Steel Alternative for Structural Materials

There are many different types of structural materials used in construction including wood, steel, concrete, and masonry. Steel is the most commonly used construction material, owing mostly to its high strength-to-weight ratio and ductility. However, there are some downsides to steel such as its susceptibility to rust and corrosion. Here we will explore some of the key disadvantages of steel as a structural material and outline some of the materials that can be used as a steel alternative.

Steel Alternatives Should be Resistant to Rust and Corrosion

Steel is notorious for rusting, turning a dark brown or red color when left out in the open for too long. Steel is particularly bad for rusting when it is used in acidic or salty environments and in such environments a steel alternative would be appropriate for structural materials. Steel structural materials require regular maintenance which can be time-consuming and costly.

As a steel alternative, fiberglass has the benefit of being entirely corrosion-resistant. This is owing to Strongwell’s “wet-out” process ensuring complete reinforcement saturation.

Steel is a Good Conductor of Heat

Steel is an excellent conductor of energy which can be beneficial in some circumstances. However, as a structural material, it is a disadvantage. If the material absorbs heat and comes into contact with easily combustible materials, fires can break out. Steel can be fireproofed; however, this incurs additional costs.

Steel Buckles Under Pressure

Steel can have many impurities due to manufacturing inconsistencies and sourcing.. In some instances, cracking may occur at the subsurface levels and eventually grow as loading occurs.

Fiberglass is a higher strength building material on a per weight basis, is less brittle than steel, and still offers an extremely high compression strength.

Steel Leaves Little Room for Changes

Fiberglass, wood, and concrete can all be easily fabricated on-site. However, steel usually comes prefabricated meaning that in the event of measurement errors it is difficult to correct them. Construction will often have to be stalled to make the changes required.

Steel Alternatives are Often More Cost-Effective

The cost of steel construction varies, ranging from affordable to extremely expensive. In the construction industry, using fiberglass as a structural material can initially seem fairly costly. However, the savings via reduced construction timelines, reduced skilled labor required for fabrication/installation, and lack of maintenance and repair costs make fiberglass a sound investment.

Steel Alternatives for Structural Materials from Strongwell

Strongwell manufactures high-quality fiberglass structural materials to use as a steel alternative. If you would like to find out more about structural materials for your application, get in touch with Strongwell today.