Advantages of Steel Construction
Durability of Steel Construction
Steel construction has some important advantages that makes it favorable in the construction industry. One of the most important advantages of steel construction is its durability. The durability of steel is that much important because human life is affected by the durability of constructions made of steel and further repairments of constructions may be costly. In ‘Steel Construction’ website, one of the leading online sources about steel production, it is claimed that “Steel-framed structures are highly durable and do not age or decay as quickly as other construction materials, lasting longer before refurbishment is required. Buildings that can be easily adapted, avoid costly and environmentally harmful demolition and redevelopment. Steel’s inherent adaptability and flexibility also means that future changes or extensions – even vertically – can be carried out with minimal disruption and cost” (The Case for Steel, 2010).
The durability of steel can be analyzed in terms of different aspects such as corrosion resistance, mold resistance, vermin resistance and lastly dimensional stability. The first key factor about the durability of steel is the corrosion resistance. Steel can be used for a longer time interval without requiring any extra operations than the other construction materials such as concrete and this statement is supported by the experiment results as “laboratory and field exposure tests on steel structures built to industry standard practices demonstrate excellent service life” (Corrosion Resistance, no date).In addition to its resistance to corrosion, steel is very good in terms of mold resistance and this property of steel is stated as “Steel framing is resistant to mold since it is inorganic and does not provide a food source for mold to grow” (Corrosion Resistance, no date). As steel do not let moisture to enter inside it, no contractions and expansions occur in steel and this makes it durable. Thirdly, vermin resistance is another key factor for steel’s durability. The vermin resistance of steel comes from the inorganic structure of it which is the same reason with the corrosion resistance. Lastly, steel’s dimensional stability also makes steel a durable construction material. Steel cannot be bent, cracked and etc. easily because of its metallic structure. The hardness of cracking steel is explained as “Steel is isotropic, meaning it has the same dimensional properties in all directions. Since there is no “grain,” the strength of steel is the same up and down, side-to-side, and in all loading directions” (Corrosion Resistance, no date).
Workability of Steel Construction
Another advantage of steel construction is the workability of steel. There have been several researches about the workability of steel in the construction industry and one of those studies compares the workability of steel fiber and polypropylene fiber and the study concludes as “From the results of the workability tests for SCC and HyFRSCC, it can be concluded that SF had greater role in reducing the flowing ability and passing ability of the SCC in contrast to PPF which may be due to smaller diameter subsequently larger surface area and light weight of SF that demands high paste content in the SCC” (Syal Tarun, 2013). As seen in the quotation, the research favors steel fiber in constructions as it has a good workability rank with a light weight. In addition to the workability, steel is used for compressive strength in the constructions as mentioned in the article with experimental evidence; “A maximum compressive strength for 7 and 28 days has been observed to be 24.12 and 34.6kN/m2 for 75% SF and 25% PPF with total volume fraction of 0.5% which indicates greater contribution of SF in strength enhancement” (Syal Tarun, 2013).
In addition to this, Dietter Stolle also mentions about the workability of steel in constructions in his article named “Workability and Strength Properties of Steel Fiber Reinforced Concrete”. The writer uses the use of steel in concrete in order to increase the workability of the whole construction. Stolle concludes his article as “Research on steel fiber reinforced concrete has shown that although the composite has great potential as a superior pavement material, the actual improvement performance is very much dependent on the workability of steel fiber concrete” (Stolle, 1979). This quotation from the conclusion part of the article is another proof of steel’s workability.
Disadvantages of Steel Construction
Steel is one of the mostly used materials in the construction industry. It is used a lot because it has some notable advantages for the companies in the construction industry. Even it has several advantages, like every other material, steel has some disadvantages too. These disadvantages are the high amount of cost and fire resistance.
High Amount of Cost of Steel Construction
Compared to concrete, steel is a lot costlier. The costs of steel have been rising while the selling price of mixed concrete does not rise that much. Jana J. Madsen states that “It’s true: Prices of construction materials have spiked. However, the cost of ready-mix concrete remains relatively stable” (Madsen, 2005). Even steel is a more last-longing material for constructions, it has a disadvantage on the other hand in terms of the price levels and so the companies in the construction industry should be aware of that fact as well.
In addition to being costlier than concrete, steel has some additional maintenance costs which are not needed for concrete and these maintenance costs may be a burden for the constructions in terms of financial issues. There may be some rusting problems in steel which needs to repaired and the paints that prevents steel from rusting and increases the resistance of steel in harsh conditions. are considerably high and it becomes an additional cost for the constructions.
Fire Resistance of Steel Construction
In addition to the disadvantage of steel compared to concrete in terms of the cost issue, steel is not favorable for the fire resistance concerns as well. The first aim of a construction is to prevent any hazardous situation for the people living in it and so this makes steel very disadvantageous compared to concrete. The strength of steel decreases to half of its full strength if it stays in a fire of approximately 700 centigrade degrees while concrete is very resistance to fire. It is stated that “Experts acknowledge that steel can soften and melt with exposure to extremely high temperatures” (Madsen, 2005). The softening of steel has resulted in very dangerous situations in real life as well one of which is told as “While recent reports issued by the National Institute of Standards and Technology blame the reduced structural integrity of steel for the collapse of the WTC towers, the jet-fueled fires are to blame” (Madsen, 2005). So, steel constructions are not very safe when they are exposed to high degrees of fire and this makes steel very disadvantageous.
To conclude, steel is one of the mostly used construction materials. It has several advantages and disadvantages. The advantages of steel are its high level of workability and durability which makes it very last-longing but on the other hand it has some disadvantages such as being less resistant to fire compared to concrete and being much costlier than concrete materials.