Corten steel, also sometimes referred to as weathering steel has gained popularity which is mostly accredited to the materials stunning oxide finish.
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How is Corten manufactured?
Sheets and plates made from Corten are essentially manufactured like any other sheet metal, that is hot or cold rolled using standard mills. While manufacturing processes are shared with common steel products the chemical composition of corten differs greatly.
A special concentration and distribution of alloying elements within Corten trigger a unique ability to selfheal by rusting. The rust is also cause for a truly unique orange-brown aesthetic which unfolds after about a decade and exposure to the surrounding atmosphere. Hence the label weathering steel.
The layer of rust is not only appealing in terms of design (colour and texture) but also serves a protective function (hindering corrosion). The protective oxide layer seals the surface and even if chipped or damaged, Corten has the ability to repair itself as a new layer of protective oxide starts to form immediately and with further exposure to the elements. This circumstance grants a continuous protection with a varied appearance: The rust finish is reactive, therefore no sheet ages the same way. Instead each sheet develops a unique finish over time. An additional side effect brought about by the rust is a very low solar reflectivity.
Cor-ten is therefore very low in maintenance and has a particularly long life cycle, making it an attractive material to work with. Although more expensive when compared to common steel products, the fact that Corten steel sheets do not require painting reduces costs.
The mechanical characteristics and the resistance to atmospheric corrosion make this steel, the best product for the fabrication of agricultural vans and railway wagons, structures of bridges, water pipes, fans, chimneysand boilers.
The material forms its own protective layer when exposed to atmospheric elements. Essentially, the top layer corrodes and then protects the steel beneath it. The natural finish does not normally require any form of maintenance such as painting, which makes the material a highly cost effective alternative to other structural steels.
Mainly used for construction of tanks, containers, bridges, frame structures, vehicles, etc with the request of welded, bolted, etc.