The words metal and steel are commonly interchanged, so it’s no surprise that many people think they are synonymous. But although metal and steel may be similar in look and feel, the two are quite different.
The main difference between metal and steel is that metals are naturally occurring elements that are present in the Earth’s crust, while steel is an alloy made from metal.
Ultimately, metal and steel are unique in their own way; learn more about them below.
Metal vs. Steel
Unlike steel, a metal is a chemical element made up of multiple substances, not different from the ones you likely learned about in high school science classes. As you know, metals occur naturally in the Earth’s crust, so they don’t have to be produced by humans.
Steel, on the other hand, is an alloy made from iron metal—meaning without metal we wouldn’t have steel. This also means that steel is not technically a metal, but rather a variation of a metal instead.
Which Is Stronger: Metal or Steel?
Although metal is naturally occurring and can be found in the Earth’s crust, steel is much stronger. For this reason, metal is best when used in jewelry making, decorative projects or surgical implants, due to its malleable nature. Steel is strong and is virtually indestructible, which makes it a great option for structures like skyscrapers, commercial buildings, homes, ships or guns.
How Is Steel Produced?
To produce steel, iron ore is mined and then smelted in blast furnaces. This is where impurities such as silica, phosphorous and sulfur are removed from the iron ore, and a controlled amount of carbon is added. To become steel, the carbon must be reduced so that other elements can be added. In modernized facilities, the liquid is then cast to form slabs, blooms or billets.
Find Quality Metal and Steel at Tampa Steel & Supply
At Tampa Steel & Supply, we stock a variety of both metal and steel products. Whether you need metal for jewelry making or steel for commercial construction, take a look at all of the quality products we offer or stop by our beautiful showroom to see for yourself.