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What is Corten steel? 2023-7-25

Corten steel, also known as COR-TEN steel or weathering steel, is a low-alloy, high-strength exterior steel, a type of “weathering steel” developed to eliminate the need for paint and create a stable Rusty appearance, even after years of exposure to the effects of the weather. The new steel was named Cor (corrosion resistance) and ten (tensile strength) for its properties.
Weathering steel can be used in a wide range of structural applications. It is a commonly used product in bridge construction due to its low maintenance costs. It is also popular in modern architecture where there is a great demand for beautiful finishes on sculptural architecture and decorative panels.
In the early stages of use, Corten steel has a light yellow color. In general application environments, the color of protective rust gradually changes from brown to stable dark brown after one to two years. Afterwards, there is no noticeable change in color, possibly to a darker dark brown.

Weather resistance

Because Corten steel is highly weather-resistant, it can be used without painting. Paintless applications not only have the economic advantage of reducing repainting costs, but also provide aesthetic benefits associated with a calm color that protects the rust layer. The weather resistance depends on the product grade and the use environment. The weather resistance of Corten steel is 4-8 times that of ordinary steel.


Trace amounts of alloying elements such as copper (Cu) and chromate (Cr) are added to Corten steel to ensure high weather resistance while reducing the carbon content to provide proper weldability. Corten steel can be welded by manual welding, gas shielded welding or submerged arc welding. In addition, spot welding can also be used for thin thicknesses of weathering steel.


Corten steel has similar processing properties (cold forming, hot forming and gas cutting) as ordinary steel of the same strength. For strip rolled products, it is best to bend the axis transversely to the main rolling direction. For applications requiring higher formability, steels complying with EN10155 can provide guaranteed changeability.

Typical applications of weather-resistant structural steel:
  • Building exterior cladding, weatherstripping
  • Chimneys and other structures under smoke conditions
  • shipping tank
  • freight container
  • bridge
  • heat exchanger
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