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COR-TEN or Corten steel, also sometimes referred to as ‘weathering steel’ has gained popularity which is mostly accredited to the materials stunning oxide finish.
Currently, the registered trademark on the name Corten is held by U.S. Steel. The name Cor – Ten is derived from the materials two distinguishing properties: ‘Cor’ signifying its resistance to corrosion, and ‘Ten’ standing for an impressive tensile strength. These set apart features make Corten a popular material throughout construction and in particular architecture.
How is Corten manufactured?
Sheets and plates made from Corten are essentially manufactured like any other sheet metal, that is hot or cold rolled using standard mills. While manufacturing processes are shared with common steel products the chemical composition of corten differs greatly.
A special concentration and distribution of alloying elements within Corten trigger a unique ability to selfheal by rusting. The rust is also cause for a truly unique orange-brown aesthetic which unfolds after about a decade and exposure to the surrounding atmosphere. Hence the label weathering steel.
The layer of rust is not only appealing in terms of design (colour and texture) but also serves a protective function (hindering corrosion). The protective oxide layer seals the surface and even if chipped or damaged, Corten has the ability to repair itself as a new layer of protective oxide starts to form immediately and with further exposure to the elements. This circumstance grants a continuous protection with a varied appearance: The rust finish is reactive, therefore no sheet ages the same way. Instead each sheet develops a unique finish over time. An additional side effect brought about by the rust is a very low solar reflectivity.
Cor-ten is therefore very low in maintenance and has a particularly long life cycle, making it an attractive material to work with. Although more expensive when compared to common steel products, the fact that Corten steel sheets do not require painting reduces costs.
Which sectors utilise Corten?
Due to its distinctive design Corten metal is often used in modern architecture and sculpturing. The traditional yet modern look of corten steel panels lends itself to architectural appliance, in particular cladding and facades. However, it is also seen in landscape designing and contractor clients.
Renowned buildings made from core 10 steel include the courtyard theatre in Stratford as well as the Leeds Broadcasting tower at the Leeds Beckett University. The impressive 70meter high tower was designed in 2009 by award winning Feilden Clegg Bradley to host the faculties of art, environment and technology.
Corten in the Kloeckner Online Shop
The Kloeckner online shop offer both COR-TEN A and COR-TEN B cold or hot rolled with an optional oiled surface.
Weathering accelerators to speed up the rusting process and thus protective and design features are available on the open market.