Top Facts You Didn’t Know About Steel


Over the course of a day, you may not even think about it. You use it for cooking, eating, and cleaning, and if you work in an area where there is a lot of manufacturing, you probably use it more than the average person.

Of course, the subject here is steel, that sleek and hardy metal that seems to be at the base of most things in society.

Steel is, of course, renowned for its durable nature, but there are some very interesting things that you may not know about this metal. This article aims to make you a bit of a whizz when it comes to lesser-known steel facts, so read on to find out more.

Steel Fatigue

The history of UK steel points to it being one of the core materials used in the construction of buildings and cutlery.

However, steel is also susceptible to a phenomenon which is known as steel fatigue. This occurs when the material weakens and fails under cyclic loading. If you are an engineer, you will know all about this, but if you are somebody who thinks that they can test the weight limit on a steel loader, then you may be in for a bit of a surprise, and a potential injury. Its hardy, but it’s not indestructible!

Crystal Structure

As a natural element, steel has a rather fascinating structure. In particular, the properties that make still so hardy are influenced by the crystal structure. When you look at steel under a microscope, you can see that the majority of steels have a crystalline fractal base, which is called body-centered cubic, or BCC.

When the steel is heated up, it goes through phase transformations, which change this structure. This alters the mechanical properties and strengthens the structure, which is why it is always depicted that steel has to be heated for it to become harder and more durable. 

Steel Is Cheaper Than Plastic

When many people think about materials that are used in the modern world, the emphasis on plastic often takes the forefront. It is presumed that the overuse of plastic is due to the fact that it is cheaper than metal. However, when it comes to manufacturing costs and recycling costs, steel is cheaper than plastic. Steel can exceed 100 years of being recycled constantly without losing any of its structural properties, whereas plastic can only be recycled once before it requires additional compounds to be added to keep it strong.

There are 3,500 Types!

Steel is not only one of the most well-known metals in the world, but it is also one that has the widest variety.  Indeed, steel has over 3,500 different and distinct types, which includes carbon steels, alloy steels, stainless steels and tool steels. In fact, when you think of stainless steels, you may think there is only 1 type- there are actually 5! So, it is a metal with many faces and, if you are looking to undertake a degree in engineering, you may have to learn the core differences between all the different steel types.

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