Stainless steel has many unique values that are often underestimated by engineers and designers because of the viewed perception of the higher initial cost of the material. However because stainless steel is one of the most durable metals we have, over the total life of a project it’s by far one of the best options. Aside from its longevity what other properties does stainless steel possess? Let’s take a closer look.
First what exactly is it?
Essentially it’s a low-carbon steel which contains a high percentage of chromium. It’s this addition of chromium which tends to gives the metal its stainless, non-corrosive properties. The chromium content contained within the steel forms a type of barrier or oxide film which protects the metal. If this film is damaged either chemically or mechanically it has self healing properties that can reseal the protective barrier around the metal. There are many grades of stainless steel (over 60 in fact) but generally speaking they can be divided into 5 classes each one being identified by the main elements contained within that affect the metal’s micro-structure
So what are the benefits of stainless steel?
Heat and fire resistance
Certain grades of stainless steel are particularly resistant to high degrees of heat and as a result will maintain both strength and structure when exposed.
The easy clean properties of stainless steel makes it the ideal solution for areas with strict hygiene conditions. This includes food preparation areas such as those used in hospitals, abattoirs, kitchens and many food processing plants.
Strength to weight ratio
Because of the properties of stainless steel, it’s incredibly strong yet relatively light when compared to other metals such as iron. Therefore from a weight perspective you don’t need as much of it to achieve the same type of results and it can therefore offer good value for money.
One of the biggest benefits of stainless steel is that it won’t stain, rust, or corrode as easily as standard steel or iron would. In addition higher grades of stainless steel alloy can resist corrosion in both acid and alkaline solutions too. This means that it’s the perfect material for use in many chemical processing plants.
Perhaps the most telling benefit of stainless steel is that it’s 100% recyclable. It’s often made by melting down and re-using scrap metals and what’s more it can be recycled time and time again without affecting or weakening the property of the material. At present around 50% of the world’s stainless steel is manufactured using recyclable materials but it’s hoped that by 2050 this figure is going to be much closer to 100%, making it one of the most eco-friendly materials on the planet.
Because of the flexibility of stainless steel it can be pressed to form metal sheets, rolled to form stainless steel pipes, and shaped to form intricate designs which are ideal for complex machinery. For this reason, stainless steel is used on a comprehensive array of items from high rise contemporary mega-structures through to household items such as kettles and toasters. In fact stainless steel is everywhere.
If you have a design project involving stainless steel and you need to seek a good fabricator then look no further than Metro Steel. We deliver what you want, when you want it, so why not give us a call on 07 3204 1000 right now! Alternatively, if you’re in the Deception Bay area of Queensland then why not pop into our premises for a chat. Whatever you decide, we look forward to hearing from you.