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Steel: An Overview

Steel is considered the most widely used material in engineering and industries. It is used to design everything from surgical instruments to giant manufacturing machines. World's raw steel production is relatively more compared to other important metals. It was estimated that around 1870 million tonnes of steel were produced in 2019. The reason lies in its sharp mechanical properties, an abundance of raw materials, and relatively low steel rates in India and other countries.
Composition:
By definition, steel is an alloy of iron(98%) and carbon(2%). Evidently, the major component of iron is in its solid state. The uniqueness of steel overlies the allotropy of iron - its existence in two crystalline forms. At the same time, carbon has its role in converting pure iron into steel and in strengthening.

Properties:
The properties of steel rely on various aspects that have been listed below-
● Carbon: The quality of carbon decides the mechanical properties of steel.
● Heating and cooling rates and temperature also control steel's properties.
● Alloying: Adding other elements may produce new characteristics to plain steel. Some of them are-
✔ Nickel
✔ Chromium
✔ Aluminium
✔ Silicone
✔ Cobalt

Manufacture:
Steel is produced mainly by two routes-
● Blast furnace - Basic oxygen furnace (BF-BOF) route.
● Electric arc furnace (EAF) route.
Relatively, about 70% of steel is produced by the BF-BOF route nowadays. The process includes the reduction of iron ore into pure iron in the blast furnace, which in turn is made into steel in the Basic oxygen furnace.

Environment friendly:
Steel is entirely recyclable and also requires fewer resources for its production. This advantage has made lightweight steels function as energy savers used in automobiles and houses. Hence, steel also has a role to play in reducing the extent of pollution.

Applications:
Today, research and invention in steel manufacturing have led to the availability of various kinds of steel which serve different functions. Here are a few applications to mention –
● Wear-resistant steels in crushers and power shovels.
● Electrical steels for generation and transmission of electric current.
● Steel plates and sheets- TMT for the bridge.
● Free machining steels in bolts, nuts, and screws.
● Stainless steel in architecture and aerospace
It is valuable to ensure that you come to terms with a trusted brand if you are looking for premium quality steel. JSWNEO Steel is one such that produces both hot as well as cold-rolled steel and its products conform to JIS, EN, ASTM as well as IS standards.
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