What is Steel Used For?

STEEL MATTERS

It is easy for one to connect steel with things like architecture or automobiles. However, steel is actually a part of our everyday lives in other ways also. In fact, it even has a role within our bodies!

Read on to find out more about what steel is used for and how steel is weaved into our daily lives.

 

Surprise #1) Steel brings amusement to our lives!

Have you experienced the excitement of amusement parks and the thrill of roller coasters? Without steel, you would not be able to enjoy roller coasters!

Rollercoaster loops.

Roller coasters go back to the 17th century, but they first appeared in 1817 in Paris, France. It then spread to the U.S. in the 19th century and by 1920, they became so popular that most amusement parks had more than one installed.

Due to the Depression and the rise of television, roller coasters temporarily lost interest. However, with the appearance of “steel coasters”, roller coasters regained the interest of consumers. Compared to roller coasters made of wood, steel roller coasters could be made higher, faster while also being more safer. As of January 2012, 94% of roller coasters (2,791) around the world are made of steel.

 

Surprise #2) Steel brings profound musical tunes to our ears!

Steel also allows us to hear wonderful melodies. The sound of the piano has a beautiful sound that can transport us to a heavenly state. Contrary to what you might have expected, pianos are constructed with steel – a material which you would not associate with delicate music, correct?

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The strings (piano wire) found within piano are made of strong high carbon steel to maintain tension. To be produced, high carbon steel is heated above 900 degrees Celsius and then is dipped into a container with melted lead at temperatures between 430~520 degrees Celsius which is a process called patenting. The end product has high strength, high viscosity qualities which are fit for usage in springs as well.

 

Surprise #3) Steel keeps us alive!

Did you know that everyone has steel inside their bodies?

3g of iron is essential for our bodies to function. Though a minor quantity, without it, we cannot survive! About 60% is found in our blood, 30% is in our liver and spleen and the remaining 10% is found within myoglobin cells, cytochrome and other particles inside muscles and bone marrow.

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Iron is necessary for the body’s red blood cell formation. When there is not enough red blood cells, this affects our energy levels so that we get tired easily.  60 to 80% of patients with anemia have iron deficiency, but the symptoms do vary.

In many cases, the symptoms of anemia are shortness of breath, face becomes pale, and signs of anorexia. Moreover, hair falls out, nails become weak, and skin becomes very dry. Iron certainly plays a very important role within our bodies so we should make sure we maintain it!

 

Other Facts about Steel that You Didn’t Know Before

Generally people assume that the steel industry is the representative industry that produces harmful pollutions as a byproduct due to the use of coal for steel production. However, when one takes into consideration the entire life cycle of raw material extraction and processing, steel actually produces the least emissions per unit among building materials.

Steel is the only building material that can last for over 100 years. In addition to the merit of long-term usage, 90% of it can be recycled again unlike other materials. One ton of steel can go through 40 rotations of the reproduction cycle so that the cumulative amount of usage is actually over 10 tons.

5Steel is recognized not just for the manufacturing process but also as eco-friendly consumer products as well. Representative examples of this are the eco-friendly, high strength steel used for automotive steel sheets, galvanized steel sheets for automotive fuel tanks, chrome-free zinc-plated steel for home appliances and so on. High tension steel plates are thinner than regular steel plates, however, they are merited for making it possible to produce lighter cars. In addition, they can enhance fuel economy and reduce emissions and hazardous substances.

That’s not all! Japan and other major nations are looking towards the development of electric power transmissions and the component necessary for this to happen is electrical steel products. There is increasing demand for steel plates used for rotational machinery within motor units as the non-oriented electrical steels have excellent magnetic properties for efficiency.

 

Bright future for steel. There is no limit to the use of steel!

The necessity and importance of steel for society is increasing more and more. They say that steel already has a large influence on the things around us. They help make all things from needles to ships. However the boundaries are expanding even more! From housing and skyscrapers, to the numerous bridges and spires, steel is all around us. Steel is even found in our transportation that takes us from place to place as they are what makes up cars and subways too.

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What was most surprising among the uses of steel that we introduced? Stay tuned for more stories on steel that we will write about here on POSCO’s blog!

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