What Does a Steel Engineer Do?
Steel engineers build lasting bridges, keep planes in the air, and make skylines more interesting for everyone. Find out more about what a steel engineer does and get details on career outlook and salary for these professionals below.Steel is in everything from our cars to our cutlery. Many people don't know, however, that steel is also incredibly complex. If you don't know the difference between T-1 steel and A36 steel, you're not alone. Knowing that - and using this knowledge to design optimal steel buildings and products - is the responsibility of a steel engineer.
Basically, steel is a combination of iron and carbon. But then, by this same logic, bread is just a combination of flour and water. In fact, just like in baking, there are many different kinds of steel. The steel's qualities are determined by what materials go into the mix (called an alloy). Steel engineers must be well-versed in the kinds of steel common in structural use. A steel engineer knows that certain steel alloys are more flexible than others; flexible alloys might be useful for making pipes, but not for reinforcing bridges. The steel engineer's job is to know what ingredients the steel should have for the specific purpose the engineer has in mind.
Once you've chosen your steel, what do you do with it? Steel engineers are also designers. They're responsible for creating structures that make the best possible use of the steel they've selected. For instance, they can plan where lighter steel is useful to save weight. They'll use heavier and more durable steel to make a structure strong, and they'll place girders and struts to make the construct as durable and safe as possible.
Steel engineers are generally civil engineers, or structural engineers with a focus in metallurgy. Some steel engineers work in shipbuilding, aerospace, and automobile factories. Most, however, are employed to work with architects in designing and constructing bridges, buildings, towers and oil rigs.
Steel engineers are recommended to hold a bachelor's degree in civil engineering or structural engineering. A focus on metallurgy is key for steel engineers, who must be able to choose the best alloy of steel for a particular purpose.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), the median annual salary earned by materials engineers, including metallurgical engineers, was $95,640 in May 2020. The employment of such engineers is expected to grow by 2% between 2019 and 2029, per the BLS.
The LSF construction system (lightweight steel frame)
“Lightweight Steel Framing”-LSF is the internationally known designation for the constructive system in which the structure consists of cold shaping galvanized metal profiles of reduced thickness (in the order of one millimeter) and, consequently, of very low weight (mild). The first buildings built in LSF date back to the early twentieth century, where it was attempted to replicate the wood construction, which at the time was the most usual constructive system, for example in the United States of America (USA). The building system in LSF allowed to overcome some of the gaps in wood construction, such as its vulnerability to fire, termites and moisture variations, with the added advantage of having a superior mechanical strength, very useful during the occurrence of extreme atmospheric conditions, e.g. hurricanes and tornadoes.