Cor-ten steel is the special material for ISO shipping container
  • 11 May 2017

What is shipping container made from? A typical ISO shipping container is made from a ‘weathering steel’ as specified within BS EN 10025-5:2004. This is commonly known as ‘Cor-ten’ steel. Cor-ten steel is a corrosion resistant steel which includes alloying elements that affect the materials corrosion process. Weathering steel forms an amorphous inner layer that protects the integrity of the steel. Figure 1 shows the placement of the layer as well as its composition. The continuity of the layer also adds to the protection of the steel.

The picture shows schematic illustration of the corrosion product layers identified on steels exposed to rural and marine atmospheres for the periods of up to five years. Furthermore, weathering steel is an ideal material for cargo containers due to their exposure to natural elements. Cargo containers spend the majority of their life outdoors on cargo ships, trains and trucks with little protection from moisture. The cargo container is an appealing construction material for a variety of reasons. First, their strength and durability provide both structural support and a long life span. Their weathering steel construction provides not only corrosion protection, but also strength. Also, with a movement toward sustainable construction practices, the recycling of unused cargo containers for construction material puts an unused product to use. Also, the modular container building simplifies the design process. Much like bricks or CMU, cargo containers are designed to specific standards.

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