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You know how “Kleenex” is used when referring to a “tissue?” Or “Chapstick” is used when referring to “lip balm?” Similarly, the terms “COR-TEN®,” “cor-ten,” “corten” and “weathering steel” are used interchangeably when referring to atmospheric, corrosion-resistant steel, which can be a tad confusing… Let’s be clear: COR-TEN® is the U.S. Steel’s trade name for atmospheric, corrosion resistant steel while weathering steel and corrosion-resistant steel are the generic terms. 

President Joe Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure plan signed in November of 2021 secured more than $1 trillion in federal funding to rebuild the nation’s deteriorating roads and bridges as well as fund new climate resilience and broadband initiatives. As one of the largest infusions of federal investment into infrastructure projects in over a decade, the plan allots $110 billion for highways, roads and bridges. Plus, more recently, the Biden administration issued new guidance requiring that the construction material purchased for these infrastructure projects must be produced domestically.

Concern over “greener” or more “environmentally-friendly” choices has never been greater, especially in bridge construction. Sustainability revolves around three pillars–social, environmental, and economic. Essentially, a bridge build should consider the environment, but also improve the economy and social situation of the area the bridge is built in: 

Dri-Design is an industry leader in architectural facades with nearly endless design possibilities, offering an unlimited palette of colors, finishes, materials, textures and custom perforations. We supply Dri-Design with ASTM A606-4 weathering steel sheet for building panel systems for a variety of projects – office buildings, mixed use, universities and hotels.  

Most low alloy steels have the tendency to rust, or corrode, over time as they are exposed to water and/or moisture in the air. Overtime, this rust layer becomes porous and detaches from the metal surface. One of the benefits of using corten steel, also referred to as weathering steel, is its ability to resist the corrosion that other low alloy steels experience. 

Weathering steel, commonly referred to as corten steel, is the only type of steel that does not require paint or a sealant to protect it from atmospheric corrosion. In fact, weathering steels are intentionally manufactured to provide this resistance to atmospheric corrosion as well as enhanced yield and tensile strength properties.