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Hot-Rolled vs. Cold-Rolled Steel Tubing in Houston

Steel tubing in Houston is what makes many of the structural projects within the area possible. Unlike timber, concrete or other materials, steel tubing is able to withstand conditions that cause other materials to deteriorate. With the proper rust protection, steel tubing can last for decades on end as structural framing for a wide range of buildings. These positive qualities make steel tubing ideal for buildings in areas prone to damaging wind conditions, including cyclones and hurricanes.

Texas Iron & Metal provides a vast selection of metal materials that are specifically designed for the needs of any contractor, regardless of the type of work that’s being done. The most common form of steel production involves passing metal material through a series of rollers, producing flat sheets that are eventually formed into steel tubing for Houston construction firms and contractors. Two methods of rolling determine the steel tubing’s overall strength, as well as it’s desirability for certain projects – cold rolling and hot rolling.

Cold-Rolled Steel

The term “cold rolling” describes the process quite well: steel stock passes through a series of rollers, to be flattened out and reshaped as steel tubing. However, the steel remains at room temperature as it’s processed. A sizable amount of steel tubing in Houston is produced through cold rolling. Since the incoming steel is unable to reach temperatures where the underlying crystalline structure is significantly altered, the steel itself is rendered less susceptible to the issues faced by less-malleable hot steel.

Cold rolled steel tubing delivers the added benefit of work hardening the steel material, giving it the extra strength needed for important structural projects. In addition, the metal is more capable of maintaining tighter tolerances in instances where precision is prized. The process also gives the metal a higher quality surface finish. On the other hand, a significant drawback of cold-rolled steel as a starting point for steel tubing in Houston is its decreased malleability. Since the steel never gets hot enough to be significantly malleable, the end product is usually thicker than its hot-rolled counterpart.  

Hot-Rolled Steel

In contrast, the metal used for hot-rolled steel is already heated well above the needed temperatures for recrystallization. This allows the metal to become exceptionally malleable for significant thickness reduction while minimizing grain deformation and induced stresses during the process. As the final product cools, the metal may experience some residual stress due to non-uniform cooling.

Which to Use?

Both hot-rolled and cold-rolled material for steel tubing offer their own distinct advantages and drawbacks. The ultimate decision should ideally lie with any and all engineering and budget considerations. Texas Iron & Metal is one of the few steel dealers in the area that lets customers preview current steel stocks in their yard prior to purchasing. This insures customers receive the best quality product that meets their specifications and exceeds their expectations.

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