Metal fabrication is one of the most important industrial practices in the world. It plays an integral role in the production of many household items which we have become so dependent on using. The process of metal fabrication touches many industries vital to today’s economy, our lives simply wouldn’t be the same without it
In this article, we’ll look at stainless steel, a key material used within metal fabrication. Stainless steel has many qualities which appeal to a wide array of industries such as hospitality, medicine and food production. Did you know that stainless steel is so tactile, that it can become a wearable item? Or perhaps that stainless steel is one of the most recycled materials on the planet. Let’s take a look at why stainless steel is such a popular material to work with.
Resistance to Corrosion
Corrosion can occur on all metals, some metals like iron and aluminium can corrode quickly if left untreated and in an environment that encourages corrosion. On the other hand, a small group of metals known as the ‘Noble Metals’ corrode very slowly and can be found naturally in their purest form, whilst they’re highly resistant to corrosion, factors like price and strength make them less desirable for common use. Noble metals include; silver, gold, platinum, rhodium and palladium.
Stainless steel is corrosive resistant metal comprised of iron and other alloys. Due to its availability, and resistance to corrosion, stainless steel is one of the most widely used metals in the world. There are various classes of stainless steel, including: austenitic, ferritic, Duplex (ferritic-austenitic) and precipitation-hardening (PH). Austenitic stainless steel is the class most resistant to corrosion, with type 316 stainless steel being the most commonly used grade in highly corrosive environments.
Stainless steel type 304 is one of the most popular austenitic grades used in metal fabrication for the creation of equipment for processing mild chemical, food and beverage products. Type 304 features an excellent combination of corrosion resistance, strength and workability.
Easy to Work With
Another reason for stainless steel’s popularity is the fact that it’s very easy to work with. Material that is likely to crack or break under stress may be too difficult to fabricate, and this is where the flexibility of stainless steel becomes invaluable. Ferritic stainless-steel grades (in the 400 series) typically have a chromium content of 10-30%, and are very easy to weld and are resistant to stress and cracking.
Across the metal fabrication industry, stainless steel is renowned for its ability to withstand extreme heat, this makes it the ideal material for welding. Resistance to oxidisation in stainless steel is dependent upon its chromium content. Typically, stainless steel containing above 18% chromium can withstand temperatures up to 870°C with some grades like 310, 309 and 2111HTR withstanding temperatures of up to 1150°C.
Stainless Steel is Sustainable
In recent years, sustainability has become a hot subject. As we deplete the resources of the world it is important that increase recycling. The most eco-friendly materials are those which are resistant to corrosion and also durable. According to Earth911, stainless steel, and all metal for that matter, can be recycled over and over again, without the quality diminishing.
Easy to Clean
Our final advantage to using stainless steel in metal fabrication is that it is easy to clean.
Stainless steel is non-porous, meaning that no air or liquid is able to pass through it. This combined with its resistance to corrosion, strength and durability, make it the perfect material for settings where food is processed. Its no surprise that commercial kitchens are packed full of stainless steel, used in everything from work surfaces, to utensils and appliances.
Radshape Sheetmetal Fabrication
Radshape Sheetmetal is a metal fabrication company based in the heart of Birmingham, UK.
Established in 1967, Radshape has worked on countless metal fabrication projects and have a wealth of experience. If your project requires expertise on anything and everything metal, don’t hesitate to call our friendly advisors on +44 (0) 121 242 3323, alternatively, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.