Steel is an alloy made by combining iron and other elements, the most common of these being carbon. When carbon is used, its content in the steel is between 0.2% and 2.1% by weight, depending on the grade. Other alloying elements sometimes used are manganese, chromium, vanadium and tungsten.
Carbon and other elements act as a hardening agent, preventing dislocations in the iron atom crystal lattice from sliding past one another. Varying the amount of alloying elements and the form of their presence in the steel (solute elements, precipitated phase) controls qualities such as the hardness, ductility, and tensile strength of the resulting steel. Steel with increased carbon content can be made harder and stronger than iron, but such steel is also less ductile than iron.
Alloys with a higher than 2.1% carbon content are known as cast iron because of their lower melting point and good castability. Steel is also distinguishable from wrought iron, which can contain a small amount of carbon, but it is included in the form of slag inclusions. Two distinguishing factors are steel's increased rust resistance and better weldability.
Though steel had been produced by various inefficient methods long before the Renaissance, its use became more common after more efficient production methods were devised in the 17th century. With the invention of the Bessemer process in the mid-19th century, steel became an inexpensive mass-produced material. Further refinements in the process, such as basic oxygen steelmaking (BOS), lowered the cost of production while increasing the quality of the metal. Today, steel is one of the most common materials in the world, with more than 1.3 billion tons produced annually. It is a major component in buildings, infrastructure, tools, ships, automobiles, machines, appliances, and weapons. Modern steel is generally identified by various grades defined by assorted standards organizations.
Other articles related to "steel":
... National Steel has several meanings National Steel (1929), a defunct steel production company in the United States National Steel Company (1899), part ... Steel National Steel and Shipbuilding Company, a shipyard in San Diego, California National Steel (album), a blues album by Colin James National Steel, a type of ...
... Galvanized steel potable water supply and distribution pipes are commonly found with nominal pipe sizes from 3/8 to 2 ... Steel pipe has National Pipe Thread (NPT) standard tapered male threads, which connect with female tapered threads on elbows, tees, couplers, valves, and ... Galvanized steel (often known simply as "galv" or "iron" in the plumbing trade) is relatively expensive, and difficult to work with due to weight and requirement of a pipe ...
... Main article Low-background steel Steel manufactured after World War II became contaminated with radionuclides due to nuclear weapons testing ... Low-background steel, steel manufactured prior to 1945, is used for certain radiation-sensitive applications such as Geiger counters and radiation shielding ...
... The windmill was produced by the Steel Wings Company, in North Sydney between 1907 and 1911 with only six models ever erected ... The windmills comprise a steel frame and fan which turns to the wind between a bearing at the bottom and a swivel at the top, all supported by guy-wires ... The Jerilderie Steel Wings windmill, built in 1910, was transported by rail from Sydney and then taken by bullock wagon to Goolgumbula Station for Sir Samuel McCaughey ...
... In 1933, the site was expanded to include steel production and the company was renamed Showa Steel Works ... industries developed around the iron and steel mills ... had become one of the largest producers of iron and steel in Asia if not the world ...
Famous quotes containing the word steel:
“For every man that Bolingbroke hath pressed
To lift shrewd steel against our golden crown,
God for his Richard hath in heavenly pay
A glorious angel. Then if angels fight,
Weak men must fall; for heaven still guards the right.”
—William Shakespeare (15641616)
“The finest workers in stone are not copper or steel tools, but the gentle touches of air and water working at their leisure with a liberal allowance of time.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)
“For when they meet, the tensile air
Like fine steel strains under the weight
Of messages that both hearts bear
Pure passion once, now purest hate....”
—Allen Tate (18991979)