The Steel Saga

While modern steel production and usage in construction has only been around for the last two hundred plus years, steel manufacturing dates back thousands of years. During those years, people tried to improve on steel creation to make the carbon-rich steel stronger and more durable. People before the 17th century were at a disadvantage since they couldn't heat the metal to make the steel stronger. While steel was used in ancient China and in the Roman Empire, steel production in bulk for construction did not begin until the creation of blast furnaces, created specifically for melting ore and making steel with higher temperatures than ever before.

At the time a blast furnace was the best way to heat the ore and remove impurities and is still in use today. However, in the mid-19th century, a man called Henry Bessemer thought of a new way to produce steel. He created a device, called a Bessemer Converter, that would allow air flow to carry impurities out and away from the steel.

Construction worker and tablet

Global Steel

Today's world consists of five major steel manufacturers, starting with the highest manufacturer, China, followed by the U.S., Russia, Japan, and India. Most of the steel in America is produced in Pennsylvania and used for construction supplies, such as I beams, rebar, and other demands. During the last fifty years, China has begun to produce more steel than anyone else in order to support the rapid economic growth. India also manufactures high amounts of steel to sustain recent growth.

Construction site

Forms of Steel

Steel can come in many forms, with a variety of different alloys, processes, and tools to choose from. Long steel is the classic steel used for construction and rebar. Stainless steel makes modern cutlery and surgical tools. Trains, planes, and ships often use flat carbon steel, a weaker more malleable, or bendable steel, for the outside bodies and frames. Some steel manufactured in World War II is even used to reflect nuclear radiation!

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