Steel is one of the most common materials in the world - besides wood and concrete. Steel has been at the core of the economy for historical and pre-historical times and its discovery goes back to the onset of civilization. On the other hand, steel is a modern material which incorporates some of the newest concepts in material physics, including the nanotechnology paradigm. It is also the largest family of materials available today.
Steel is present everywhere: it acts as the backbone of our material civilization, as it is present in infrastructure, buildings, transportation, packaging, machinery, etc. When an artefact does not include steel as a major component, it is made of parts which were produced with machines made of steel - such as smart phones, computers or aircraft. In other words steel is essential for the high standard of living in the developed world and for the growth of emerging economies.
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