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Steel vs Concrete Structures

Concrete and steel are among the most general construction materials, and numerous building projects can apply either of them for their basic structure. Each material has advantages as well as limitations, similar to in any engineering decision, plus this editorial delivers a general comparison. No material can be measured better than the other for all cases, as well as the best option is determined by project circumstances.

Concrete Construction

Concrete is the second maximum used material in construction after water: it offers flexibility, durability along with easy fabrication, and can be formed in any shape.

  • Concrete buildings are very resistant against compression, however cannot handle tension successfully.

  • For this reason, maximum concrete structures are reinforced by steel bars that provide extra support for tensile loads, and this amalgamation is known as reinforced concrete.

Concrete buildings can be erected in a number of ways, using different kinds of concrete. The three most common kinds are plain cement concrete, reinforced concrete as well as pre-stress concrete.

Plain cement concrete is acquired by joining cement, fine aggregate (sand), coarse aggregate (gravel) and water in prearranged proportion in line with design needs. As soon as hardened, these materials turn out to be a homogeneous mass.

  • Structures prepared with plain cement concrete have a great compressive strength but nearly no tensile strength.

  • For that reason, plain cement concrete is customarily used in roads as well as concrete blocks for walls, since these constructions are subject to compressive piles.

Reinforced concrete is fundamentally plain cement concrete thru steel bars that deliver further tensile strength. This is the most common kind of concrete employed in construction, having applications not merely in buildings but also structures for example water tanks.

Pre-stressed concrete is preloaded via applying compressive stress earlier than it is subject to any load in addition to its self-weight. The compression is created by tensioning high-strength steel tendons inside the concrete volume prior to the application of outside loads. This advances its performance once in service.

The below mentioned table summarizes the advantages as well as disadvantages of concrete buildings:



  • Mouldable

  • Applied low priced materials

  • Can be produced to the required strength

  • Permanence – reinforced concrete delivers the maximum resilient building system

  • Lower labour rate and needs less specialization than steel

  • Low maintenance cost

  • Pre-stressed concrete lets smaller cross section and lighter buildings

  • Fire as well as weather resistance

  • Brittle while strength is exceeded

  • Needs formwork

  • Long curing period – reaches maximum strength following 28 days

  • Lower tensile strength and hardness

  • Needs a bulky structure

  • Can crack because of drying shrinkage along with moisture expansion (construction joints avoid this problem)

  • Buildings with high self-weight, not suggested in regions with adequately of seismic activity

  • Sustained loads can lead to permanent deformation (creep)

  • Demands stringent quality control

  • Salt deposits might form on its surface (efflorescence)

Steel Construction

Steel is in fact an alloy of iron, carbon in addition to other elements. Depending on its chemical configuration, it is categorized as mild steel, high carbon steel, medium carbon steel, low alloy steel or else high alloy steel.

As inferred by its name, structural steel is a class of steel employed in the construction industry. Operational steel shapes as well as properties are regulated by standards for example those from the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC).

  • Greatest structural steel shapes are lengthened beams, with a precise cross section.

  • The most public shape is the I-beam, which is very rigid with respect to the cross-sectional zone. Therefore, it can back high loads without distortions

The below mentioned table summarizes the advantages as well as disadvantages of steel construction:



  • Low self-weight along with strength to weight ratio

  • Rigidity

  • Appropriate for mass production

  • Fast installation

  • High ductility

  • No formwork needed

  • Simple to transport an handle

  • Simple to recycle

  • Let’s off-site construction an on-site structure

  • Vulnerable to rust as well as needs frequent treatment by particular paints and other techniques

  • High upfront price

  • Needs extremely skilled labour

  • Greater maintenance cost

  • Low fire resistance

  • Vulnerable to fatigue while exposed to incessantly changing loads

  • Vulnerable to brittle fracture while its ductility is lost

Direct Comparison between Concrete as well as Steel

Both materials provide many benefits, as described in the earlier sections. When picking between a concrete structure as well as a steel structure, the below mentioned differences can be predictable:

Concrete Structure

Steel Structure

Large cross sections

Small cross sections

Less resistant to seismic as well as wind loads

Extra resistant to seismic as well as wind loads

Low tensile strength, great compressive strength

High tensile strength as well as compressive strength

Less inclined to corrosion

Inclined to corrosion

Does not need extremely specialized workforce

Proficient workforce

High self-weight

Low self-weight

Fire resistant

Not fire resistant, but could be fireproofed

Stringent quality control on site

Off-site fabrication lets less quality control on site

Lower construction charges

Higher construction charges

Extra resilient

Resilience is affected by weather as well as rusting

Needs extra time for construction

Less construction time

Concrete building require construction joints, contraction joints, expansion joints, etc.

The steel components in buildings are joined thru rivets, welding, nuts as well as bolts

Needs formwork

Does not need formwork


The most fit construction material for your house is determined by detailed project needs. For instance, concrete permits lower construction costs in interchange for a longer construction time, while steel is favoured when quick construction is the precedence. In cases where space is a restraint, steel saves space matched with the bulkier concrete building.

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