Stainless Steel is a generic term for a group of corrosion resistant steels containing a high percentage of chromium, and which may additionally include nickel, titanium, niobium, molybdenum, and other elements that alter the corrosion resistance and performance in service of the particular grade of steel.
Although there are many types of stainless steel, they are generally categorised in three main groups, Ferritic, Martensitic, and Austenitic.
Austenitic Stainless Steels
It is the Austenitic grades, which are usually specified for construction applications where they provide a high resistance to corrosion attack. This chromium-rich steel is ductile and strong, non-magnetic and can be readily formed and welded, so is widely used in the manufacture of building products.
The reason for this resistance against corrosion is due to the inclusion of Chromium (typically 18% for austenitic grade stainless steel), which creates an invisible chromium rich film adhered tightly to the surface. This passive film is unlike coatings such as paint or galvanising in one very important way. If it is damaged by abrasion or mechanical means such as cutting, it re-forms and continues to protect the steel.
The two main grades of austenitic stainless steel used in Wincro products are 1.4301 (304) and 1.4401 (316). All plate material supplied meets the chemical composition and mechanical property requirements of the new European material standard for stainless steel, BS EN 10088.
Grade 1.4301 (304)
This austenitic grade is the most commonly used as it offers excellent all-round corrosion resistance and is suitable for a broad range of construction applications. It typically contains alloying elements of at least 18% chromium and 8-10% nickel.
Grade 1.4401 (316)
This austenitic grade is recommended for highly corrosive areas such as marine locations or heavily polluted industrial environments. The addition of a small proportion of molybdenum (around 2%) and an increase in the nickel content to 10-13% provide a more robust passive film and hence higher resistance to corrosion.
The majority of Wincro building products require a high degree of corrosion resistance and so are manufactured from austenitic stainless steel 1.4301 (304). Wincro stainless steel product range can be viewed in detail here.
Advantages of using Stainless Steel include;
- Excellent Corrosion Resistance
- High Ductility and Strength
- Life-cycle Costing Benefits
- 100% Recyclable
- Excellent High and Low Temperature Properties
- Good Resistance to Wear and Abrasion
- Good Aesthetic Surface Finish
Material – Study the material, the selection of the correct grade avoids problems in service.
Design – Good design minimises cost and ensures long life.
Surface – Good surface finishes perform well and look good.
Fabrication – Good facilities and techniques are essential for long-term durability and appearance.
For more information, please consult with the BSSA (British Stainless Steel Association).