Concrete, unlike steel, can withstand extremely high temperatures over extended periods of time and provides great protection against explosions. Concrete construction is also quite quick. Steel has the highest strength-to-weight ratio of any (cheap) building material. However, concrete can be made stronger by adding more cement or sand, which would make it more dense and less flexible, or by using metal fibers as a reinforcement, which would cost money.
All things considered, both materials are very durable. The main difference is that steel tends to lose its durability when exposed to heat while concrete retains most of its strength at normal room temperatures. Also, steel becomes more brittle as it gets older while concrete continues to gain weight as a result of ordinary exposure to the environment - this is why buildings tend to collapse under their own weight after a few decades.
Finally, steel is used because of its strength. While concrete can be strong enough for many applications, it cannot match the strength of steel.
Concrete structures outperform steel skeleton constructions in terms of safety. When time equals money, this makes it an especially appealing alternative. Concrete can be used to build forms for casting metal objects as well.
Concrete structures are less expensive than steel frame buildings. The cost of concrete approaches $0 per square foot while the cost of steel frames ranges from $1-$5 per square foot. Concrete also requires very little maintenance compared to steel frames which need to be painted and cleaned of dirt and debris on a regular basis.
Concrete structures can be made in any shape or size and you have many choices regarding its color and texture. With concrete, your options are limited only by your imagination. A concrete structure can look like stone, brick, tile, or wood depending on what material you choose for your project. Concrete can also be molded into almost anything if you have enough photos of the finished product to work with. This allows you to create designs that would be difficult or impossible with other building materials.
Concrete structures are fire resistant. This means that if you use proper design techniques, a concrete building will not burn down even if exposed to fire. Fireproofing is added to concrete during production to make sure it meets this requirement.
Concrete is a traditional building material, however steel is gaining popularity due to its flexibility and shortened construction time. Steel is noted for its quick on-site erection despite its long lead time. Steel, on the other hand, requires fire protection, whereas concrete comes with it. Concrete also has lower maintenance costs.
Both concrete and steel structures are used in architecture for their aesthetic appeal as well as their functional purpose. Concrete can be molded into various shapes while steel can be designed to look like wood or stone. Both materials are used in buildings of all types and sizes including homes, apartments, condos, schools, hospitals, commercial buildings, and even warehouses. Concrete is often used in combination with steel or with other concrete products such as glass or plastic.
Concrete consists of water and cement mixed together with sand and gravel added as necessary. The mixture is poured into forms (molds) placed on top of the structure being built. Once the concrete has set, which can take several hours after pouring, it is removed from the forms and finished as desired. Curing of the concrete continues until it is dry enough for work not requiring a high level of strength to be done.
Steel structures are used in architecture for their unique appearance as well as their durability. Steel can be shaped into many different designs and colors allowing for much creativity in the building process.
Steel is the building material with the highest strength-to-weight ratio. As a result, steel produces a far stronger construction with significantly less material than concrete. Concrete has higher strength than steel, but only after it has cured (i.e., hardened) - before it cures, its strength is limited by its capacity to resist stretching and tearing.
Concrete's weakness before it cures is one of many reasons why buildings fail. The strongest concrete structures are those that have the most cement, which must cure thoroughly before any water can enter and weaken the material. A structure containing less cement than required to produce a hard surface when mixed as directed by a contractor will never be as strong as one using more cement.
The strength of concrete makes it a useful material for structural components, such as beams, columns, and floors, but not for decorative elements or furniture. Steel is much stronger than concrete, so it is usually used to create these other items. However, concrete has advantages when used in certain applications where strength is important such as bridges, while steel is typically used for structures such as skyscrapers because of its durability and resistance to corrosion.
Concrete is also used to make objects that require large amounts of concrete with little variation between ones.