Have you ever considered using stainless steel for its fire resistance properties?
Stainless steel is one of the most extensively used metals in the world and we’re probably all aware of the reasons for that. From its remarkable durability to its resistance to rust, plus its timeless appeal, stainless steel (SS) is the prime choice for industrial application.
One factor, however, that isn’t so often touched upon is the fact that stainless steel has fire and heat resistance properties. This is why, for this post, we thought we’d talk a little more about the fire resistance of stainless steel.
Why is fire resistance so important?
Due to larger amounts of synthetic materials used in industrial premises and modern residential properties, fires burn faster than they used to. One tiny flame can rapidly escalate into an inferno, placing lives and properties at risk.
For this reason, architects and engineers have to make important decisions regarding the design and choice of the materials which will be used in a construction project. The best design is one that utilises fire-safe materials wherever it can, i.e. those materials which can prevent, resist, contain, and deter fire.
Stainless steel fire resistance qualities
Stainless steel has several fire-resistant qualities, namely:
- Does NOT aid the spread of flames
- Is not ignitable
- Possesses high oxidation resistance even when temperatures are high
Stainless steel has exceptional fire resistance. There’s no danger of it burning and it only starts to melt when temperatures reach around 1400˚C.
While stainless steel is lacking an official fire rating, numerous tests have been carried out that determine its resistance compared to other metals.
Time and time again, Stainless Steel has shown itself to be a superior choice for fire safety and prevention. Ultimately, this is the main reason that stainless steel is used so extensively.
Grade 316 Stainless Steel – A Safe Choice
Although all stainless-steel alloy resists oxidation, this is at various points. For example, the more chromium is present in a steel alloy, the more resistance to oxidation is improved in high temperatures.
While 316-grade stainless has a slightly lower chromium content than 304-grade stainless steel, it’s often preferred because it has a far superior resistance to corrosion because of the added ingredient molybdenum. For this reason, it’s often the metal of choice in marine environments and other harsh or corrosive situations.
316-grade stainless steel has a slightly lower temperature tolerance than 304-grade stainless steel and will start to melt between 1371-1399˚C as compared to 1399-1454˚C. That said, in the event of a fire, both grades can be expected to maintain their structural integrity.
So, where is 316 stainless steel commonly used?
This grade of stainless steel is regularly used in areas including:
- Marine equipment and body panels
- Architecture in coastal regions
- Petrochemical equipment
- Medical equipment
- Chemist laboratories
- Food preparation areas
Stainless Steel – A Superb Choice for Buildings and Structures Requiring Fire Resistance
Stainless steel with its fire resistance properties and resistance to oxidation means it really is the best choice for constructing structures and buildings. While it lacks an official ‘fire rating’, it’s been proved so many times that it not only withstands high temperatures and fire but also helps prevent a fire from spreading.
If your next project has an emphasis on fire safety and prevention, then why not consider Metro Steel for all your stainless-steel fabrication requirements. We’re conveniently located at 109 Kabi Circuit, Deception Bay, Qld 4508 and have been serving Brisbane and the surrounding areas with quality steel fabrication since 2008. Call us today on (07) 3204 1000 to speak to one of our friendly experts or feel free to drop by.