How Good Is Stainless Steel

Stainless Steel
Category : Door Hardware
Date : 12/06/2019

304 And 316 Are The Two Most Common Grades Of Stainless Steel

Judging by the name, you might assume that stainless steel never stains-but you would be wrong.

Stainless steel stains less easily than other iron-based metals, but it is not literally "stainless". Just like standard steel, stainless can be marked by fingerprints and grease, develop discoloration, and eventually rust.

The difference is resilience.

Stainless steel can withstand much more time and abuse before showing signs of wear. All steels have the same basic iron and carbon composition, but stainless steel also contains a healthy dose of chromium-the alloy that gives stainless steel its famous corrosion resistance. And this is where things get complicated.

There are multiple grades under the stainless steel umbrella, each with slightly different alloy composition, and therefore slightly different physical characteristics.

Stainless steel must contain at least 10.5 percent chromium. Depending on the grade, it may contain much higher chromium levels, and additional alloying ingredients like molybdenum, nickel, titanium, aluminum, copper, nitrogen, phosphorous and selenium.

The two most common stainless steel grades are 304 and 316.

The key difference is the addition of molybdenum-an alloy which drastically enhances corrosion resistance, especially for more saline or chloride-exposed environments. 316 stainless steel contains molybdenum, but 304 doesn't.

For outdoor furnishings like rails and bollards, stainless steel is an ideal corrosion-resistant material, but it will only withstand long-term exposure if the grade is appropriate for its environment. 304 is an economical and practical choice for most environments, but it does not have the chloride resistance of 316.

The slightly higher price point of 316 is well worth it in areas with high chloride exposure, especially the coast and heavily salted roadways.

Each application for stainless steel has its own unique demands, and needs a stainless steel that is up to the task.



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