The Greatest Construction Material Investigate three materials - steel, concrete and timber - and determine which one is the most important in terms of engineering use, influence etc.

Essay by that-baffled-kingHigh School, 12th gradeA-, November 2009

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Materials:The three materials I have looked at are:•Timber - also known as lumber, this is any wood that is best suited for use as structural material.

•Concrete - made from cement, but mixed with other materials which each produce a different kind of concrete.

And finally:•Steel - steel is an alloy consisting mostly of iron, combined with carbon levels of anything 0.2 to 2.04% carbon. Differing levels of carbon allow different types of steel to be made.

Though each material has its own significance and historical importance, the title of "The Greatest Construction Material" goes to Steel. The reason for this is the critical role played by steel in infrastructural and overall economic development. Its historical importance, which overshadows both concrete and timber, is remarkable, and the Steel Industry is often considered to be an indicator of economic progress. (Saraf) Steel also possesses superior structural properties, and none of the weaknesses found in timber and steel.

Historical DevelopmentSteelSteel is the most versatile metal and the most common alloy. It is obtained by alloying iron with carbon. (Norman, Cubitt, Urry, & Whittaker, 1995) It is used heavily in construction in all three areas (Residential, Infrastructural and Industrial), though its biggest role has been in Industrial progress.

Steel making started long before the 14th century, however no method was efficient enough to make it very popular. In the 17th Century, production methods were devised that helped the process but steel was still expensive and only used where no cheaper alternative existed, particularly for the cutting edge of tools and for springs. (Britannica, 2007)It was the invention of the Bessemer process in the mid-19th century that allowed steel to be an inexpensive, mass produced material. This was a crucial event in the Industrial Revolution, as the supply of cheaper iron and steel aided...