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Steel is an alloy of iron. It is a material with high strengh that is widely used on Earth for construction. It is technologically well known.

Steel consists mainly of iron and carbon, and can be produced on Mars from local resources. The carbon part can be from 0,02% to 2,06%. Other additives can be manganese, chrome, vanadium, molybdenum and tungsten. The percentage of the parts decide upon the properties of the steel. The tensile strength varies from 250 MPa to more than 2000 MPa. It can be recycled easily by melting and forging for new parts.

The low quantity of oxygen in the martian atmosphere and the absence of liquid water means that exposed steel may be less prone to rust.

Use cases

Steel can be made with a deliberate set of properties, making is usable for

  • a great variety of housings and construction beams
  • tools with low abrasion properties
  • steel cable with high tensile strength

See also


Open issues

  • How can steel be made from local Martian resources? Probably, this is not done in a conventional furnace with coke, and hence the steel plant does not need to remove the carbon excess from the raw iron. However, smelting without carbon is very difficult. Meteoric iron may be a good raw material for steel or wrought iron. It can be used directly: it does not require smelting.