Steel is one of the most widely used and recycled materials. There are thousands of grades of steel with equally as many applications. There are also different technologies for manufacturing steel, one of which offers a major advantage in the construction industry: cold-formed steel (CFS).
Hot-rolled steel and cold-formed steel are both structural steels used in building construction. Hot rolled steel is made by rolling steel into thin strips or plates. Hot rolling occurs at very high temperatures, above the recrystallization temperature of the material, producing malleable steel that can be formed in a variety of shapes.
Cold-formed steel, also called light gauge steel is made from steel plate, sheet or strip material. Cold-formed steel can be made by roll forming, the method used for mass production, by stamping, commonly used in the automotive industry, or by press braking. Cold rolling is a metal forming process in which a sheet of metal is pressed through a pair of rolls to reduce thickness, increase strength and improve surface finish. The cold rolling process happens at ambient temperature, below the steel’s recrystallization temperature. This process changes the mechanical properties of the steel to produce uniform, lightweight steel with a high strength-to-weight ratio. Cold-formed steel is also easy to fabricate, transport, and install; it is moisture-, fire-, wear- and corrosion-resistant; and it is energy efficient. Read the American Iron and Steel Institute’s Cold-Formed Steel Profile for an in-depth look at the reasons why cold-formed steel is becoming the material of choice in construction.