Rolled steel plate is steel that has been shaped using rollers. Thin steel plate is often rolled into coils so it can be stored and transported more easily. Going through the rollers makes the rolled steel plate thinner. There are two types of rolled steel: hot-rolled and cold-rolled.
Hot-rolled steel is steel that was pushed through the rollers at temperatures higher than its recrystallization temperature. Recrystallization is the process by which the grains of the metal are deformed and broken and then newer, more intact ones replace them. The process makes the metal less hard and strong, but also makes it more malleable. One of the advantages of this is that it prevents the metal from “work hardening,” or becoming too brittle due to overworking it. Hot-rolled steel is the most common type of hot-worked steel.
Cold-rolled steel is worked at below the recrystallization temperature; it produces a stronger metal but one that is less malleable than hot-worked steel. The major downside is that this process cannot reshape the steel as much on a single pass. When super heated, the steel is more easily shaped than if it’s just heated. While it requires more passes to reach the desired properties, the machinery for cold-rolled steel plate takes up less space, so it’s easier to cluster mill metal.
Rolling steel has come a long way as a process, with roots dating back to the 18th century in England. Rolled steel plate is a byproduct of the English Industrial Revolution, and started off as a process for rolling out steel rods using a tandem mill. Rolling metal in general predates rolling iron and steel, since lead was rolled in the 17th century. For those not familiar with metals, lead is considerably softer than steel or iron; it can be rather easily shaped and formed by hand, so a mechanical process to roll it would be less complex.
The ease of reshaping is part of the reason why lead used to be such a common construction material, especially in old-fashioned piping. Fortunately, people realized the negative effects of that and have since switched to other metals. However, rolled steel plate is an invention we owe much of modern construction to, due mainly to its availability as a safer alternative to lead.
Ranger Steel has supplied North America’s rolled steel plate needs for more than 50 years. Quality products, competitive pricing, and on-time delivery are hallmarks of the way Ranger Steel consistently does business. Call Ranger Steel today at 800.231.5014 or visit us online at http://www.rangersteel.com/