The many unique values provided by stainless steel make it a powerful candidate in materials selection. Engineers, specifiers and designers often underestimate or overlook these values because of what is viewed as the higher initial cost of stainless steel. However, over the total life of a project, stainless is often the best value option.
Benefits of Stainless Steel
Lower alloyed grades resist corrosion in atmospheric and pure water environments, while high-alloyed grades can resist corrosion in most acids, alkaline solutions, and chlorine bearing environments, properties which are utilized in process plants.
Fire and heat resistance
Special high chromium and nickel-alloyed grades resist scaling and retain strength at high temperatures.
The easy cleaning ability of stainless makes it the first choice for strict hygiene conditions, such as hospitals, kitchens, abattoirs and other food processing plants.
The bright, easily maintained surface of stainless steel provides a modern and attractive appearance.
The work-hardening property of austenitic grades, that results in a significant strengthening of the material from cold-working alone, and the high strength duplex grades, allow reduced material thickness over conventional grades, therefore cost savings.
Ease of fabrication
Modern steel-making techniques mean that stainless can be cut, welded, formed, machined, and fabricated as readily as traditional steels.
The austenitic microstructure of the 300 series provides high toughness, from elevated temperatures to far below freezing, making these steels particularly suited to cryogenic applications.
Long term value
When the total life cycle costs are considered, stainless is often the least expensive material option.