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Shipping containers have become a popular choice for a variety of purposes, from storage units to tiny homes. These metal boxes are designed to withstand harsh weather conditions and long voyages at sea all because of a material called COR-TEN steel.  


But what exactly is COR-TEN steel, and why is it so well-suited for use in shipping container construction? In this guide, we’ll explore the properties of this unique material and how it can be used to create durable, weather-resistant structures that stand up to even the harshest conditions. Let’s get started.   

So, What is COR-TEN Steel?  


Also called weathering steel, this type of steel contains copper, chromium, and nickel. This unique mix of metals enables it to withstand harsh weather conditions, including heavy rain and strong winds. When exposed to air and moisture, COR-TEN steel develops a rust-like patina that helps protect the metal from corrosion.  


One of the most common uses of COR-TEN steel is in the construction of shipping containers. These containers are designed to withstand harsh marine environments and are often subjected to extreme weather conditions while being transported across oceans. 


How Was COR-TEN Developed? 


COR-TEN was first developed in the 1930s by the United States Steel Corporation. The company’s goal was to create a steel that would have increased resistance to atmospheric corrosion compared to standard carbon steel.  


The name COR-TEN originated from its two main properties: corrosion resistance (COR) and tensile strength (TEN). 


This corrosion-resistant steel was initially used in intermodal coal transport. It was chosen because of its durability and resistance to corrosion. As coal is a highly corrosive material, it often caused damage to traditional steel containers. Corten steel solved this problem by forming a protective layer of rust on the surface which prevented further corrosion. 


Since the 1990s, COR-TEN steel has become the standard in modern container manufacturing.  


Its popularity can be attributed to its unique properties that make it ideal for shipping containers. In addition, its distinctive appearance has made it popular among architects and designers who use the material for building facades and sculptures. 

colorful 20-foot containers stacked at A American Container lot Tampa

Are All Shipping Containers Made from COR-TEN Steel? 


The majority of shipping containers are constructed using corrugated COR-TEN steel panels. This type of steel is thicker than regular sheet metal, which provides more durability and strength to the container’s structure. The corrugated design also adds extra rigidity to the walls, helping with stacking during transportation. 


Containers are often stacked up to nine containers high, that’s A LOT of weight!  


In addition to steel, shipping containers may incorporate other materials such as aluminum or fiberglass for certain parts like doors or roofs. The floors are often made from hardwood oak because it can hold heavy loads without cracking or splintering. 


How Does COR-TEN Steel Construction Benefits Businesses?  


The ability of COR-TEN steel to resist corrosion is important for businesses that use shipping containers for storage or mobile office purposes. Rust can cause structural damage and weaken the integrity of the container, leading to costly repairs or replacement.  


By using containers made from COR-TEN steel, businesses can save money in the long run by avoiding rust and corrosion altogether.  


Shipping containers can be transformed into various structures such as homes, offices, restaurants, and storage buildings with the help of COR-TEN steel facades that protect against weather damage.  


Furthermore, modifications made from this metal are low-maintenance and offer long-lasting performance and rust resistance without requiring frequent repairs. 


Read More > Container Maintenance: Keeping Rust at Bay  

close up of steel container modification cut

A American Container – Your Reliable Source for On-Site Storage   


Bottom line? Choosing to store or build with a shipping container made from COR-TEN steel is a SMART investment. A American Container offers high-quality shipping containers that are durable and weather-resistant, ensuring your belongings or construction project stay safe and secure.  


With a range of sizes and customization options, you can easily find the perfect steel cargo container for your needs. Ready to get started? Contact A American Container at 813-740-1911 to buy or modify a container today!  


A American Container Logo and Tagline

Please be aware that the container industry is on high alert for scammers! A American Container will NEVER ask for a deposit to purchase a container, we do not accept online or app payments such as Venmo, Zelle or Cashapp. We do not list our containers on Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, or any similar site. We do not have online chat agents. Please make sure to call us at 813-740-1911 for assistance or come by and visit us at 7001 East Adamo Drive, Tampa FL! Contact Us
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