Steel is an incredibly versatile metal and its unique properties enable it to be recycled over and over again without any degradation. In this week’s blog, we take a closer look at this incredible metal with some amazing facts about its physical properties, uses and the steel industry.
All about steel
All steel comes from iron (or iron ore), the 4th most common element on planet and the 6th most common element throughout the universe. Steel is an incredibly strong material; some kinds of steel can be up to 1000 times stronger than iron. Although steel is susceptible to rust, there are ways to minimise its effects. These include coating steel with materials such as zinc (galvanisation) and protecting steel from rust through continually passing an electric current through it, a process called Cathodic Protection.
Uses of steel
Steel has a huge number of uses; it is used in extremely large volumes in the transport industry to build things like ships, trains, cars and planes, in the construction industry for structures like reinforcing bars, suspension cables, cladding and roofing, in the manufacture of appliances like refrigerators, ovens, microwaves, sinks, radiators, kitchen utensils, razors and stereo equipment, and in disposable items such as food and beverage cans, aerosol cans and bottle tops. Because steel is such a commonly used material, it’s important to make a conscious effort to recycle it. In Australia 97% of end of life structural steel and 82% of all scrap steel is recycled into new products.
The steel industry then and now
Although steel has been manufacture for many hundreds of years, the steel industry really took off when Henry Bessemer, an English inventor, developed the Bessemer process between 1850 and 1855 – the first real method that enabled the mass production of steel. Today, steel production is booming, with 67 countries reporting the combined manufacture of 136.5 million tonnes in January 2017 alone. China produces over 50% of the world’s steel, and Japan is the second largest producer of the metal.
Steel is a truly versatile metal, and because of its incredible durability and ability to be endlessly recycled, the steel industry will likely flourish for many years to come. Metal Men Recycling will gladly accept all your old steel appliances and give you cash for scrap. We even have a 24 hour pick up service. Call us now on 03 5941 6677 and get cash for scrap!