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3. Products that create sustainable infrastructure

The sustainability of every city and state in the U.S. depends on infrastructure. Serving as the backbone of the nation, infrastructure encompasses buildings, transportation, energy systems and products serving the military. Steel is the key to sustainable infrastructure in the United States due to its unmatched strength and longevity combined with the benefits of its environmental footprint.

Why is this important to us?

Our future as a country and a company depends upon continued investments in infrastructure. The importance of infrastructure, including roads, bridges, railways, hospitals, schools, offices, energy generation and defense, is indisputable.  However, many overlook steel’s integral role in the construction of infrastructure. Through continued innovations, steel supports the sustainability of our infrastructure systems. This is critical during a time when our country is suffering from aging infrastructure and limited funds to support it.  

The commercial imperative

What kind of challenge do we face?

The demand for more sustainable materials from our customers continues to increase. Materials are needed to contribute to lighter buildings, longer lasting transportation solutions and cleaner forms of energy. Steel meets the challenge by proving that its environmental footprint coupled with its strength and availability make it the material of choice for infrastructure solutions.

What do we need to do?

To effectively serve infrastructure sectors, we must communicate steel’s current and potential sustainability contributions. We also must continue to build upon our current range of products by working to make our products even more environmentally-friendly, longer-lasting and stronger. 

What is the potential to create value?

We are currently meeting much of the nation’s need for sustainable infrastructure solutions. Steel is strong enough to build skyscrapers, versatile enough to meet any construction challenge, and endlessly recyclable at the end of its useful life. Our current steel innovations are already reducing carbon emissions, energy use and costs for our infrastructure customers. Steel products are also creating environmental value through the creation of renewable energy through wind turbines.

2016 Highlights


In 2016, ArcelorMittal global Research and Development launched 30 new products that create sustainable infrastructure.


ArcelorMittal conducted 15 research programs related to sustainable infrastructure.


Global research and development completed 10 new life cycle analysis studies related to sustainable infrastructure. 

Case studies: Sustainable infrastructure

Keeping you safe on the road

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The development of stronger steels directly contributes to making vehicles safer now than ever before. Steel’s strength has multiplied by almost 10 times over the past 20 years. Our research and development teams continue to innovate and strengthen steel, while also reducing its weight.

On our roads, safety moves beyond vehicles with steel infrastructure solutions. ArcelorMittal Global Research and Development, in cooperation with U.S. safety barrier manufacturer Gregory Industries, has developed a new, proprietary high-containment steel center median safety barrier for use in North America. 

The new barrier is able to safely contain and redirect a fully loaded 79,000-pound tractor trailer truck, a quad cab pickup truck, and a mid-size car.  It is the first Methods for Assessing Safety Hardware (MASH) Test Level- 5 (TL-5) rated steel center median safety barrier developed for the U.S. market.  It is safer for vehicle occupants and a cost effective alternative to concrete cast in-place barriers.  

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, motor vehicle traffic accidents are a leading cause of death, not far behind heart disease, cancer and stroke.  No doubt, some can be attributed to barrier crashes.  

“In the early 2000's, ArcelorMittal worked with European safety barrier manufacturers to design higher performance safety barriers as a result of new regulations that promoted safety performance instead of specifying set barrier configurations,” said Rich Clausius, projects manager, Global R&D, East Chicago.  “This work proved to be quite successful and led to safer roads and increased steel sales in Europe.  In 2008, I was asked to determine if the same approach could be done in the U.S.”

The answer was yes. It was an opportunity to create additional steel sales in the U.S. and help customers solve a problem.  In addition, development of this product aligns with ArcelorMittal’s commitment to safety.

“It’s a win – win,” said Clausius.  “There are many benefits. This barrier results in lower deceleration rates on impact versus concrete resulting in less damage to the vehicle and injuries to the occupants.  It also has a lower installed cost than a comparable concrete center median barrier.”  
In order to contain the vehicle during impact, high-strength steel grades were evaluated during the early development phase of the project.  An existing grade 80 HSLA (high-strength low alloy) steel provided the best combination of strength, formability, weight savings and cost.  

HSLA steels have been used in the auto industry for many years. “But as far as we can tell, this is the first time it’s been used in a U.S. safety barrier application," added Clausius. 

“We reached out to the four largest steel safety barrier manufacturers in the US,” said Clausius. “Of the four, Gregory Industries, proved to be the most interested in our capabilities and in developing a new proprietary barrier for the U.S. market. They were already an ArcelorMittal customer, so that helped too.” 

Once a non-disclosure agreement was signed, Clausius, along with representatives from Gregory Industries, focused on market needs expressed during US Transportation Research Board Roadside Safety Design Committee meetings.  

These meetings were attended by federal and state highway officials, government contractors and researchers, safety hardware manufacturers and crash test facility experts.  It became apparent there was a market for higher performance safety barriers. And at the time, no one was making a TL-5 steel center median barrier. 

For a TL-5 barrier design to be approved in the U.S., it has to pass three MASH full scale crash tests. The tests include a mid-size car, quad cab pickup truck, and a fully loaded tractor trailer. In all three tests, the vehicles must be contained (can’t go through or over the barrier), be safely redirected, no rollover, no excessive intrusion into the occupancy department, and must have reasonable deceleration rates.   

Before using real vehicles and barriers, computer modeling was conducted to simulate crashes. The barrier design was optimized for performance, based on the results.  

Results of the actual crash tests were very good.  The barrier successfully contained and redirected the car, pickup truck and tractor trailer.  No debris or detached elements penetrated the occupancy compartment. The vehicles remained upright with satisfactory vehicle stability and resulted in satisfactory occupancy risk factors.  Overall it was a huge success. And the test performance was very similar to the computer models.  

“We applied for patents and expect to receive approval from the U.S. Federal Highway Administration in early 2017,” added Clausius.  

As soon as the barrier is approved, Gregory will begin marketing and manufacturing the barrier with ArcelorMittal steel.

When compared to concrete barriers, ArcelorMittal’s new TL-5 steel center median safety barrier has attributes above and beyond its safety benefits.  Steel is kind to the environment because it’s 100 percent recyclable. The barrier has a long service life and it’s easier to repair than concrete, making it cost effective. It weighs less than concrete, so transportation costs should be lower.  

These highway barriers represent ArcelorMittal’s deep commitment to developing products that will create sustainable infrastructure in the United States.

VIDEO: Innovative highway safety technology from ArcelorMittal

Stadiums of steel

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Two new stadiums are now standing tall in the United States with the help of ArcelorMittal. The architecture in U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis and Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta was made possible with ArcelorMittal steel. Hundreds of thousands of people will visit these stadiums in the coming years. 

Completed in 2016, the 65,000-seat U.S. Bank stadium is the new home of the Minnesota Vikings. Operated by the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, the stadium will host major sporting competitions – including the 2018 Super Bowl – but also civic, cultural, community and nonprofit events.

The Minneapolis stadium replaces the Metrodome. In its design, architects worked to ensure the new stadium was adapted to Minnesota’s cold temperatures and snow. In 2011, the Metrodome’s roof collapsed under the weight of heavy snowfall, further emphasizing this need. Today, the stadium’s slope – rising 205 feet from grade in the east to 272 feet high in the west – gives the building a unique ability to shed snow. Secondly, the use of translucent ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) material allows more sunlight and heat through the roof. This, combined with the natural rise of heat from inside the stadium, helps melt the snow and ice. Diverters redirect it to gutters and collection basins located on the edges of the roof, keeping snow and ice from falling to the ground below. The roof contains more than 3,000 metric tons of HISTAR® high-strength steel (in 65 ksi grade) produced at our Differdange plant in Luxembourg.

Further south, the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta will be home to the Falcons NFL football team and the Atlanta United MLS team. 

ArcelorMittal has played a significant role in the construction of this state-of-the-art stadium. Steel plate came from ArcelorMittal Burns Harbor and ArcelorMittal Coatesville, and steel beams were provided by ArcelorMittal International. A total of 22,000 tons of steel will be used in the stadium – nearly three times more than what was used in 1992 to build the Georgia Dome, the previous home of the Falcons. ArcelorMittal steel will be used for the infrastructure of the stadium, as well as the roof structure. 

Canam Steel Corp., a Canadian fabricator with locations in Canada and the U.S., was awarded the fabrication contract for the Atlanta Stadium. Over the years, ArcelorMittal has developed a strong relationship with Canam. “This is a prestigious project that will be very visible in the Atlanta region,” said Gary Moffat, account manager, plates, sales and marketing, ArcelorMittal. “It’s another example of the capability of our customer, Canam, to deliver projects that require special engineering and fabrication. Through our partnership with Canam, we also have the opportunity to grow with them.”

“ArcelorMittal employees visiting Atlanta can walk into this stadium and see first-hand how the products we make are used,” added Moffat. “They should feel a sense of pride and ownership in the steel products they make that create these types of structures.”

The $1.2 billion stadium will seat some 71,000 spectators and will open for the start of the 2017 football season.

ArcelorMittal is proud of these two projects and many others that provide innovation and infrastructure in the United States.