The United States produced 1,742,000 net tons of raw steel this week alone. About half of this steel will be used in construction as it is robust and cost-effective. Steel has long been a staple of the United States economy and will continue to do so by the looks of it.
Despite the pandemic and supply chain disruptions, the steel industry is as strong as ever. In a fast-changing world, steel is adapting and evolving just as fast. Continue reading below to learn more about the future of the steel industry.
Zero Slag Process
The steel industry is committed to keeping pace with environmentally-safe practices. One way they can do this is by reducing or eliminating slag from steel production.
Slag is a waste product produced from dephosphorization, the removal of phosphorous from steel. While some steel slag can be recycled, most of it is disposed of in a landfill.
Some countries, including Japan, have been working towards a zero-slag production process in recent years. This involves limiting the amount of silicon and allowing lime to react with the phosphorus oxides. In this way, dephosphorization can be initiated without producing slag.
ero-slag, zero-waste steel production is more sustainable and will bring steel production to the next level.
Innovations in Recycling
Steel is already highly recyclable, being the most recycled material on earth. Recycling just one car’s worth of steel can offset the greenhouse gas equivalent of 300 gallons of gas.
Even so, there is room for improvement. For example, the steel industry can improve the recycling process by reducing copper concentrations in steel.
With the same materials but different heating and alloying processes, researchers can make more robust steel, but sometimes at the expense of flexibility.
However, through a new process called grain-boundary delamination, it is possible to make stronger steel than traditional steel while maintaining its flexibility. Because this more robust steel uses many of the same materials, it costs the same.
Steel in Space
Steel is headed to space. For decades steel has been the go-to choice for building rockets and is a standard metal in the International Space Station. Because steel performs better at high temperatures than carbon fiber, it is perfect for rocket construction.
Steel in Cars
Steel will continue to dominate the car-manufacturing business. Although other metals, like carbon fiber, may be lighter, they are also more expensive and harder to repair and replace.
The Future Is Bright for the Steel Industry
Steel is a renewable resource worthy of space travel. The steel industry is strengthening, creating more flexible, recyclable, sustainable, and reliable steel. For more information, contact us today.