During the 17th Century, steel first became a frequently used material; however, is was not until the 19th Century with the development of efficient production methods such as the Bessemer process, that steel became mass produced in a cost effective manor.
Today, with the steady improvements to the metal’s quality and production process, steel has become one of the most common materials used across the world and plays a critical role in important industries including the automotive, construction and transportation sectors. Because steel is so integrated in infrastructural development, the industry is often looked as a gauge for overall economic progress in a country.
Steel is an alloy, or combination, of iron and carbon. Depending on the purpose of the material, different combinations of alloys and ratios are formulated for varying types of steel. Characteristics such as strength, durability and temperature resistance can be crafted based on production method and materials used in an alloy.
For the construction of large buildings and structures such as stadiums, skyscrapers and bridges, structural steel is typically employed for the supporting skeletons. Structural steel can also be used in conjunction with concrete and wood for additional reinforcement in a structure. Because of the safety ramifications associated with construction, there are specific standards and regulations established for the steel industry. The correct shape, size, composition and storage of steel are all specified in these regulations.