Steel does not burn easily, thanks to its relatively high melting point compared to other metal alloys. As a result, it's perfect for use in applications that require a high level of fire resistance.
Steel is durable
When maintained properly, steel can provide reliable, long-lasting performance. The only major threat to its durability is rust, but this can be managed by applying a quality rustproofing coating to the surface of the substrate steel.
Steel is fully recyclable
Upon reaching the end of its useful lifespan, steel can be 100% recycled without losing its inherent qualities. This makes it a sustainable choice of material for fabrication projects.
Different types of steel contain varying amounts of iron and carbon. As a result, each steel is suited to specific project requirements. If you have a steel fabrication job and are unsure of which type of steel is right for you, contact a steel fabrication company near you.