Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Steel

According to the American Iron and Steel Institute, steel is the most commonly used metal in the entire world. It is most popular for its great strength and its recyclable benefits. Have you ever walked past a steel object and wondered, what exactly is steel, where does it comes from, or even the process of making it? What is the paid steel price per pound when recycled? If these questions have ever crossed your mind then you have come to the right place. Let’s take a look at understanding steel.

What is Steel?

There are many forms of steel. The steel price is determined by the form of steel being recycled. These forms are broken up and categorized into four different basic groups: carbon, alloy, stainless, and tool. Groups are separated by their chemical compositions. Steel is mainly made up of carbon, with alloy and iron being the second main elements. Other factors that influence the steel prices per pound are its classifications. Classifications include composition, production method, finishing method, form or shape, deoxidation process, microstructure, physical strength, heat treatment, and quality nomenclature. Steel is estimated to weigh around 490 pounds per cubic foot and is mainly used for building structures.

Where Does Steel Come From?

Steel has been produced for thousands of years. The earliest known piece of steel was found nearly 4,000 years ago in 1800 B.C. However, steel is believed to have existed and utilized long before the 326 B.C. Many believe it was originally found in an Indian subculture. This subculture referred to steel as “wootz steel“. It is believed that the subculture began producing and exporting steel. Andrew Carnegie is known as the first man in the United States to begin the steel production

How Is Steel Made? 

To produce steel there are two main processes – there is the electric arc furnace, and the basic oxygen furnace. The basic oxygen furnace uses between 25-35 percent of old steel to make the new steel. This system makes up approximately 40 percent of all steelmaking in the United States today. The electric arc furnace uses up to about 100 percent of old steel to make new material.

The electric arc furnace process is used to make approximately 60 percent of all steel in the United States today. In early stages of making steel they begin by mining iron ore straight from the Earth. It is then smelted in a blast furnace where impurities are removed and carbon is added. According to the television series, “How it’s Made,” the impurities removed are those of silica, phosphorus, and sulfur. These impurities must be removed because together they weaken the steel compound.

How It’s Recycled

Steel is 100 percent recyclable and can be recycled an infinite number of times. Although steel can be repeatedly recycled, it never loses its strength. Steel price varies from quarter to quarter and is based on production. Recycling steel saves energy and protects the environment by reducing the need to drill for raw materials. In North America 69 percent of all steel is recycled each year; this is more than, paper, aluminum, plastic, and glass combined. The 69 percent brings in more than 80 million tons of steel that is recycled.

Steel begins the recycling process by being separated into 3 different categories, home scrap, prompt scrap, and obsolete scrap. It is hauled off to a refinery where it is broken down and recycled. 

How Steel is Used

Steel is used in nearly every industry in the world including construction, home goods, and energy. It is widely used in construction for its strength and often provides support for structures. Consumers in construction use it to build buildings, bridges, railways, and even roads. Aside from that you will notice that it is used in things you never thought about, such as motors for modern appliances, steel frames for your car, nuts and screws, and even factory machinery. Steel is a very important part of our everyday life which is why the consumer needs are very high.

Steel is a very beneficial part of our growing economy. Having a high demand for its durable strength and recyclable benefits often cause the steel price per pound to fluctuate. Every year the compounds are adjusted and the effect of the steel for the economy improves. Because of this, steel is moving toward the best and most efficient metal to use. Whether it’s the buildings, or our cars, or even our machines, steel is a necessity.