Stainless steel is 100% 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 in the kitchen, on the road, at the doctor’s office, or in a building, stainless steel is everywhere.
In this blog, I will cover some of this versatile metal’s common traits, products, and applications.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN STAINLESS AND REGULAR STEEL?
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.
Similar to ordinary steel, stainless steel is a poor conductor of electricity (especially when compared to a material such as copper with higher electrical conductivity).
WHAT ARE STAINLESS STEEL PRODUCTS AND APPLICATIONS?
Most often, stainless steel is used for applications requiring steel’s unique properties and corrosion resistance. You will find this alloy milled into coils, sheets, plates, bars, wire, and tubing. Here are some examples of common stainless steel uses:
- 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
IS STAINLESS STEEL CORROSION-RESISTANT?
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 often unaffected in damp or acidic environments, other metals in those environments often experience galvanic corrosion.
WHAT TYPE OF STAINLESS STEEL DOES MEAD METALS STOCK?
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.
301 STAINLESS STEEL 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.
302/304 STAINLESS STEEL TRAITS
AISI 302/304 is austenitic and known for delivering even greater corrosion and heat resistance than 301 stainless steel. It is ideal for applications that employ laser and etching processes. It is sometimes referred to as A2 stainless.