The Usage of Steel in Construction: How and Why It’s So Important
Steel was actually invented thousands of years ago, which predates even the Gregorian Calendar by many millenniums, but modern steel and its application in construction at its earliest stage was only implemented after the Bessemer process was introduced in 1865.
The technology has since evolved by leaps and bounds, refining everything from the manufacturing processes themselves to inventing ultra-strong variants of carbon steel and chromium alloy steel. In fact, it’s an ongoing process as you read this.
Today, construction would come to a standstill, along with innumerable other industries such as automotive, packaging and the vast electronic goods business, if steel production suffered in any way. Staying true to the title though, we are only going to take a closer look at the role of steel in modern construction and why it would indeed come to a jarring halt without the manmade alloy.
Steel is the Single Most Important Metallic Component in Modern Construction
Unless civil engineers are able to understand how to make steel constructs and use them in various ways across different types of complex constructions, they would practically be incapable of doing their job. Therefore, whether it is a Masters in Civil Engineering online program or a more traditional full-time course, any civil engineering course will introduce students to the importance, uses and applications of steel in construction, because it’s that important.
The construction business continues to be the main market for steel manufacturers, and it’s not just because of the construction beams, rods, substructures and infrastructures either. Most construction equipment is also made primarily out of steel alloys, without which, modern construction cannot proceed.
The Future is in Metal, as Steel is Part of the Green Movement Now
Steel is one the most recyclable materials in construction, which automatically makes it a part of the green construction movement, but there’s actually more to it.
At one time, the manufacturing processes involved in the steel used to consume a lot of energy, in addition to releasing polluted water and smoke into the environment. Today, however, steel manufacturing is extremely energy-efficient and the runoff water and emissions are purified to remove the toxins from them.
Unfortunately, every steel business wasn’t as willing to take in the extra costs associated with following the green manufacturing processes initially, due to their shortsighted priority for making immediate profits, instead of building a long term, sustainable industry.
The efforts of the LEED Green Building Rating System have paid off though, because green construction, made with steel from factories that practice sustainable manufacturing, is a lot more profitable and generally expected by consumers nowadays.
As construction becomes more and more dependent on steel, rather than wood, we can expect minimal reliance on wood in the future. This will further reduce the need to cut down as many trees for lumber, and will, therefore, play a big role in slowing down deforestation.
A Closer Look at How Exactly Steel is Used in Construction
We already discussed the importance of steel and why it is so important in construction, and now it is time to understand how exactly is the alloy used in the industry.
Steel Frames and Prefabricated Steel
Have you ever looked at the One World Trade Center in New York City, or the Willis Tower in Chicago and wondered how is it that these impossibly tall high-rise buildings are standing up?
Steel frames and concrete is the answer to that question, although it’s almost a comically simple one, given the kind of engineering marvel and complex implementations of the theories of physics that were involved in erecting those skyscrapers and keeping them from falling over!
Nevertheless, steel frames and concrete are the two basic materials which make it possible for the theories of cutting-edge civil engineering and architecture to be implemented successfully in such projects.
Not to forget, prefabrication of those steel frames is what allows them to be pre-constructed on the ground and then installed as necessary, which would be a lot harder to do otherwise.
If you really want to understand the actual science behind the modern wonders of man, then you will have to study architecture or civil engineering, both of which can be lucrative career options. Even if you have a job right now and insufficient time to go for a fulltime course, you should consider getting a Masters in civil engineering online, because the average yearly package is nothing to scoff at! Besides, you will be creating structures that will stand tall, even long after you are gone.
There has been a recent surge of popularity for pure steel buildings, especially in the industrial sector, due to their ability to withstand harsh weather conditions, incredible insulation, long-term durability and also because of how easy it is to replace those steel panels that pre-fabricated steel buildings are made out of.
These buildings can also be custom-made to suit the specific need which it will serve for the consumer. Perhaps one of the primary reasons why they are so popular is because such a construct can be erected in just a few days or so, which saves invaluable time for businesses.
Steel roofing has the same advantage that steel buildings have, but unlike steel buildings, which are primarily (though not exclusively) used in the commercial sector for warehousing and such, steel roofs are now frequently being used in residential buildings as well.
They last a lot longer, improve the building’s insulation, and are often considered to be a more aesthetic choice. More importantly for those of us that live in storm-prone states, they are not as easy to blow away and they do not catch fire even when hit by lightning or a nearby wildfire. As the steel manufacturing industry continues to produce stronger, more durable and environmentally friendly products, the use of steel will only increase with time, eventually replacing a lot of the other materials currently being used in construction, to build a better tomorrow for our future generations.