Steel – the most interesting metal in the world? Perhaps. Well, at least we think so, and we are sure there are many other steel nerds out there just like us. Why is steel the most interesting metal in the world?
Here are just 25 of our favourite interesting facts about steel:
1. In 2012, over 6.4 million tonnes of steel was used in the US alone. That’s about 18 kg of steel per person. Considering that steel is actually a lightweight metal, this is an incredible volume of steel.
2. Also in 2012, a man illegally dumped 100 tonnes of iron sulphate off a Canadian coast to encourage the growth of a particular type of plankton that can absorb carbon dioxide in the air. The act was the largest geo-engineering project ever performed.
3. Steel is recyclable and can be recycled over and over without losing integrity.
4. Steel could save your life if you’re in a car accident. And no, not just because your vehicle is reinforced by the lightweight strength of steel, but because there is steel present in your seatbelt that enables it to withstand incredible force.
5. Steel is man-made, right? But iron oxide is actually found in the armour of a sea snail.
6. In Russia, there is a mountain made almost entirely of iron ore.
7. Feeling tired or lethargic? Try cooking in a cast iron pot. Using cast iron can increase the content of iron in your food by over 800%.
8. The Bronze Age gave way to the Iron Age, because iron was easier to find and work with.
9. In Canada, it is a tradition for engineers to wear a steel ring on their pinky finger to remind them of the obligations of their profession.
10. The hull of the Titanic is still intact, but within 50 years, increases in the quantity of iron-eating bacteria will collapse the remaining structure.
11. Speaking of bacteria, a particular type can ingest iron, convert it and use it as a backbone to allow it to travel along magnetic fields. Now, that’s a superpower.
12. The earth may have as little as a century worth of iron left for steel.
13. Scientists have identified a planet with enough iron to fuel consumption for millions of years.
14. During nuclear testing in Los Alamos, a two-tonne steel manhole cover was shot into the air by accident. It was never found.
15. Australians have loved steel since Ned Kelly and his gang smithed steel armour to fend off police in 1880.
16. 24 tonnes of steel were salvaged from the World Trade Centre in New York and used to build the USS New York, commemorating the victims of 9/11.
17. Popeye ate spinach and was strong because of the iron content.
18. The iron content of spinach was miscalculated due to a misplaced decimal point. It’s not that high in iron.
19. Steel was used as a prosthetic as early as 1504 when a knight made a new arm that could grasp a feather or a sword.
20. Iron is the sixth most common element in the universe.
21. Steel is made by removing impurities from iron.
22. Steel’s first major demand came from the railroads.
23. Steel has been around for a long time, but over 75% of modern steel has been developed in the past three decades.
24. Stainless steel is actually already corroded by chromium, which stops it rusting.
25. The amount of energy required to produce steel has been halved in the past 50 years.
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