The Hidden Secrets of Corten Steel

The Hidden Secrets of Corten Steel

Why is the Crucible fire pit made from Corten steel?

The Firebrand Crucible Outdoor Fire Pit is constructed using robust Corten Steel. This is a weathered steel commonly used in architectural and design projects for its superior durability and rich brown-orange colour. Let’s discover the properties of this self-protecting steel and why Firebrand chose Corten when designing the Crucible wood fire pit.

Corten gets its name from two key characteristics: corrosion resistance and tensile strength. It originated in the 1930s to manufacture railway coal trucks and because of its sturdiness and capacity to endure harsh weather conditions, it was in high demand. These same qualities have preserved its popularity to this day.

Corten steel is a brown-orange steel with a rusty appearance. The rust coating that accumulates naturally over time is called patina, the layer of metal oxide that develops once it has matured. The patina is a protective coating that helps to slow down future corrosion.

Rust is normally associated with inadequate care or even decay, but rust can also give a nice aesthetic touch, which is why Corten steel is also often used in artistic projects.

Enjoy the rapture of rust in a portable fire pit

While we typically try to prevent rusting, products made with Corten steel embraces it. You don't have to cure it, and you certainly do not have to paint it: the goal is to make it look rustic.

This is why Corten is a great choice for your backyard fire pit in a time when extreme weather is becoming the norm and durability is important. When your Crucible fire pit first arrives, it’s raw Corten steel with a glimmering sheen. After it is exposed to the elements, rust slowly begins to form. After some time, the colour fades to orange, and eventually matures into a rich dark-brown, purple colour.

Phosphorus, copper, chromium, and nickel-molybdenum are all added to Corten steel. These alloys form the protective patina on the surface, increasing its resistance to air corrosion especially when used as a steel fire pit.

Formation of the patina

With the combination of moisture and air, rust naturally occurs on the surface of steel. When the rust layer dries, it becomes porous and separates from the metal, allowing a fresh rust cycle to damage the metal over time.

Corten steel rusts in the same way as other steel, but it does not renew. The addition of the alloys results in rust that is more stable, adheres better, and lasts indefinitely. Corrosion occurs on the surface of Corten steel until a layer of resistant and protective metal oxide forms. This patina takes 1 to 3 years to fully develop, depending on the atmospheric conditions. It regenerates on the surface due to the presence of phosphorus and forms a protective barrier.

Your Corten steel Crucible will develop its own uniquely varied hues that emphasise its aesthetic appeal. The combination of Crucible's striking shape and beautifully aged Corten steel will become a much-loved work of art that your friends will admire and your neighbours will covet.

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