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Structural steel: The ultimate building material

February 25, 2020

If there’s one kind of steel that’s undoubtedly used more than other types the award would go to structural steel. Used primarily in the construction industry as well as for a wide variety of other purposes like steel framing - a building technique often incorporated into a project due to the strength and durability it provides.


Structural steel is formed with a particular cross-section that varies depending on their use in posts, beams, and plates.


Construction protocols like these are applied in order to enhance certain mechanical properties as well as to facilitate specific chemical composition of the steel.


When all is said and done, this kind of steel is strong enough to withstand the huge demands and rigors of common building materials, such as concrete, and remains invaluable in the prevention of buckling or stress fractures. As such, structural steel remains one of the most studied and well understood building materials, and is ideal for conforming to numerous industrial standards and codes thanks to its predictable nature.


The difference is in the (mechanical) details

One of the most important properties of this type of steel is ductility, which is why it lends itself so well for use as reinforcement material for concrete. This quality enables redistribution of stresses in continuous members, particularly at points where local stresses are high, like in holes. However, the general rule when using steel of this sort is that it always be used in situations below its yield point. This is where ductility as a mechanical property shines as it provides a “warning signal” of sorts, reducing the impact of any potential structural failure.


Another remarkable property of steel is its recyclability, making it a sustainable building material. Care, however, should be practiced as mechanical properties of the steel weaken when subjected to the prolonged influence from operational factors, e.g. temperature, pressure, radiation, cyclic loads, and the working environment; failure to prepare for such harsh conditions can lead to embrittlement due to thermal aging, fatigue, and corrosion damage. There really is no substitute for quality in this regard, it’s critical to ensure that the structural steel you are supplied is fabricated with the highest standards in mind – a fulfilment that is guaranteed in all the work conducted by Scarboro Steel Works Inc.