Exposed steel structures will commonly use weathering steel. While using this type of metal does have its disadvantages, including difficult-to-create weld points, it also offers a wide array of benefits. Weathering steel, which is sometimes referred to as COR-TEN, is a steel alloy that produces tensile strength and corrosion resistance without needing to be painted. After a few years of being exposed to the elements, it will take on a stable rust-like experience.
COR-TEN is a registered trademark of US Steel. This means that although you may want COR-TEN, you will be getting weathering steel unless purchasing directly from US Steel. However, it is the same alloy. There are two alloys: ASTM A 242 and ASTM A 588 that are used. Knowing the compositions of each will allow you to choose the right one for a specific structure.
There are a lot of exposed beams when it comes to building various types of bridges. The metal used needs to be able to withstand the salt water, the high winds, and all of the other external elements that are present. As such, weathering steel is commonly used because it’s strong and rust resistant.
Intermodal containers are commonly made with weathering steel for the purposes of marine construction. Much of this has to do with the steel’s ability to hold up against high levels of salinity. It can be exposed to salt water, air, and much more without breaking down.
Various electric cars have used weathering steel in comparison to stainless steel. It is a way to save money, though it is not always the best option. The St. Louis Car Company chose to make the substitute to save money and rust holes began to appear. Some of it is expected to have been caused by the paint. However, it’s important to explore the corrosion resistance and other characteristics based on where the steel will be used.
A number of outdoor sculptures utilize weathering steel because of its ability to withstand the elements. One such example is the Chicago Picasso, which stands in the middle of the plaza in front of the Daley Center Courthouse.
You might be surprised by all of the different structures built with weathering steel. It is going to resist rust formation much more than other types of alloys. If you plan on painting the metal or using it indoors, you might want to explore other alloys, however. The best thing that you can do is contact a local supplier to ask questions. They can provide you with more insight as to what should be used based on the details of your project.