What are the Different Characteristics of Stainless Steel?
Stainless steel is an iron alloy which has 10.5% chromium. The chromium forms a thin coating of oxide on the steel surface which is called the passive layer. This chromium coating helps to protect steel from corrosion on the surface and contribute to its durability. The resistance to corrosion is directly proportional to chromium present on the steel. Stainless steel is grey in color and has a smooth surface. It also contains silicon, carbon, and manganese in varying amounts.
Stainless steel has an amazing self-healing property. In case, the surface is damaged or scratched, this thin chromium layer immediately reconstructs with the help of oxygen from the air or water. This is the main reason why stainless steel remains bright and shiny even after decades of use.
There are different characteristics of stainless steel. Have a look-
- Corrosion Resistant: Good corrosion resistance is an amazing feature of the stainless-steel items. Low alloy grades or chromium can resist the corrosion in different climate conditions. Higher alloys absorb corrosion by most of the acids, chloride environments, and alkaline solutions.
- Simple Construction of Stainless Steel: Most of the stainless-steel types can be fabricated using standard methods and equipment. It can easily cut, welded, machined and molded to form different shapes.
- Better Temperature Resistance: Some stainless-steel types can bear clambering and maintain high strength at very high temperatures. Some stainless-steel grades retain wonderful mechanical properties at very low temperatures.
- Aesthetic Appearance: Stainless steel can be used with a different range of surface finishes. To give the desired look it can be polished after fabrication. The finish of the stainless steel is easy to clean and retain, and it one of the best characteristics of stainless.
- High Strength: To take the advantage of the work hardening of stainless steels, the fabrication methods and component designs can be altered. The high strengths enable the use of thinner material, resulting in lower weights as well as costs. Another grade stainless steel can be heat treated to improve the strength.
- Hygiene and Ease of Cleaning: Stainless steel is non-toxic and can be cleaned easily after use. This makes it the perfect choice of material for use in kitchens, hospitals, food & drink packing, and pharmaceutical processing plants.
- Easily Recyclable: This metal is completely recyclable. The new stainless steel generally has 50- 80% recycled material. The best thing is that the scrap stainless steel can be stored without deprivation to its value as the raw material.
Uses of Stainless Steel
Stainless steel is used for residential and industrial use. It can be used for sinks, washing machine drum, utensils, microwave oven liners. The uses of stainless steel in civil engineering are door and window fittings cladding, handrails, street furniture, reinforcement bar, structural sections, lighting columns etc. In transport, it can be used in exhaust systems, road tankers, car trim/grilles, ship containers, refuse vehicles, ships chemical tankers etc.