The widespread use of steel is one of the inventions that changed the face of the earth. But this material’s origins date back thousands of years to the Iron Age and beyond. While modern steel still contains around 99% iron concentration, the addition of carbon is what makes it something strong and remarkably adaptable.
Over the centuries, metalsmiths continued to experiment with smelting techniques to find the perfect combination of iron and carbon. Yet it wasn’t until the 19th-century when British engineer Henry Bessemer and American industrialist Andrew Carnegie managed to refine the process and achieve mass production.
As this manufacturing process has improved, new types of steel have emerged. Meanwhile, the performance of these products has also gone through the roof.
Stronger Steel Than Ever
Compared to only a few years ago, many steel parts are now considered up to 30% stronger and increasingly dent resistant. With modern metallurgy techniques like ‘cold working’, ‘transformation hardening’ and ‘solid solution hardening’ producing steel products with enhanced tensile strength and decreased ductility, the potential applications of steel only grow more diverse.
More Versatility and Greater Safety
Due to this much-improved strength, the use of steel in highly technical products proves to be a great success. For instance, the tensile strength of the steel used to manufacture cars in the past was estimated at 500 megapascals. However, technological improvements mean today’s vehicles are over three times stronger without any reductions in performance.
Thanks to this highly efficient material, collisions are far less likely to result in serious injuries for occupants. This is because advances in steel production see modern vehicles redirect the energy resulting from an accident away from the driver and passengers.
As steel has become used to produce everything from buildings and critical infrastructure to aeroplanes and electrical appliances, numerous steps have been taken to make the manufacturing process cleaner than ever. Fortunately, steel’s highly functional material means it can be recycled an infinite number of times without losing any of its quality. Soon, we might see sustainably produced hydrogen replace coal in the production process to bring about an even smarter material.
Speak to the Metal Experts
If you would like to learn more about the products available at Airport Metals, get in touch today by calling 03 9310 5566. Alternatively, send an email to [email protected] or leave your details on our easy-to-complete online enquiry form.