This October has been all about pumpkins. Pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin beer. The list goes on and on, so we wanted to create a “Leveltek” Halloween list full of festive steel, metal and iron decorations.
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imagesSteel and iron are important materials in our modern society. Some people may actually interchange the two, but steel and iron are very different. Iron is an element, while steel is an alloy made up of both iron and carbon. An alloy is just a mixture of two or more elements, generally two or more metallic, or one metallic and one nonmetallic. Other elements can be added to steel to create products with different characteristics. Stainless steel is comprised of steel and chromium; this product doesn’t rust and is very durable. Other elements that can be added to steel are silicon and manganese. By adding these other elements, one can control the strength, ductility, and hardness of steel.
Steel is the main product used in construction, as it is much stronger than iron and has better compression and tension characteristics. Iron that contains more than 2% carbon is called pig iron. But iron that contains less than 2% carbon is steel. Pure iron is very soft and susceptible to rust when in contact with moist air, making it unsuitable to be used in construction or in making utensils, cookware, or many other products. Steel, in comparison, can be up to 1000 times harder than pure iron, hence its widespread use in manufacturing many products we use today.
Although steel is much stronger than iron, it is still very malleable and thus able to be manipulated to create certain shapes. Because of it’s properties, it is the most common alloy used today. It is used for manufacturing weapons, vehicles, tools, buildings, and more. One famous building, the Eiffel Tower, was constructed from puddle iron, which is an iron alloy with very low carbon levels. If it was built today though, it would likely be made of steel.
An important form of iron is that found in our bodies. It is used to carry oxygen to the body in the form of hemoglobin. Many foods we eat are rich in iron such as red meat, tofu, beans, and fish. People who are iron deficient can take iron pills, to ensure that they don’t suffer from fatigue and weakness which is common in those with low iron levels. Vegetarians are among those most at risk for iron deficiency.
As you can see, there are many differences between iron and steel. Steel is comprised of iron and carbon, it is malleable, and has a greater strength than pure iron. Iron was very common before steel production became cheap. Today steel is used in manufacturing many products and for constructing bridges, railroads, buildings, and more. So next time someone confuses steel and iron, you can explain just how different they are.
UnknownOur modern infrastructure is possible thanks to steel. You may not realize it, but most everything we use today is comprised of steel. In the early days of transportation we relied on steel for the railroads. Now our cars, trucks, buses, and ships are made using steel. 
Electricity comes to our house through steel power lines and the power plants creating this energy are also made of the material. Our military relies on steel for battleships and aircraft carriers. 
Our homes contain tons of steel items. Most of our appliances have steel in them like fridges, ovens, and laundry machines. Forks, knives, spoons can also be made of steel. Even our food can come packaged in steel cans. group-stainless-steel-kitchen-items-13989128
Next time you’re at the hospital or doctor’s office, take a look around. Most of the surgical instruments used today are made of top quality steel. 

Steel is all around us!

10443310_672801599463694_4872253459980714572_nDid you know Americans use 100 million steel cans each day? That’s according to During that same day, more than 67 million cans are recycled by steel companies throughout North America. 

You may not realize it but we rely on steel packaging for our food to be durable. In fact, it may surprise you that you probably use at least one steel can ever day. While people call them tin cans, metal cans or aluminum cans, most food cans are truly made of steel. 

Steel cans package a variety of products including fruits, vegetables, soups, sauces, meats, juice, pet food, cleaning products, shoe polish, paint and coffee. But, steel cans are also good for recycling. 

More steel is recycled each year than paper, pastil aluminum and glass combined. When steel is recycled, it conserves energy, natural resources as well as making the process more financially sustainable. 

Read more about recycling steel and why it starts with you in the home below: 

How do you prepare steel cans for recycling? 
Once steel cans are used, make sure there is no remaining food in the can by rinsing it out. Place the steel lid inside the can as well since both can be recycled. If your community recycling program accepts empty steel aerosol cans or empty steel paint cans, they should accept these cans as recyclable materials as well. (Check your local recycling program about steel with the Steel Recycling Locator.) Just make sure the container is empty.

How do communities collect steel cans for recycling programs? 
Through curbside collection, drop-off sites or multi-material buyback recycling centers. In some communities, household refuse may be sent to a resource recovery facility (or waste-to-energy facility), where steel cans are automatically removed for recycling by magnets. This means that the steel cans are magnetically separated and recycled even when they’re placed in the trash. However, not every city has this type of service so it’s encouraged to place your steel household products in the recycling bin every time.

Where else might steel containers be collected for recycling? 
Anywhere they are used. On-site recycling programs may be established at restaurants, hotels, hospitals, and many other establishments that have foodservice facilities.

What happens to steel cans after they are collected? 
A recycling truck takes the steel cans and other materials from the curbside, drop-off site or buyback center and hauls them to a material recovery facility (MRF). At the MRF, the steel cans are magnetically separated from the other recyclables, crushed into large cubes called bales, and then shipped to steel mills or foundries for recycling. The steel cans are then combined with other steel scrap from other recycling locations, taken to a steel mill and melted in a furnace to make new steel for many new steel products which can include automobiles, appliances, construction materials or another container.

While many packaging materials have to be “downcycled” into lesser products, steel can be continuously recycled into any common steel product without a loss of quality.

What other steel products are recycled? 
Many steel products are recycled every day. Steel from appliancesautomobilesand construction materials is routinely recycled. Each year, more than 80 percent of the steel the domestic industry produces is recycled. That’s a lot of steel!

What does it mean to “buy recycled?” 
The term “buy recycled” refers to ways that you can help keep steel’s infinite life cycle a continual loop through buying products that are made of recycled materials. All steel contains a minimum of 25% recycled material so when you buy a steel product, whether it’s a paper clip, an appliance or a steel-framed home, you can be sure you’re “buying recycled.”

What are the benefits of recycling steel? 
Recycling steel helps save landfill space while providing a valuable scrap resource to the steel industry. Using old steel to make new steel also preserves natural resources and energy. For every ton of steel recycled, 2,500 pounds of iron ore, 1,400 pounds of coal and 120 pounds of limestone are conserved. And in a year, the steel industry conserves the equivalent energy to power about 18 million homes for 12 months or enough to provide the city of Los Angeles power for roughly eight years.


Steel may seem like a standard material in skyscrapers, office buildings, schools, and big retail stores, but it can be manipulated to create intricate structures and architectural wonders. Check out these eye-catching buildings created with structural steel:


1) Nascar Hall of Fame | Charlotte, North Carolina

Nascar Hall of Fame


Steel trusses are used to achieve significant spans in the project:

  • A set of trusses spanning 175 feet achieve a grand column-free ballroom
  • A 100-foot-long, bi-level footbridge, supported by a pair of one-story-deep trusses, links the ballroom with the existing Charlotte Convention Center
  • Two- and three-story-high trusses cantilever 30 feet over the broadcast studio.


2) City Creek Center Retractable Roof | Salt Lake City, Utah

City Creek Center Retractable Roof

The resulting retractable, barrel‐vaulted roof is configured in two sections, each spanning one city block:

  • Each section is 240 ft. long and 58 ft wide, with an S‐shape that echoes the curve of the signature City Creek
  • The precision‐sculpted steel and glass transparently shields patrons when closed, and disappears from sight when open; connecting nature with the areas below.


3) Bird’s Nest | Beijing, China

Bird's Nest

  • 110,000 tons of the steel were used in this structure built for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
  • “In China, a bird’s nest is very expensive, something you eat on special occasions.”- New York Times
  • According to Reuters, more than 17,000 people worked on this one stadium alone


Gateway Arch | St. Louis, Missouri

Gateway Arch

  • The Arch is made of 142 stainless Steel Sections
  •  The structure was built as a monument to Thomas Jefferson and all those pioneers for who St. Louis was the Gateway to the West
  • The Gateway Arch is made of steel and concrete
  • Double wall construction with 1/4” stainless steel on the outside and 3/8” structural steel inside
  • The distance between the wall or “skins” at the surface is 3 feet, narrowing to less than 1 foot at the top
  • There is a layer of concrete between the skins approximately half way up the legs of the Gateway Arch


Sources: BDC Network

Steel is all around us. Take a look around your kitchen. From saucepans to cutlery it’s likely you don’t even realize how many everyday things you use are made of steel. Below are some everyday and some not so everyday uses of steel:


Pivoting steel doors lead into Studio Sitges, a house and photography studio in Spain by Olson Kundig


Tolix Marais Barstool


Pivoting steel doors lead into Studio Sitges, a house and photography studio in Spain by Olson Kundig


Stainless steel reusable straws, no more plastic!


Gril Bruvel “Dichotomy”


Nesting Bowls by R+R Handmade. Hand forged out of recycled steel.


Stainless Steel 1-Handle Pull-Down Kitchen Faucet.



After an especially brutal and cold winter, we’re all relieved to finally see the arrival of spring!  …Even though it’s still going to 30 degrees in the Northeast on Monday.  But still!  The weather is improving, the days are getting longer, and everything is looking up.  So, in lieu of talking about metals and industry, let’s take a look at the season to come, and everything that makes spring, well, springy, with interesting facts about the season from ParkRideFlyUSA.

  • We’ve all heard the term ‘vernal equinox’. Vernal means ‘spring’ and equinox means ‘equal night’. Both words are from Latin.
  • Despite the term, the day when there are 12 equal hours of daylight and darkness usually happens before the first day of spring.
  • The first day of spring in the southern hemisphere is the date of the autumnal equinox in the northern hemisphere, usually in September.
  • Benjamin Franklin was the first American to propose Daylight Saving Time in 1784. However, it wasn’t fully implemented in the US until after the Second World War.
  • The practice of starting Daylight Saving Time on the second Sunday in March in the US started in 2005.
  • Daylight Saving Time starts and ends at different times around the world.
  • In Europe, Daylight Saving Time is known as Summer Time.
  • The reason that there’s more daylight during spring is that the earth’s axis tilts towards the sun at this time of year.
  • Some of the plants that have strong associations with spring include dandelions, daffodils, lilies, primroses, hyacinths, tulips, azaleas, iris and lilacs.
  • Dandelions originated in Asia.
  • Several singers have sung about spring including Van Morrison (Celtic Spring), Billie Holiday (Some Other Spring) and Frank Sinatra (Suddenly it’s Spring).
  • Animals and insects associated with spring include the rabbit, frog, deer, fox, bear, bee, butterfly, ladybug and hummingbird.
  • Spring fever is not just a myth – the body may experience physiological changes due to changes in diet, hormone production and temperature.
  • Melting snow and additional rain may cause more flooding in spring.
  • Children grow faster in spring.
  • Spring is when birds return home after migrating in winter. About 1800 bird species migrate.