If you were to make a list of all the metals used in construction applications, that list would get pretty long, pretty fast. Metals are a choice building material for those looking to create strong, long-lasting structures that are both durable and sustainable. And steel fits that bill perfectly.
Steel is one of the most recycled materials around the world. Remarkably, recycled steels retain equivalent strength and durability to their non-recycled counterparts. In fact, much of the steel that the construction industry uses has been recycled multiple times.
While many types and grades of steel are a regular component in construction, there is one that lends a particular set of benefits to designers, builders, and developers alike: cold rolled steel. What is cold rolled steel, and what is cold rolled steel used for? Let’s take a look at the formation process behind this material, and its uses in the construction industry.
What is Cold Rolled Steel?
Cold rolled steel, commonly referred to as cold-formed steel, is a steel variety that gets its name from its manufacturing process. Typically, when we discuss steel varieties, it’s by type (stainless, carbon, tool, alloy) or by grade. But with cold rolled steel, it’s about the process that manufacturers use to finish the steel.
Cold rolling involves cooling steel that’s already been through the hot rolling process. Once it’s been cooled, it’s then re-rolled at room temperature. As the material is cold rolled, power rollers apply tension. This tension causes the material to become thinner and harder. The process also helps produce more exact dimensions and better surface qualities.
What is the difference between hot rolled and cold rolled steel?
When understanding the differences between hot rolled versus cold rolled steel, the biggest factor to keep in mind is the density of the material. Hot rolled steel is much easier to produce due to the simplicity of the process. You only need to heat and form the metal, so there’s no need to cool or finely shape it.
But this simplicity is also its weakness when it comes to construction. Since hot rolled steel doesn’t form a refined shape, it can’t handle applications that need finer details and dimensions. To get these more precise details, the material needs to be cooled and pressured after the heating process. This is the process behind cold rolled steel. Since the material is thinner and more durable, you can make the exact shapes you need for long-term projects.
What are the unique properties of cold rolled steel?
Cold rolled steel is extremely ductile and is universally the material of choice in applications where material needs to maintain tight tolerances while retaining few surface imperfections. After forming, cold rolled steel is non-creeping, meaning it retains its shape exceptionally well. Cold rolled steel doesn’t split or absorb moisture, and it’s resistant to both pests and fire.
Additionally, today’s cold rolled steel contains at least 25% recycled material, and at the end of its useable life, it is 100% recyclable. This makes cold rolled steel desirable for sustainability purposes as well.
What is cold rolled steel used for?
When it comes to the construction industry, cold rolled steel has been increasing in demand, especially for framing applications. Framing made from cold rolled steel is both lighter and stronger than competing materials. In recent years, cold rolled steel framing has become the material of choice for multi-housing buildings like dormitories, hotels, and assisted living facilities.
The physical properties of cold rolled steel make it an ideal building material within many different environments, especially those prone to high winds and earthquakes. But cold-formed steel’s benefits to the construction industry don’t stop there. It’s lighter than comparable building materials, making it easier to ship, handle, and assemble. And as we referenced above, cold rolled steel requires less material for equivalent or greater strength. This means less material is required overall.
Expect dependability in your metals and your suppliers
The main benefit of cold rolled steel is its dependability. From shipment to shipment, cold rolled steel maintains the same physical and chemical properties year after year. It’s light, durable, environmentally friendly, and the material of choice in extreme climates.
Here at Mead Metals, we also like to think we’re dependable. We’ve been supplying specialty metals to customers for more than 60 years, with consistent quality and service.
Contact us today for a free quote on high-quality 1008/1010 steel. No matter your industry or order size, we’re here to get you what you need, when you need it.