It’s on buildings, bridges, and bulldozers. It’s on cars, trains, and roads. Steel is all around us.
People who work in the manufacturing industry already know how important steel is to our daily lives. But steel plays an even more important role than most people realize. Here are six things we should all know about steel.
1. People Have Produced Steel for About 4,000 Years
Steel has been around for a long time. In Anatolia, archeologists discovered steel ironware dated at 1800 BC.
While ancient steel manufacturing processes differed, they laid the foundation for today’s steelwork. In Sri Lanka, workers produced steel via wind-powered furnaces. As early as 500 BC, ancient peoples used crucibles and carbon sources to create steel.
2. Steel Is a Sign of a Strong Economy
Steel is used to build many parts of a functioning city, from ships to skyscrapers. Thus, if the steel industry is doing well, it’s a good sign that the economy is booming. For example, demand for steel greatly increased in the early 2000s. On the other hand, a struggling steel industry indicates a struggling economy. That’s why demand for steel lowered during the recession.
3. Steel Is One of the Most Recycled Materials
Most people don’t think of steel as environmentally friendly, but over 80% of steel is recycled worldwide. In fact, about two thirds of new steel comes from old steel. According to steel.org, it is the most recycled material on the planet! Much of this recycled steel comes from cars, appliances, and steel packaging.
4. Everyone Has Steel in Their Homes
Most people know about steel’s industrial applications, but they don’t realize how much they rely on steel at home as well. Steel makes up many household applications, such as:
- Washing machines
People rely on the strength of steel every day as they eat, wash clothes, and perform other daily tasks.
5. Steel’s Reputation for Strength Has Reached Popular Culture
Steel can withstand winds at 170 mph. A small piece of steel won’t bend until hit with 40,000 lbs. of force. This amazing amount of strength has given steel a powerful reputation.
For example, the latest Superman movie was called Man of Steel. Writer and producer David S. Goyer stated that the name was a metaphor for Superman’s superhuman capabilities. Having come from another planet, Superman was made from much stronger stuff than the average human.
Steel is mentioned in other movies as well. For example, the movie Steel Magnolias uses steel as a metaphor to describe the inner toughness of the characters.
Steel is also used in popular music. In the song, Wanted, Bon Jovi sings: “I’m a cowboy, on a steel horse I ride.” The song speaks of the difficult life of being a rock star, with the “steel horse” representing the tour bus.
6. Many Famous Structures Are Made of Steel
Some world-famous structures you know and love are made from steel. These include:
- The Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri
- The Chrysler Building in New York
- The United States Air Force Memorial in Arlington, Virginia
- The Art Gallery of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
- The Helix Bridge in Singapore
Steel adds both strength and beauty to buildings and other structures. Stainless steel is particularly popular because it does not stain, corrode, or rust after water exposure. It can also be molded into many different shapes.
Whether you need material for a construction project or a manufacturing application, you can count on steel’s durability and longevity. At Moorhead Machinery & Boiler Co., we offer custom steel fabrication, welding, and material processing. We can even handle specialty jobs. Call us today for all your steel needs.