HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT AND CHARACTERISTICS OF STRUCTURAL STEELS
1.0 INTRODUCTION According to published literature, iron was primarily used for making weapons in ancient times. The great Indian epics, Ramayana and Mahabharatha, contain evidence that our forefathers knew about the usage of iron long before many other countries knew about it! Iron is thus very native to India! This is a logical conclusion because, our war-centric epics date back to several thousand years BC. The backdrop of these epics revolves around the eastern, central and southern parts of our country, where there are still huge deposits of iron ore. Not only during Vedic times but also in medieval times, our country has been an epitome of iron wonders. A review in the subsequent sections shows that in modern times too, our country has good examples of construction in steel. Under compelling reasons, both economic and strategic, the western countries brought about the industrial revolution during the last century. Possibly because our country was under the colonial rule at that time and also due to a mood of complacency, our country failed to catch up with the western industrial revolution. During the last 50 years our country has continued to lag behind in infrastructure development and consequently poor consumption of iron and steel. Published studies by the Steel Construction Institute (U.K) have established that countries which have a higher rate of growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP), have proportionately higher consumption of iron and steel. Soon after independence, our country had to gear itself to meet the demands for development and industrial growth and in the first few Five Year plans made reasonable strides in the area of production and usage of iron and steel. Due to various reasons, steel consumption in our country has been stagnating during the past 2-3 years. Further, steel industry is facing stiff... [continues]
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