Steel As Building Material; Types, Advantages & Availability

The wide availability, self-replenishing nature and ease of use was the major factor for the preferability for wood over anything in the previous times. The modern manufacturing infrastructure trends and the rebate of non-protected sources of wood are formulating new trends in domestic and commercial construction.  Steel is much more durable than properly treated wood or any such alternatives. The potency provided by steel can never be matched with wood or concrete. Although the initial cost of production for steel structures may be higher than others, the cost to own and maintain the steel-based structure is comparatively lesser.  Steel is immune to natural disasters such as floods, fire, and earthquakes. Steel is impassive to the damages caused by mold and the dreaded termite threat which contributes to huge economical damage to real estate every year. Steel is posthaste becoming the building material of choice for the majority of development organizations.

10 Advantages that make Steel structures stand out

  1. High stability to withstand a high amount of external pressure
  2. Efficient load carrying capability
  3. High strength to weight ratio. Steel structures on average weigh 60% less than concrete structures
  4. Construction time period gets shortened when using steel as they are easy to erect
  5. Greater scrap value
  6. High versatility. It can be easily assembled, disassembled and replaced. 
  7. Can be easily fabricated and produced in bulk
  8. Can be made offsite and assembled as required on site
  9. Eco-friendly and easy to transport
  10. Amazing malleability

Steel classified based on the usage

  • Plain carbon steel or mild steel

 Carbon steel might have carbon content up to 2.1% by weight.  As the carbon content of the steel rises, steel becomes harder and robust through heat treating. But as the carbon content rises it results in reduced ductility and weldability. In usual cases, carbon steels, carbon content and melting point are inversely proportional to each other.  Low carbon steel is also called Mild steel or plain carbon steel. It is the most common form of steel because of its material properties and cost-efficiency. It contains about 0.05–0.25% carbon content which makes it malleable and ductile. The surface hardness of such steel can be increased through carburizing. 

  • Rebar steel

Reinforcement bars of rebar is a steel bar or mesh of steel wires used in reinforced concrete as a tension device. The concrete structures are comparatively stronger under compression but it can’t make much tension. Since the rebars have high tensile strength, they strengthen the concrete and help them manage a higher amount of tension. The exterior structure of the rebar is deformed to achieve better bonding with concrete. The most commonly used rebars are carbon steel ones consisting of hot-rolled rounded bars with deformed exteriors.  Other easily available types are stainless steel, and composite bars made of glass fiber, carbon fiber, or basalt fiber.

  • Structural steel 

Structural steel is a category for providing construction materials in a wide variety of shapes. Most of such steel will be of a form of an elongated beam having a shape-specific cross-section.  Structural steel frames, sizes, chemical composition, mechanical properties such as strength, storage practices, etc.are classified by norms in most industrialized countries. Structural steel is available in the industry in various shapes like I- beam, Z shape, HSS shape, L shape(angle), structural channel(C-beam, cross-section), T – shaped, rail profile, bar, rod, plate, open joist of web steel, etc. Structural steel is ductile, strong and comparatively more durable than any other alternatives. It can be reshaped into almost any shape based on the requirements. Although it is highly fire-resistant, external fire prevention measures are advised for construction purposes. 

Availability and demand for Steel in India

From 2014 to 2016, India was the second-largest producer of raw steel and the largest producer of sponge iron in the world. The industry contributed 82.68 m million tons of total finished steel and 9.7 million tons of raw iron. The majority of the iron and steel in India is produced from iron ore.  According to the World Steel Association, the demand for steel is expected to grow above 7% in 2019 and 2020. Industry experts are forecasting a global demand of 1,735 million tonnes (MT) by the end of 2019, a rise of 1.3% over 2018. For a developing nation like India, the broad array of recapitulating infrastructure projects is likely to encourage the growth in steel demand above 7% in both 2019 and 2020.

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