Did you know that the name Corten steel stands for CORrosion resistance-TENsile strength? Those two properties perfectly describe this weathering steel, patented by United States Steel Corporation in 1933. Since its development, Corten has fascinated the mind of architects and designers, becoming one of the most popular materials used in architecture, especially in landscaping.
Corten steel is versatile and attractive due to the combination of strength and durability. The Corten foils can be flattened, curved, faceted, perforated or embossed with different patterns. You can use it for making planters, benches, litter bins, shelters, bollards, and the list goes on. Landscape architects and designers appreciate this natural-looking material that easily blends into the site thanks to its warm color and unique hues.
Most of what makes Corten impressive is the rusting effect, evolving as time goes by. Indeed, the exposure to weather makes Corten developing a layer of fine-textured rust: a sort of patina that both protects the base metal and avoids further corrosion. This protective layer prohibits deeper penetration of rain, snow, ice, and fog, eliminating the need for surface treatments and painting, minimizing the environmental impact associated with Volatile Organic Compounds emissions from paint coatings and cleaning required with painting.
Compared with other steels, this weather-resistant material has increased resistance to atmospheric corrosion. The corrosion retarding effect of the layer is naturally produced by the proper distribution and concentration of alloying elements. The use of Corten thus reduces the expense of rust-prevention maintenance over the years, lowering the environmental impact and saving both money and time.
Corten is 100% recyclable. Even the production phase respects an eco-friendly process: Metalco uses an oxidation process through weathering. The Corten steel is sprayed with water and dried naturally in the air several times to mature it.
A curiosity of Corten:
The first use as of Corten in an architectural application dates back to the 1964 by Eero Saarinen. The John Deere Headquarters is one of four buildings located on John Deere complex in Illinois USA. it’s rugged beauty and the red color have helped earn the headquarters the “Rusty Palace” nickname.