Stahlinstitut VDEh – 14.06.2024

Material Technology and Processing

Material Technology and Processing

Steel – one of the most important construction materials

Steel is one of the most important construction materials and forms the basis for sustainable and healthy living, as well as for the further development of societies. It is one of the most versatile materials:


  • withstands a huge range of temperatures, e.g. in power plants with temperatures over 600°C, in permafrost regions with temperatures down to -50°C, and in cryotechnology with temperatures down to -272°C.
  • withstands extreme pressures of between 1 and 350 bar, and even up to 3000 bar in modern diesel injection systems.
  • exhibits high fatigue strength (lasts “forever”), high operational stability (lasts for the defined service life) and is creep-resistant (withstands high temperatures).
  • can achieve strengths of up to 4,000 MPa (steel cord).
  • has a wide processability range, including formability (rolling, forging, drawing / cold, warm, hot) and joinability (e.g. welding, adhesive bonding, mechanical joining)
  • is corrosion- and wear-resistant (as a result of alloying or surface treatment) but still remains machinable.
  • is economical and almost 100 per cent recyclable.
  • meets high demands regarding health, safety and the environment.

The steel industry supplies numerous steel grades – meeting all requirements or combinations of requirements. 2,400 steel grades are currently standardised and registered in Europe. They are constantly being further developed and adapted to meet new combinations of requirements. Thus an average of one to two per cent of new steels is added annually and about ten per cent are adapted regarding their chemical composition. There are also numerous variants of these registered steel grades, produced especially to meet very particular customer demands (e.g. a very high level of cleanliness).

“It’s just not possible without steel!”

  • Without steel there would be no extruded aluminium profiles.
  • Without steel there would be no mass-produced plastic injection mouldings.
  • Without steel the railways would be inconceivable (rails) and steel is also indispensable in aviation (e.g. the landing gear of airplanes) and space.
  • 60% of a conventional car is still steel.
  • Exploration for, and the transport of, energy carriers would be impossible without steel.

High-strength and ultra-high strength steels for thin sheet and plate, engineering steels such as heat-treatable steels, tool steels, case-hardening steels, anti-friction bearing steels, stainless steels, creep-resistant and heat-resistant steels, rail steels, general structural steels, etc. are available in top quality for the most varied of industrial and private applications.