Posted on 08 Feb 2024
Steel is an important material that defines our modern world. It is used in many industries to produce appliances, furniture, cutlery, construction and much more. It has become part of our daily life and has since built the world we know today.
Origin of Steel
Steelmaking techniques and the development of steel alloys play an important role in creating human civilization. It is a versatile material, used in many types of application from construction and manufacturing to transportation and infrastructure. This has become one of the most important materials in the world.
During the early stage of civilisation, meteorites were discovered and the ancient people learnt to melt the elements into steel. As time passed, they had begun to improve their techniques as well.1
The Industrial Revolution
During the industrial revolution, Henry Bessemer developed the Bessemer process, mass-producing steel, faster and more efficient than previous methods.
The process paved way for the construction of railways, bridges, powering the rapid industrialization in the 19th and 20th Centuries.2
1912 is the year stainless steel was invented. Brearley was a British expert in steel. He developed a stainless-steel grade which contained 12.8% chromium. It is a versatile material that is used in consumer goods, infrastructure, transportation, and weapons in the modern world.
The Modern Age of Steel
One of the remarkable changes in the steel industry is the practice of melting the steel scrap for recycling rather than making steel from scratch. Majority of steel is produced in mini-mills. The mini-mills use electric arc furnace such as carbon electrodes to create electric charge to melt metal.3
Steel Rules the World
Can you imagine a world without steel? Our world functions around steel. Great innovations have been created over thousands of years and has since improved the lives of people in the world. From household appliances, building structures, infrastructures, automobiles and more, steel continues to be a major part of our lives.4
Sustainable Future of Steel
Steel industry contributes around 7% of carbon emissions globally.4 The aim is to achieve lower carbon emission. How does steel move towards sustainability? Metallurgist engineers access new electricity-based technologies for smelting metals which can potentially reduce greenhouse gas emissions.5
Green steel is the production through zero carbon energy. Steel makers around the world adopt various methods to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Can steel be green? Usage of electric arc furnace may not be powered by renewable sources where the outcome may not be green.
Changing Environment of the Global Steel Industry
Corporations around the world have been focusing on reducing greenhouse gas emissions by following a strict procedure to reduce air pollution. This may involve restructuring of steel production facilities.6
As the world population continues to grow, the need for goods and services will continue to increase. Society will continue to rely on steel as it is essential for the world to survive and employment opportunities The steel industry will continue to meet challenges. But the goal now is to achieve net zero carbon and we do not seem to have much time left.
Source:- 1,2,3 industrialcoat.com, 2018
4 European Commission, 2022
5 popularmechanics.com, 2023
6 posco.com, 2016