What is Structural Steel: Properties and Applications


We rarely think that the steel is basically everywhere around us. From buildings that you work in or visit on regular basis to transport and in the roads we driving. It is even in our homes.

So, basically, construction steel is everywhere. Thanks to structural steel plate is a multipurpose material that provides fabrication versatility. It also provides the structural strength without heavy weight.

So, while we generally think that we are living in the concrete jungle, actually, we are living in the jungle of structural steel. But what is structural steel per se? Let’s figure it out.

What is Structural Steel?

So, what it the structural steel that turned out to be surrounding us everywhere? Just like all other types of steel, structural steel is an alloy of iron and carbon with possible addition of the third alloying element to enhance strength or temperature or corrosion resistance.

Still, the structural steel is a regulated category of alloy, which requires meeting industry standards for composition and dimensional tolerance. Structural steel is widely used both in Europe and North America.

According to the American Institute of Steel Construction around 50% of construction materials contains structural steel. So, just as we’ve stated about, we are coming across structural steel wherever we go.

But in order to understand what we’re dealing with when it comes to structural steel, we need to understand its difference from its non-structural counterpart.

There are two ways of producing steel. Steel can be made either from raw materials or via recycling old steel. Structural steel is mainly produced via recycling old steel.

Structural steel requires low content of carbon. The carbon content in normal steel can be anywhere from 2% to 5%, while structural steel generally contains less than 0,30% of carbon. This provides structural steel with inexpensive price, 100% recyclability and high weight resistance.

That’s why structural steel is applied in manufacturing everything from construction equipment to transmission towers. You can also add truck parts, crane booms, building frames, and freight cars to the list. You can continue adding more, but the list of the things produced using structural steel will still remain incomplete.

Unlike with all other types of steel, the additional alloy cannot be added to improve the quality of structural steel. Quite often titanium and molybdenum can be added to steel to reinforce hardness.

But if added to structural steel, the fusion of another alloy can make it more fragile, which leads to the alloy becoming unsuitable for structural applications.

Structural Steel Composition

There are three typical grades of structural steel: A36, A572 and A514. The content of A 36 is 0,25% to 0,29% of carbon, 1,03% if Manganese, 0,04% of Phosphorus, 0,05% of Sulfur, and 0,28% of Silicone. The content of A572 includes 0,18% to 0,23% of Carbon, 0,5% to 0,7% of Manganese, 0,035% of Phosphorus, 0,04% of Sulfur, and 0,3% of Silicone.

A514 is a different type of structural steel. While its content of carbon is reduced to 0,12%-0,21%, it has the same content of Silicone as A36. The content of Manganese is 0,85%m while the content of Phosphorus and Sulfur is unspecified. A514 also contains 0,2% of Molybdenum, 0,48% of Chromium, 0,05% of Vanadium, and 0,02% of Titanium.

Written by

Ryan Robinson

Ryan Robinson is a web content specialist who loves to write on new Technology, Digital Marketing & Internet. Ryan work has appeared in a wide range of publications in Online Media Coverage for Digital Companies Like: Wondershare, NordVPN.

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