As a country’s economic development advances, so too does the growth of that country’s steel industry. Steel is a crucial element in the infrastructure of all industrialized societies. Before the advent of the Bessemer process to manufacture steel, steel was expensive and was only used when no suitable alternative was available. In Ancient times steel was only used for the cutting edge of knives, swords, razors and other tools in which an extremely sharp and hard edge was required. Springs for clocks and watches also used steel.
As steel became faster and cheaper to produce, it began to be used in many more ways. Long steel is used to manufacture train tracks, structures, wires and reinforcing bars and mesh in reinforced concrete. Flat carbon steel is used to make appliances like refrigerators and washing machines, magnetic cores and the body of cars, trains and large boats. For the past few decades steel has sometimes been replaced with plastic, due to its cheaper price and lighter weight.
Stainless steel is an alloy of iron with 11% chromium. Also known as inox steel from the French word “inoxydable,” stainless steel will not stain, corrode or rust as readily as ordinary steel. Stainless steel is used for cutlery, surgical tools, watches and rulers.
One of the most frequently recycled materials in the world happens to be steel. In the United States it is estimated that at least 83% of steel was recycled as of the year 2008. Cars, containers, appliances and other things are almost always recycled. Steel is a main pillar infrastructure of the economy and should be understood as such.