Stainless steel and steel wire in particular is used in many different industries. One of the most versatile materials, it has been used since the early 1900s across the board, from ancient ships through to modern spacecraft and everything in between. While steel wire is one of the most used materials around, not many know how it is made, or much of its history.
How It Is Made
Depending on the industry it is intended for, steel wire has different added carbon levels, and is then classified into low, medium or high carbon. The carbon is then mixed with various other elements such as boron, aluminium or chrome to create the end product.
Steel wire is a combination of iron sponge, scrap and alloying elements which are all melted together, and converted into a squared bar which is known as “steel billet”. Steel billet is put through a reheating furnace until it reaches the right temperature. Once this happens, it then undergoes a continuous hot rolling process to get it to measure between 5.5 millimetres and 26 millimetres.
From there, the process of cold rolling is done to get the steel wire. Each time the steel is stretched, it cools and may need to be reheated to regain its movement. This is a complex process, but it creates the strength needed in the wire without compromising functionality or resistance.
A Brief History
Steel wire was originally “discovered” in early 1900, but dates back to between the 12th and 16th centuries where it was created through a “drawing process”. This is a simple process of reducing a cross-section of a wire by pulling it through a series or single set of drawing dies.
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