Cambridge Corten

Laser Cutting & Fabrication

Beautiful features in Corten metal
Corten decorative fence
Corten wall

Product Overview

So, what is Corten steel?

Corten, a material originally developed in the 1930’s by the United States Steel Corporation, was once primarily used for railway coal wagons. This new material was in high demand thanks to its  inherent toughness and ability to withstand weather conditions, which are possible due to the controlled corrosion that makes Corten unique.

Speeding up the finishing process

Cor-ten is an evolving product, which architecturally is appealing, as it matures to its environment. The weathering process is almost endless, but to get to the main patina, the process can be speeded up via salt spraying. The finish created by this process is slightly different to the natural patina, and we can discuss this with you at the project specification stage.
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Cambridge Corten is a division of Impulse Point of Purchase

Where does the organic orange colour come from?​

The orange-brown finished colour in A606-4 comes mainly from the copper content. With 5% copper in the alloy mix, the copper immediately comes to the top as the patina process begins. Additionally, the copper along with manganese, silicon and nickel content in A606-4 creates that protective layer as the material continues to patina. Standard carbon steel will rust but it will not have the beautiful colors that come from A606-4. COR-TEN steel gets its properties from a careful manipulation of the alloying elements added to steels during the production process. It has a combination of Cr (chromium), Cu (copper), Si (silicon), and P (phosphorus), the amounts depending on the properties required. COR-TEN steel works by controlling the rate at which O2 (oxygen) in the atmosphere can react with the surface of the steel. The rusting of a steel takes place in the presence of air and water, resulting in the product of corrosion which is the iron oxide. Non-weather resisting steels have a relatively porous oxide layer, which can hold moisture and promote further corrosion. After a certain time (dependent on conditions), this rust layer delaminates from the surface of the steel, exposing the surface and causing more damage.
Corten sign showing 'the stables'
Corten fence with dandelion cutout

What's the lifetime of COR-TEN? There is no definitive answer to this question. It depends on the environment and the way in which it was installed. Many projects using bare cold rolled and Corten products were installed in excess of forty years ago and there are no problems. Corten will have a longer life-span than bare cold rolled steel. One of the most common problems is using a light gauge steel. Using a heavier gauge steel is the most important thing you can do to increase the longevity of Corten steel.