The construction sector is the biggest consumer of steel products, and vanadium plays an essential role in providing high strength and cost effective solutions.
Vanadium is the most widely used alloying element for strengthening steels employed in buildings and bridges. It is the most effective alloy for increasing the strength of reinforcing bars used for buildings, tunnels and bridges; it is added to bars for prestressed concrete structures and suspension ropes and it is a commonly adopted alloying element for strengthening steel sections. In North America “as rolled” vanadium steel sections are used extensively in the frames and roofs of industrial buildings. In these steels vanadium carbonitrides precipitated in ferrite provide the strength. Vanadium is used alone and in combination with other alloying elements for strengthening steel plates for box girder and other types of bridge. It is added to steels designed to resist fire and earthquake and is employed to strengthen steels designed to resist the corrosive effects of weather.
There are many noteworthy examples of the use of vanadium in construction – Interchange bridge (Johannesburg), Gion bridge, (Sweden), Central Plaza (Hong Kong), Sears building (Chicago), Lee house (London) – Birds Nest (Beijing), Wembley Stadium (London), Petronas Towers, Shanghai World Finance Centre, Taipei 101, Freedom Tower (NY), Burj Dubai .
Vanadium is also used in welded and seamless tubular high strength steel structures for example as columns in airports and large unsupported spans in sports stadia and aircraft hangers.
For construction machinery vanadium is widely used. For example high strength steels containing vanadium have been used extensively for the booms of cranes and draglines, reducing the weight of the booms or enabling heavier loads to be lifted.