Stainless steel is one of the most versatile metals around. Firstly, this metal is easy to work on whereby many people use it for various industrial purposes. Most importantly, it is both durable and affordable.
Some of its primary uses are electronics. The metal has both high value and demand in the market. This write-up will examine the strength as well as its usefulness, plus, everything you need to know. Let dig a little deeper.
What is Stainless Steel?
Well, stainless steel is term that groups iron-based alloys. In other words, it is metal which features a combination of two or more elements. They also contain at least 10.5% chromium. The role of chromium in stainless steel is to make it corrosion-resistant.
The chromium is an element that forms a thin layer on stainless steel, also known as the passive layer. This passive layer will resist corrosion and prevent rust from foaming.
Still, the same alloy should have 1.2 % carbon for it to be a correct standard of stainless steel. Beyond that, stainless steel has a combination of other elements in different proportions. They include titanium, silicon, nickel, nitrogen, molybdenum, and niobium.
Overall, stainless steel takes different combinations of various metal elements. The different combinations will give rise to multiple properties of stainless steel.
Properties of Stainless Steel Metal
1. Tough and Shiny
Since the stainless steel has a chromium combination, it gives it an anti- staining and corrosion-resistant features. The manufacturers usually vary the amount of chromium concentration in each product. The nature of the application to the final product dictates it all.
It is noteworthy that stainless steel may not be entirely stain-proof or corrosion-resistant. Any other resistances will also depend on other chemicals used. Let that not discourage you as stainless steel will give you the best stain and corrosion resistance properties.
There are different grades and finishes for a particular metal. They include:
- 200 Series Austenitic: Such a series comes with a combination of carbon, manganese, chromium and nickel. You can still harden this series. Unluckily is not resistant to corrosion.
- 300 Series Austenitic: It is the most popular series that makes up 70% of stainless steel produced. You will distinguish it from the rest due to its flexibility, corrosion resistance and welding properties. Still, the most prominent grade is 304. If the same grade has 18% chromium and 8% nickel content, you can refer 304 as 18/8.
- Ferritic: You can use ferritic due to its natural engineering properties. It has less corrosion resistance properties.
- Duplex: It a combination of 50% ferritic and 50% autestinic although it is two times stronger than austenitic.
- Martensitic: It is a durable metal that is easy for machines. It has a weak resistance to corrosion.
3. ¼ inch Depth
The sheet metal is ordinarily thin, but a more robust sheet metal will have a depth of ¼ inch. You can use a gauge to measure the thickness. A high gauge number will imply a thinner sheet.
Can Stainless Steel Rust?
You will be entirely wrong if you think that stainless steel cannot rust. Luckily, its chemical make-up makes it less likely to experience rust. Do you know that one type of corrosion to this metal is rusting?
Suppose you use it in a restaurant, some chemicals will result in corrosion. Specifically, it can rust when exposed to corrosive agents, a process known as pitting. The tiny pits will appear on the surface. If unchecked, they distort the general outlook of the metal.
It is vital to choose the right stainless steel metal for your particular application. Furthermore, you should give it proper maintenance to eliminate any possible chances of corrosion.
Factors that Affect Stainless Steel to Rust
a) Alloy Element
Typically, if the rust has a chromium content of 10.5%, the stainless steel may not rust easily. If the metal has a high content of chromium and Nickel concentration, the higher the corrosion resistance properties it will possess.
For instance, suppose the nickel concentration on 304 is 8-10, and the chromium content is 18-20 %, the said combination makes it difficult to rust naturally.
b) Melting Process
If the metal undergoes an elaborate process of melting, it may not be prone to rust. It should undergo right smelting technology and use advanced equipment. The process should adequately remove impurities and take advantage of billet cooling temperature.
As a result of this advanced process, it makes the metal stable and resists rust by a great deal. If the small steel plants use inferior technology, they produce sub-standard metals. If the smelting process fails to remove impurities, the end product will not resist any rust effectively.
c) External Environment
If you expose your stainless steel under proper ventilation and dry air, it will likely fail to rust at all. Unfortunately, if you present it to a high humidity air, or else continuous weather, it may rust.
Other factors include exposing your stainless metal on an air that has strong acid or alkaline combination. For example, if you put 305 stainless steel in a poor surrounding, it will quickly rust.
How to Handle Rusting In Stainless Steel?
Stainless steel will indeed rust under some specific conditions. You can prevent your metal from rusting by performing the following actions.
- It is vital to scrub the surface of the metal frequently to eliminate the attachments as well as removing particular external factors that may cause rust.
- You should avoid using 201 and 202 stainless steel around the coastal region. It may be suitable for industrial use without any air pollution.
- If you are operating on the seaside areas, it is essential to use 304 stainless steel metal. The stainless steel can prevent any corrosion and rust from occurring.
How Will You Handle Rust?
As you use stainless steel, you will encounter rust in the process. You can use various methods to eliminate that rust from the metal. Let’s take a closer look at them.
1. Chemical Methods
You can use the pickling paste to remove the rust from the metal. You can spray to remove the rust and reform the film known a chrome oxide which will improve its corrosion resistance functions.
Once you are through with pickling, you can use water to properly wash the metal to remove acid residue and other contaminants. When you complete the process, use the polishing equipment to begin polishing. Or even better, you can reseal with polish wax.
Suppose your case was local mid rust, use engine oil mixture and gasoline at the ratio of 1:1. Such will also eliminate rusts on your metal.
2. Mechanical Methods
Another effective method which you can use to eliminate ruts is by physical means. Do you know that iron particles, when exposed to humid areas, are prone to rust? It would be best if you cleaned the surface of your metal in dry condition.
Unfortunately, when you use this mechanical method, it will only clean the surface. In other words, it will not increase the corrosion properties of the metal. You can combine the two methods for effectiveness. You start by the mechanical way and later repolish with a chemical formula.
Uses of Stainless Steel
The stainless steel has many applications since it gives secure options to manipulate it. It also depends on the type of grade you may be using. If you are using thin sheets, observe maximum care to prevent burning or warping.
On the other side, a thick sheet is always challenging to bend. You should use a proper machine cutter to cut your sheet into the right sizes. Some of the uses of stainless steel areas listed below:
They are two factors that affect you, when welding the stainless sheet. They are heat distribution or thickness. If it is a thin material, as you apply too much heat, it may likely to warp the metal. As a result, there is a danger of burning.
You can use MIG welding to control the amount of heat to the ideal metal. The engineer should be in a position to evenly distribute the heat and allow adequate cooling of the metal.
Since technology is ever-improving, you can cut your sheet using high-tech lasers. Other old methods of cutting are a hacksaw, and band saw, or jigsaw. It is vital to file the burs whenever you handle the sheet.
Bending is another aspect that will determine the use of stainless material. These sheets are easy to perform any bend. Interestingly, you can bend them by using the hand. For thicker metals, you may require a bending tool.
Stainless steel has various applications. It can construct the following items:
- Medical equipment
- Foodservice items
- Construction items
- Heavy industry
Stainless Steel in Foodservice Operations
The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) defined different grading of steel. By grading this steel, it will indicate the properties and the composition of each iron. The following are the most common grades in the food industry.
SAE 304 is among the popularly used stainless steel. Typically, it is a combination of 18% Chromium and 8 per cent of nickel. There is a portion of manganese for food measure. Such an arrangement makes people refer to it as 18/8 steel.
The metal is non-magnetic with high resistance to corrosion. Its uses in the food industry involves making of sinks, stoves, refrigerators, coffee urns and work tables. Some other numerous small wares include pans, pots and utensils.
It is austenitic steel that is less expensive but similar to 304. Interestingly, this type of grade may provide similar uses as 304 stainless steel. The food industry is gradually accepting it as an ideal material.
One distinctive feature about SAE 430 is that it lacks nickel but offers a high-resistance to corrosion. Luckily, it has a high concentration of chromium. Its usage involves some specific good that does well in a less corrosive environment.
Some of the items that use this grade are lower end sinks, panels in refrigerators, tables and ovens.
It is ferritic steel which has particular uses in medical industries. It has a high resistance to corrosion and also magnetic. Most of the designers rarely use it in the food industry. It has high properties that make it costly as compared to other grades.
Its application features highly corrosive items for a particular usage.
Galvanized Steel versus Stainless Steel
Some people may argue that galvanized steel is similar to stainless steel. They are wrong. For galvanized steel, it only has a steel coating to prevent corrosion. As for stainless steel, it is usually a blend of chromium and other metal elements to create an alloy.
It is a fact that galvanized steel may be weaker than stainless steel. Moreover, galvanized steel happens to be cheaper. Most of the players in the food industry use it for various functions.
Some refrigerators have the external made out of stainless steel. The same refrigerator will have a galvanized steel in the interior. Such cases are common in the steel products market.
For commercial applications, the stainless steel interior is what professional food services want.
Stainless steel is one of the precious metals in the industries. It comes in different grades with enviable prosperities. You should take advantage of its versatility to make out different products for different needs.
Are you a player in foodservice? If your answer is in the affirmative, then you should also consider using stainless products. They’re ordinarily stain and corrosion resistant hence will not compromise your health issues.
Before you use the stainless steel metal, it would be best if you understood its properties. Once you acquire all the facts about the metal, you will not abuse its functions. What does that mean? You will correctly apply it to where it suits perfectly.
Stainless steel is a strong and durable that can restore the value for your money. You should consider buying stainless steel products as a guarantee for prolonged usage.