What Is Steelwork Used For?

posted by:
28 August 2020

In essence, structural steel is defined as steel shaped for use in construction for building purposes. There are a few variants of the type of steel we work with, a large part of which is determined by which process we roll the steel with (hot or cold).

Having high strength, stiffness, toughness, and ductile properties, structural steel is one of the most commonly used materials in commercial and industrial building construction.

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Overview Of Steelwork & Structural Steelwork

Many structural steel shapes take the form of an elongated beam having a specific cross-section profile. Structural steel shapes, sizes, chemical composition, mechanical properties such as strengths, storage practices, etc., are regulated by government-mandated standard in most fully industrialized countries.

Steel can be cast, moulded, shaped or beaten into nearly any shapes you could require. There are usually either bolted or welded together in construction, as it would be almost impossible to transport a fully built frame. Structural steel can be erected as soon as the materials are delivered on-site, whereas materials such as concrete must be cured at least 1-2 weeks after pouring before construction can continue, making steel a time-economic construction material.

How steel is used in buildings and infrastructure

The possibilities for using steel in buildings and infrastructure are limitless. The most common applications are listed below.

For buildings

  • Structural sections: these provide a strong, stiff frame for the building and make up 25% of the steel used in buildings.
  • Reinforcing bars: these add tensile strength and stiffness to concrete and make up 44% of the steel used in buildings. Steel is used because it binds well to concrete, has a similar thermal expansion coefficient and is strong and relatively cost-effective. Reinforced concrete is also used to provide deep foundations and basements and is currently the world’s primary building material.
  • Sheet products: 31% is in sheet products such as roofing, purlins, internal walls, ceilings, cladding, and insulating panels for exterior walls.
  • Non-structural steel: steel is also found in many non-structural applications in buildings, such as heating and cooling equipment and interior ducting.
  • Internal fixtures and fittings such as rails, shelving and stairs are also made of steel.

For infrastructure

  • Transport networks: steel is required for bridges, tunnels, rail track and in constructing buildings such as fueling stations, train stations, ports and airports. About 60% of the steel used in this application is as rebar and the rest is sections, plates and rail track.
  • Utilities (fuel, water, power): over 50% of the steel used for this application is in underground pipelines to distribute water to and from housing, and to distribute gas. The rest is mainly rebar for power stations and pumping houses.

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