The world isn’t short of amazing steel structures, from skyscrapers to bridges. All of them are incredible feats of engineering and architecture worth a second look. Their existence proves that there’s still an indomitable admiration in the durability and workability of steel as a building material. Moreover, companies like commercial steel coil manufacturers and steel service providers continue to be in business due to the constant demand for the metal.
A look at some of the world’s most famous structures may yield interesting bits of information. For instance, how do these steel behemoths stay up in the first place?
Golden Gate Bridge
The now iconic suspension bridge in San Francisco is an example of steel’s versatility as a building material. The construction of the Golden Gate Bridge spanned four years from 1933 to 1937. The bridge is 9,150 feet long, 90 feet wide, and 220 feet above the water’s surface at its highest point. Overall, the mammoth structure used 83,000 tons of steel in total.
How the bridge stays up is an incredible feat. It’s held up by cables strung from two main towers, called anchorages. Vertical suspender ropes attach to each main cable, which holds the roadway in place. It’s all about clever weight distribution: the anchorages, main cables, and suspender ropes combine to bear the weight of the bridge. If you take away even one of these three main components, the bridge will collapse.
Currently the world’s tallest skyscraper at 2,716 feet (160 stories), Burj Khalifa relies on a combination of reinforced concrete and steel. It contains about 31,400 tons of steel reinforcement to keep it upright. To put it in perspective, that amount of steel, if put in a rod, can wrap ¼ of the way around the earth.
It’s an impressive amount of steel used in a clever way. Designers of the Burj Khalifa claim that the hymenocallis flower is their inspiration. The flower has three elements arranged around a central core, which provides incredible stability for the building’s size. It also allows more floor area for the interiors.
Unless engineers and scientists discover a new metal that can rival steel in affordability, durability, and versatility, steel remains the raw material of choice.