Stainless steel facts: Which grade is right for you?
Steel is one of the most common architectural and construction materials in the world, but there are actually lots of different types. Here are some stainless steel facts about two of the most popular varieties, 304 and 316 stainless steel.
What is stainless steel?
Stainless steel is a type of steel that contains a component called chromium (minimum 10.5%) which makes it highly resistant to rust and tarnishing. The more chromium the steel contains, the higher the corrosion resistance of the metal.
Additional alloys such as nickel can also be added, to tailor the properties of the stainless steel to its environment. That’s why there are over 150 different grades of stainless steel.
Stainless steel facts & benefits
- Stainless steel is highly corrosion resistant, making it ideal for wet environments.
- It is resistant to fire and heat and is non-porous. That’s why you will find it in applications where hygiene is paramount.
- It is actually ‘self-repairing’ thanks to the invisible chromium film that is naturally formed on the surface of the steel when exposed to oxidising environments. When punched, pierced or scratched, the film is automatically repaired.
- It can be easily cut, shaped and machined, even made into very thin wire, without losing any of its strength and durability. Which makes it the ideal metal for perforated metal and wire mesh.
- It is environmentally friendly. Not only does stainless steel have a long life thanks to its durability, it is a 100% recyclable metal, containing around 60% recycled content.
What is 304 grade stainless steel?
304 grade stainless steel is one of the most common types of stainless steel, accounting for over 50% of all stainless steel produced according to the Australian Stainless Steel Development Association (ASSDA).
It contains both chromium and nickel, making it highly-corrosive resistant in most environmental conditions. 304 is the type of stainless steel you find in architecture and in your kitchen, used for cutlery, appliances, pots and pans.
What is 316 grade stainless steel?
Containing chromium, nickel and a component called molybdenum, 316 stainless steel has greater corrosion resistance compared to 304 stainless steel, especially against acids and chlorides such as saltwater.
This makes it ideal for architectural projects in coastal environments.
304 vs 316 stainless steel – which is right for me?
Choosing the right grade of stainless steel is vital to ensure the longevity and performance of the material for your project. 304 stainless steel is suited to most architecture uses, unless the metal products will be in a corrosive-rich environment such as marine locations.
Posted: July 29, 2019