While other industries are downsizing, steel seems to be here to stay. But why is that? Here are five interesting facts that, we think, go a long way towards explaining why steel has stuck around for as long as it has, and seems to be ready to stick around for many, many, many years to come.
- Close to seventy percent of all steel is recycled in North America every year, placing it well above aluminum, paper, and glass combined, with eighty million tons being recycled annually. This is due to the fact that steel is 1,000 times the strength of iron, so it's easy to recycle it without losing strength.
- As the second largest industry in the world (after oil), steel sees a $900 billion turnover. This allows the industry to employ more than two million people around the world, and the industry is one of the few to have been around since before WWII that is still growing.
- Concrete bridges weigh anywhere from four to eight times as much as steel bridges of the same scale and building techniques are getting more efficient every year. Engineers estimate that where the Golden Gate Bridge is built today that it would require only half the 83,000 tons of steel it took to erect in 1937.
- Steel's flexibility is one of its main draws. It won't crack and break like concrete when subjected to extreme temperature changes. This is why the Eiffel Tower is six inches taller in the Summer than it is in the Winter.
- The computer age doesn't mean that steel is going anywhere. The average computer is actually twenty-five percent steel, and seventy-five percent of all major appliances contain varying amounts of steel. Steel continues to be used in just about every major industry, from energy and construction to housing, transportation, and technology.