Fun Facts about Structural Steel and what you may not know!
Steel is a rather diverse material, and we could spend years talking about the variety of uses and why and how it is made. However, just for fun today, let's talk about things you may not know. Steel is a low-carbon alloy typically made from tin, carbon and, of course, iron. Due to its ability to withstand heat, tremendous pressure and its corrosion resistance (chromium oxide, an inorganic compound), steel is prevalent in fabrication and across a myriad of industries.
Did you know?
Did you know that in the United States, more than 67 percent of steel is recycled every year! That is more than aluminum, plastic, aluminum, and glass combined. That accounts for approximately 80 million tons in the US alone. And, we all know that steel can withstand a great deal of weight because it is about 1,000 times stronger than iron in its purest state and that even when recycled it has no loss of strength.
Steel is used in renewable energy – in hydro, solar, and wind power. And, did you know that since the 2nd World War, the steel industry in North America has reduced its energy use by as much as 60 percent and what that means is a reduction in the generation of carbon dioxide.
Steel is the second largest industry in the world, after oil and gas, with close to a trillion-dollar turnover. It is used in nearly every sector from construction and housing (#1 use), packing and machinery, tankers, energy, and, in the automotive and transportation industry. After Japan and China, the United States is the third-largest producer of steel, and it employs more than two million people around the world, and it is increasing each year.
Steel is used in the construction of bridges, but did you know that these bridges are four to eight times lighter than bridges made from concrete! The first skyscraper to use steel was built in 1884 in Chicago. But did you also know, that the Empire State Building is designed to be dissembled or assembled easily? And, because steel expands when heated, the Eiffel Tower is taller in summer than it is in winter! Most major appliances are made with steel, and with the increased demand for Stainless Steel appliances, we can see how popular and durable this material is. How about your computer, did you know that chips and other interior components are comprised of steel?
In the United States alone, more than 600 cans of steel are recycled every second, and that by recycling just one can we save enough energy to power a lightbulb for four years (60-watt). Many of us rarely think about these things in our daily comings and goings. However, steel has versatility, sustainability, renewability, and contributes to the world in more ways than the economy.
Steel is an essential part of how we build. Whether you are making a swing set or constructing a building, Spirit Metals can help! At Spirit, our goal is to understand the needs of your business, your project, and your budget. We partner with you to achieve those goals. Call us today at 813-444-2022 or email, and one of our dedicated team members will assist you!
What is the difference between Pipe and Tubing?
So what is the difference between pipe and tubing? And, if you need tubing, are you looking for ERW or DOM? Pipe and tubing specs vary, so it is essential to know the difference when ordering pipe versus tubing; but also, are you looking for ERW and DOM tube?
Pipe versus Tubing
A pipe has a variety of uses from plumbing to structural applications, but also bollards are made from pipe. Standard carbon steel pipe is offered in 20, 21, 40 and 42' lengths and ordered by the ID or inside diameter and wall thickness. Often referred to as black pipe, it can be galvanized or blasted and primed to specification. For example, if you need a 1-1/2” SCH40 pipe, your NPS (nominal pipe size) is always the OD which will be larger than the ID. In this example, your OD is 1.900”, your ID is 1.610” and the wall thickness will be 0.145 (or just over 9/64”).
Tubing, on the other hand, is measured by the OD or outside diameter and wall thickness. So in the case of 1-1/2” OD, the wall thickness will be lighter, and your ID will be 1.232 (or just shy of 15/64”). Many structures will call for tubing versus pipe because tubing can cost less, be easier to install and maintain. Pipe and tubing are distinctly different in not just how and when they are used, but in how they are made.
DOM tube or Drawn Over Mandrel
If you are looking for DOM tube, Spirit Metals can help. DOM stands for Drawn Over Mandrel and refers to the process in which it is made. It is easily welded and fabricated, has a superior tensile and yield strength, and has limitless size possibilities. DOM tubing is a high-quality welded tube and is cold worked and drawn over mandrel to create dimensional accuracy and a smooth surface. The interior seam is removed to create a tube that has a uniform concentricity and wall thickness. This process allows for enhanced mechanical properties, and It is formed from SAE 1020 or 1026 steel; it has a composition of carbon, sulfur, manganese, and phosphorous. DOM tube is found in race cars and as roll bars in buggies, shift levers, hydraulic cylinders, auto and truck axles, as well as many other machining applications. When your plans call for a specific OD, you can be sure that tubing is what you need.
ERW tube or Electric Resistance Welded
ERW tubing is hot-rolled and refers to the specific process of welding that involves both seam and spot welding. Also, it will have a welded joint in the cross-section. It is easier to form, and the dimensions are not as uniform as it is with DOM tube. If you do not need DOM or seamless tube, this is a good option.
There are many options to choose from when deciding between pipe and tubing, so like anything in this industry, it’s essential to know what is passing through the material (if anything) and what are the tolerance needs for your application.
Pipe and tube are a regular part of our daily life, even if you cannot see it. Whatever your need, Spirit Metals can help! Our primary goal is to understand the needs of your business, your project, and your budget! We pride ourselves in partnering with our customers to achieve those goals. Call us today at 813-444-2022 or email us, and one of our dedicated team members will assist you!
What is the difference between standard A36, AR, and ABS Plate?
Your project calls for steel plate, but when you call your supplier, they ask, "are you looking for A36, AR, or ABS plate?” Here we will discuss the differences and when your project may call for AR plate over ABS or standard plate. However, keep in mind there are various ASTM classifications. As always, it depends on the industry you are in and the application of the material. When in doubt always refer to your plans or the industry-specific standard.
Most standard projects will call for A36 grade plate. It is used for base plates, stiffener plates, flanges, and other structural applications. From plate, you can cut to spec flat bar, or if you need a piece of angle and it isn’t offered, you can form it from plate to meet your needs. The most common applications are in commercial and standard construction. However, steel plate has a wide variety of applications outside of building such as marine and offshore equipment, pressure vessels, and military use.
Plate thickness’ start at 3/16” and can go as thick as ten inches. Standard plate sizes that are 48" x 96" and 60" x 120". However, steel plate can be purchased in sizes as large as 120" x 480". At Spirit Metals, we work with the mills on all custom sizes to meet your project needs.
Spirit Metals offers plates in all sizes and alloys, as needed. If you are looking for road plate, we can provide you with custom sizes and widths. Not sure, contact us today, and we are happy to do the leg work for you and provide a comprehensive quote.
Many people ask what is AR plate and why would I need that over the standard A36 or A572? AR plate is a high carbon alloy plate. AR stands for Abrasion Resistant and will come in designations like AR400 or AR500 and usually offered as-rolled versus normalized (AR 200, 235 and 600 are also available). When a project calls for AR plate, it is generally because of the length of wear on the plate is minimized. For instance, you would not need AR plate to create base plates at the bottom of a structural column. However, if you are building a gun range or want a piece of hardy steel plate for target practice, you will want the AR plates for their long wear and life cycle. In some cases, AR 500 plate is cut to spec and used in bulletproof vests, but you want to make sure that your material meets the safety standard requirements. The hardness range of AR400 plate is 360-440 BHN (Brinell Hardness), and AR500 has a BHN rating of 550.
ABS plate is used quite explicitly in the maritime industry and is certified by the American Bureau of Shipyards. It is the material used in hulls, and other structural parts of a ship, in barges, offshore drilling platforms, and different types of marine equipment. It comes in a variety of grades including grades DH an AH, which are normalized to improve its rigor. It comes in thicknesses as thin as a ¼” and up to 3”, and standard sizes can be cut from larger stock sizes of 96” x 240” or 120” x 480”.
Plate steel is a normal part of our world, it is found on roadway projects, or as supports to the structural steel in your home or business. Whatever your need, Spirit Metals can help! Our primary goal is to understand the needs of your business, your project, and your budget, and partner with you to achieve those goals. Call us today at 813-444-2022 or email, and one of our dedicated team members will assist you!
Do you know the history of Labor Day?
Each year in the United States, the first Monday of September, we celebrate Labor Day! But how many of us understand the reason why or its importance? Most of us welcome the opportunity to sleep in an extra day. Or spend time with family and friends having barbeques, outdoor picnics, fireworks, and other activities to celebrate this national holiday. It is our annual celebration of the contributions of workers and the achievements made throughout history. But there is more to the story!
In the late 19th century of this country, as our nation was at the height of the Industrial Revolution, workers in America worked on average 12 hours a day and worked all seven days of the week. Ouch! But back then it was a necessity to make a basic living. While some states had restrictions on child labor, it did little to prohibit children as young as five or six from working in factories, mills, and mines throughout the country.
To make matters worse, these children earned but a fraction of their adult counterparts. Immigrants and the very poor faced conditions that by today’s standards would have all of us seeking legal counsel. They met such things as unsanitary conditions, poor air quality (or access to fresh air, as in the mines) and, well breaks were just non-existent.
The more industrialized we became, agriculture no longer was the leading source for income, and labor unions became more vocal and subsequently more active. They began organizing themselves. By exercising their right to free speech, protests were an outcry to the deplorable conditions in which they worked, day in and day out, as well as a venue in which to negotiate better pay and hours. These were not like the peaceful protests of the 60’s when peace and love were the mantras of the masses. They often became violent, like the Haymarket Riot of 1886 where several people, including police officers, were killed.
However, while many chose to riot, others took to a tradition. In New York City, the first Labor Day parade was held on September 5th, 1882. At least ten thousand workers, using unpaid time from work, marched from City Hall to Union Square. Known as the “Working Man’s Holiday” other industrial areas throughout the country followed suit. While some states passed the legislation recognizing Labor Day on the first Monday in September, it would not become a recognized holiday until 12 years later, voted by Congress, in 1894. To learn more about Labor Day and the history of the men, women, and children that sacrificed their lives and health in the early years of our nation’s history, visit https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/labor-day-1.
So today, as you celebrate with families, friends, and co-workers over hotdogs and burgers or celebrate doing absolutely nothing; be mindful that those that came before us. Lift your glass of sweet tea or a nice cold one and be grateful for those who sacrificed before us.
Today, our country celebrates you, the men and women of this great nation who do not just work for a paycheck but who contribute to the growth of these United States of America. And remember, regardless of whether you sweep floors or are the leader in Fortune 500 company, you make a difference.
Here at Spirit Metals, we wish to thank you for your contributions, to our country. You are critical to our continued success as a nation, we value you, and we hold dear the importance of your labor. Our goal is to serve the needs of our customer's needs on every level. We believe that partnering with or customers in every way allows us all to be successful. Contact us today via email or call us at 813-444-2022 – let us quote your next project!
Your project calls for beams, but you are not sure of whether to get I or H-Beams (H-beams also referred to as wide flange). Today we will discuss the differences and the telltale signs that you have an I-beam or an H-beam. Visit our site today and there are charts that help you in deciding what beam will be best for your next project!
Our customers often tell us that the beams they have seen look like an I or an H when set on its side. How can you tell if you are looking at an I-beam over an H-beam? The differences in how they look are subtle, so knowing what to look for and how you plan to use it is beneficial. Typically, I-beams are used to support trusses and in the framework of buildings. Beams, in general, are structural supports and ensure structural integrity as they provide tremendous strength.
When you are looking at these two types of beams on their side, an I-beam has smaller flanges and tapered edges. An I-beam that is S8 @ 18.4# will have a depth of section that is 8 inches with a flange width of 4.001 inches with a web thickness of .271 (a little more than a ¼ of an inch). And it weighs 18.4 pounds per foot. I-Beams are limited in their available sizes, whereas the H-beam is available in hundreds of sizes.
Spirit Metals offers I-beams in carbon and stainless steel, as well as aluminum and Corten. Your structural plans will call out the right beams for your project, so contact us today for a comprehensive quote.
An H-beam gets its name because over its cross-section it looks like a capital H and has a wider flange(s). Often referred to as WF or wide flange beams, H-beams are used in the bridge construction, buildings, cranes, truck trailers and in a wide variety of other applications. Like the I-beam, H-beams are measured very similarly, and it is crucial to know what your load capacity is. Knowing the depth of section and pounds per foot is an essential element when requesting a quote for any beam. Wide flange beams come in a variety of sizes, lengths, and pounds per foot.
Beams are offered in A572*, A588, A709, and A992, all of which should be called out in your plan’s structural notes. The standard when ordering these WF beams will almost always be A992
*A572 is a multi-grade that covers a variety of alloys and grades
H-piles are used in bridge construction, heavy highway repair and builds, marine, and other deep foundation applications. These beams are dimensionally square and add support and stiffness to sheet pile walls and foundations. If you are looking for H-pile, I or H beams, be assured Spirit Metals has what you are looking for!
Beams are an essential part of how we build. Whether you are making a crane hoist or constructing a building, Spirit Metals can help! Our primary goal is to understand the needs of your business, project, and budget; to partner with you to achieve those goals. Call us today at 813-444-2022 or email, and one of our dedicated team members will assist you!