Steel is a combination of iron and up to 2.11% by mass of carbon. Steel is an alloy, that is, the chemical mixture or synthesis of a metal, in this case iron (Fe), and other elements, in this case carbon.
The word steel derives from the Latin voice aciarium whose root ac indicates something sharp or pointed.
Acero has been used as a synonym for sword due to its etymological origin, for example, in the chorus of the Mexican national anthem where “steel squeeze” refers to enlist the sword.
The term “steel” is used when it is meant that something is hard, resistant and impenetrable such as steel, for example, having nerves of steel or hardening of steel indicates a person who does not lose his temper in an extreme situation.
The expression iron curtain or iron curtain indicates the ideological and political barrier that existed after World War II between the West and the Soviet bloc.
Steel is the product of a chemical synthesis of metals extracted from the earth’s crust. By combining ferrous metals (based on iron) with other elements, steel is obtained which, compared with iron in its natural state, is a better conductor of heat and electricity and more resistant.
The properties of steel depend on its chemical composition and the type of treatment applied. The most important characteristics that all steels share are:
- Hardness: it is difficult to penetrate.
- Resistance: it is able to resist twisting, compression, traction and flexion without deforming.
- Maleabilidad: it supports forces without breaking.
- Ductility: it can be deformed at high temperatures in the form of wires and conductive wires or in thin sheets.
The types of treatment that steels are subjected to enhance some of their properties are:
- Heat treatment: heat application.
- Mechanical treatment: introduction in hot and cold environments.
- Thermochemical treatment: use of chemicals and heat.
- Surface treatment: coatings of other materials.
Types of steel
The types of steels are classified according to their composition. Some of them are:
- Ordinary steel or carbon steel: it is one that is composed only of iron and carbon.
- Special steel: combines iron, carbon and other elements such as aluminum, manganese among others.
- Cast steel or cast iron: it is an alloy that includes silicon or nickel used in pipes and valves, pumps and automotive spare parts thanks to its corrosion resistance of liquids with high pH (neutral and alkaline). It is classified, in turn, in gray cast iron and nodular cast iron.
- Stainless steel: the composition of this steel includes chrome that makes it resistant to corrosion and oxidation. It also has a more attractive appearance as it is polished.
- Fast steel: this type of alloy contains tungsten used to make high speed cutting tools used in factories.