Nowadays, we find products made of metals or alloys of them everywhere. At a residential, commercial, industrial level and even at an artistic and decorative level.
Within the variety that we have, there is a very important alloy that is present in almost any type of environment, since thanks to its physical and mechanical properties, it is the ideal option for a variety of projects.
In this post, we will teach you about stainless steel, its properties, uses and much more. To start, let’s answer the following question:
Stainless steel is a type of material that is obtained from the combination of steel with materials such as chrome, nickel or zinc. The amount of material added to the steel is usually between 10% and 12% of the total mass of the mix. The end result of this process is an alloy with unique properties.
It is a very important material in modern life. It has applications in much of the heavy industry, in the food industry and plays an important role in the field of construction. It is an attractive material that provides excellent properties required at a structural and decorative level.
Here are some of the main characteristics and properties of this material:
This is a type of alloy derived from solid steel and not an applied surface coating. In general, one comes to think that the stainless finish of this alloy is achieved thanks to the application of a protective layer on it, but this is a mistake. The application of a protective layer of chrome or zinc to a metallic surface corresponds to a surface finishing treatment. This bath does not provide the same properties as a full stainless steel alloy.
It has a high resistance to corrosion and oxidation. This resistance is achieved thanks to a layer generated by chromium to a large extent and that serves as a passive protective element that covers the base steel.
It has good manufacturing properties that facilitate the manufacture of fittings and accessories, good weldability and good cold forming. Additionally, it is a material that can be laminated to various thicknesses.
It is a material that is easy to clean.
It is also very attractive and brings modernity and elegance to spaces. Besides, it is a hygienic alloy and thanks to this characteristic it covers various types of demands at an industrial level.
It has a good cost-benefit ratio and is easy and cheap to maintain. These factors are important because they provide greater durability to products made of stainless steel.
It has a tensile strength limit of 210-230 MPa, which can vary depending on the type of stainless steel available.
It is a recyclable alloy that generates a low negative impact on the environment. This point is vital in any project that aims to be friendly to the environment and contribute to slowing down current climate and pollution problems.
There is a wide variety when we talk about stainless steel. This is mainly due to the type of elements used in the mixture with steel. At a commercial level, 4 families of stainless steels are mainly known:
It is a family of cheap steels made up of ferritic elements and which, among other things, are magnetic. When we talk about the fact that they are cheaper, it is because in this type of steel the resistance to corrosion is lower, but they have unique properties that can be used in engineering.
In the case of this family, the main feature is its metallographic structure, dominated by martensite. They are a family of stainless steel that have good resistance to corrosion and are magnetic.
This is probably the best known family of stainless steel. AISI 304 and AISI 316 stainless steels are part of this family and are very popular thanks to their characteristic properties, among which are: high resistance to corrosion, good appearance, easy maintenance and cleaning, durability, among others.
Finally we have duplexes, which bear this name because they are the result of combining elements of a ferritic and austenitic structure. They maintain the excellent resistance to corrosion of austenitic steels and surpass the durability and toughness of the previous ones.
Stainless steel is a material that can be used in a myriad of applications at a commercial, industrial and home level. It is mainly used in the following areas:
In the food and pharmaceutical industry, thanks to its hygienic properties. In the mining and oil industry. It is also commonly used in fuel depots and in activities related to the handling of chemical products.
In the field of architecture and construction branches, it plays a fundamental role. Its physical and mechanical properties make it an ally for large jobs. It is also essential in the manufacture of glass facades for buildings, elevators, modular stairs, subway cars, among other works.
It is a recurring material in the manufacture of bus stops, telephone booths and other public structures with personalized designs.
In architectural or construction works, stainless steel can oxidize in the presence of atmospheric humidity, leaving it covered with stains. The protective layer prevents the steel from corroding, but it is not exempt from damage. To ensure that the material is in good condition, it is necessary to perform certain tasks:
First of all, it is recommended to clean with water, soap, mild or neutral detergents. Stainless steel cleaners mixed with water, applied with a cloth or sponge, can also be used.
It is important to dry the surface of the material, thus avoiding stains. Outdoors, rainwater is an ally, since it eliminates the accumulation of minerals and part of the environmental contamination.
Finally, it is important to carry out the following tasks before installing stainless steel components: Fixing and cleaning ceramic elements, tiles, masonry, wall paste and painting work.
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