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[Surplus] Steel 101 – Back to the Basics

In today’s blog we are bringing it back to the basics. Why? At this point, we acknowledge that most of us in the steel industry have an encyclopedic knowledge of steel, surplus steel, and everything in between. At Texas Iron and Metal we know that a solid foundation is essential for success. Taking a few moments to revisit the fundamental information that affects every single aspect of our business and yours is an essential element in keeping that foundation strong as steel.

Steel is a true commodity made of iron and less than 2% of carbon. The ratio of carbon to iron dictates the material’s strength. If the carbon content is too low in relation to the iron, the material will likely be prohibitively weak for most industrial applications. Contrarily, if the added carbon percentage is too high, there is a high risk of the material breaking and rusting. Depending on the type and grade of steel being produced, other elements including nickel and chromium may be added to adjust the material’s properties for its intended use. As such, the exact ratios and added elements dictate the metal’s overall composition, and thus the type of steel that is produced. There are many types of steel, but the primary variations are alloy steel, carbon steel, and stainless steel.

Steel is ubiquitous in the manufacturing, construction, and transportation industries for a myriad of reasons, including its strength and durability, corrosion and oxidation resistance, conductivity, overall versatility, and recyclability.

In the twenty-first century, as industrial industries have been tasked with meeting escalating environmental standards and related sustainability initiatives, it is important to note that steel is one of the most recycled materials in the world, as it is inherently 100% recyclable. The most environmental way to recycle steel is through the utilization of surplus steel, or as we call it, Less-Than-Prime© steel (LTP©). Surplus steel is steel that was purchased by a fabricator, manufacturer, or distributor for a specific project, and for one reason or another went unused. The inherent cost savings in buying LTP© cannot be overstated. For example, a construction manager that purchases 20-30% of his material as surplus, versus 100% prime, will experience significant cost savings.   

Steel is everywhere. It is the commodity on which our world heavily depends. You need it; that is fact. You do, however, have options in what and where you acquire the steel that your project requires. One such example is using Less-Than-Prime© (LTP©) steel where appropriate. If bottom line is important to you, give us a call at 713-672-7595.