The Many Super Properties Of Steel

They don't call him the Man of Steel for nothing. With great abilities comes great preparation, and sure -- he may have hailed from another planet -- but odds are good that Superman did his share of push-ups back in the day. He earned that nickname, Man of Steel, through a process known as tempering. Tempering is a method of making something (or someone) stronger by subjecting it to hardship. In Superman's case, he lost his family, lost his planet and found himself alone without instructions in a foreign world. He went through a type of processing that was designed either to make him or break him, and he came out stronger for it—hence, the nickname, Man of Steel. Apparently, whoever gave Superman his nickname knew all about thermal processing and the benefits of steel, and as someone who's considering a career in construction, you should know all about it too. 

Steel is Lightweight, Yet Strong

Because of how it's made, steel has one of the highest strength-to-weight ratios of any building material. This means it can support more weight while still being relatively lightweight itself. Lighter-weight building materials mean easier handling for you as a member of the construction crew. This translates into lower construction costs, all without compromising the structural integrity of the project. Steel becomes this way, in part, through thermal processing or tempering that makes it less brittle and less subject to breakage. The steel is heated to high temperatures and then allowed to cool, increasing its flexibility. You might not think of steel as a flexible building material, but it is. Otherwise, those immense skyscrapers that tower above most major cities in America would be at risk of snapping in two instead of discreetly swaying under the force of strong winds as they were designed to do.

Steel is Environmentally Friendly 

While the ores that make up steel are gathered through mining -- a process that many would not consider Earth-friendly -- the good news is that steel is highly recyclable. Once a structure has been demolished, the steel can be easily retrieved and smelted down into new products. In fact, steel holds the distinction of being the number-one most recycled product in the world. As of 2012, steel had an overall recycle rate of 88 percent. Even more impressive, steel manufacturers are constantly looking for ways to make the manufacturing and tempering processes safer, greener, and less waste-producing. If you're looking for a career in an industry that cares about the planet, construction is an option that's more than viable. 

For years, steel has been the go-to choice for contractors of projects both big and small. From bridges that span major waterways to that office high rise that you drive past each morning on your way to work or school, steel plays an important role in building the background of America. And just like any other spinal system that's required to perform a diverse number of activities, tempered steel is up to the challenge. It offers strong support. It's flexible enough to move when needed, and it's versatile enough to allow the body of a construction project to conform to nearly any shape or size. 

So as you pursue your career in the construction industry, you can hold your head high. You may have the opportunity to help build a family's dream home, to help construct a hospital for a community that's lacking in medical care or to lend a hand in building the bridge that helps residents evacuate during a crisis -- all with the help of steel. That sort of makes you a little super yourself. Better get your tee shirt ready.