Steel is one of the most common minerals used worldwide.  In fact, over 1.3 billion tons of steel are created each year.  So what exactly is steel?  Steel is an alloy made up of iron and other elements.  The elements that must always be present in steel are aluminum, carbon, manganese, oxygen, nitrogen, phosphorus, silicon, and sulfur.  Carbon is the element in steel that determines the hardness of steel.  The strength, ductility, and hardness qualities of steel can be altered by changing the amount of different elements that make up steel.  The more carbon, the harder the steel will become.  Steel is used for many different applications.  One of the most common applications is construction.  This can include bridges, railways, roads, buildings, etc.  It is also commonly used for aerospace, appliances, and vehicles.

 

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