Stainless steel is 100 percent recyclable, easy to sterilize, and used in many applications. In fact, ordinary citizens interact with products made of stainless steel on a daily basis. Whether we're in the kitchen, on the road, at the doctor's office, or in our buildings, stainless steel is there too. Today, I'll be covering some of the common traits, products, and applications of this versatile metal. Hit save when you are done.
Unlike ordinary steel, stainless steel isn't prone to corrosion, rusting, or staining with exposure to water. But this isn't to say it's completely stain-proof. In areas with low oxygen, high salinity, or poor air circulation, stainless steel is vulnerable to staining.
Like ordinary steel, stainless steel is a poor conductor of electricity. For comparison, its electrical conductivity is much lower than that of copper.
Common Stainless Steel Products and Applications
Most often, stainless steel is used for applications requiring the unique properties of steel along with resistance to corrosion. You'll find this alloy milled into coils, sheets, plates, bars, wire, and tubing. It is most often made into:
- Culinary uses
- Kitchen sinks
- Surgical tools and medical equipment
- Surgical implants
- Temporary crowns (dentistry)
- Architecture (pictured above: Chrysler Building)
- Monuments and sculptures
- Airport roofs
- Automotive and aerospace applications
- Auto bodies
- Rail cars
Stainless Steel Corrosion Resistance
Stainless steel in the 300 series is resistant to weaker bases like ammonium hydroxide - even in high concentrations and at high temperatures. However, these same steels, when exposed to stronger bases like sodium hydroxide, are vulnerable to etching and cracking. While stainless steel is oftentimes unaffected in damp or acidic environments, other metals in contact with it in those environments oftentimes experience galvanic corrosion.
Stainless Steel Carried by Mead Metals
Mead Metals regularly carries Stainless Steel in AISI 301 and AISI 302/304 in sheet and coil. We may carry additional grades at any given time, so feel free to contact us if you require another grade of stainless steel.
AISI 301 Traits
AISI 301 is known to harden through the cold working process more quickly than other grades. It has excellent corrosion and heat resistance, and it is especially well-suited for applications requiring drawing, stamping, or forming.
AISI 302/304 Traits
AISI 302/304 is austenitic, and it is known for delivering even greater corrosion and heat resistance than 301 stainless steel. It is ideal for applications which employ laser and etching processes. It is sometimes referred to as A2 stainless.