While the long-term impact of the recent steel tariffs is unknown, we here at GCES recognize that there will be an impact on nearly every company we do business with. With so much confusion, and bias, around this hot topic, we created the below article to help break it down a little.
What is steel?
Carbon steel, which accounts for 90% of all steel production, is an alloy that occurs when iron is combined with carbon. It also contains small quantities of silicon, phosphorus, sulfur and oxygen. The iron that makes steel is the 4th most abundant element, making up about 5% of the earth’s crust. It is removed from crust in the form of an ore; the iron is then extracted from the ore by a process known as smelting. Smelting, simply put, happens when you apply heat to an ore, to extract the base metal. Once the smelted iron is combined with carbon, steel is formed. Although steel is made of predominantly iron, it contains 0.03% and 1,075% (depending on grade) carbon, which alone, iron does not. This addition of carbon improves the physical chemical properties of the iron, making it a desirable metal. On top of the physical properties that make steel so versatile, and desirable, it is also considered to be infinitely recyclable. This means it can be melted down, and reused, as many times as needed, without limit.
Because of its high strength, and relatively low cost, steel is one of the most sought after building materials in the world. Used to make everything from weapons, infrastructure, and buildings, to home appliances and automobiles, the steel industry is expected to reach $1.01 trillion in revenue by 2025. [Read more…]