Steel was first developed about 4,000 years ago by blending iron and carbon. Over the centuries, engineers have found several uses for steel. Today, mild steel sheet metal is one of the most commonly used alloys in making bridges, weapons, vehicles, and machines.
The Strength of Mild Steel Sheet Metal
Regular steel usually has a tensile strength between 50,800 psi (350 MPa) and 60,900 psi (420 MPa). This level of tensile strength makes it possible for steel to support the weight of traffic moving over a bridge or the people and equipment inside a building.
In the United States, structural steel with an ultimate tensile strength of 58,000 psi is known as A36 steel. This specific type of structural steel is usually sold in shapes used to create buildings and infrastructure, including:
- Angle irons
Fabricators can control the tensile strength of steel by changing the amount of iron and carbon present in the alloy. Using more intense heat during fabrication can also give the steel more strength.
Other Properties of Regular Steel
Steel is valued for more than its strength. For instance, steel with high levels of carbon is often used as decoration. Although too brittle to use as structural support, the darkly colored steel has a unique, attractive aesthetic.
Steel is also a relatively poor conductor for electricity, which makes the alloy useful for constructing buildings and other objects that protect people from electric shock.
The Price of Regular Steel
The price of steel has grown over the last few years. In July of 2016, a pound of steel had a price of about $2,500. In July 2018, the price was a little more than $4,180.
Several economic factors influence the price of steel. During 2017 and 2018, tariffs have had the biggest influence on metal prices. Steel prices skyrocketed in the U.S. when President Donald Trump’s administration announced that it would impose tariffs on steel imported from Canada, Mexico, and the European Union.
Tariffs impose an added percentage to the cost of metals being imported into the country. With free trade, companies located in other countries can often sell steel at lower prices than American companies. Adding tariffs inflates the cost of imported steel to encourage American manufacturers to choose steel forged within the U.S.
Steel: Still the Backbone of the Nation!
Despite price issues, steel's numerous applications make it an important metal around the world today.
At Blackstone Advanced Technologies, we specialize in custom sheet steel fabrication to meet the needs of several industries, including construction and military.
To learn more about other materials popular in sheet metal fabrication, check out these companion articles:
- Stainless Steel Sheet Metal: Everything You Need to Know
- Galvanized Steel Sheet Metal: Everything You Need to Know