From the biggest skyscraper to the smallest zipper, the value of steel cannot be ignored. The strength of stainless steel, its low maintenance, and its resistance to corrosion make this metal a suitable material for a broad range of applications. In addition to having a long life cycle, steel is also a hundred percent recyclable.
Currently, there are more than 150 grades of stainless steel, and fifteen of these are commonly utilized in everyday applications. Steel exists in different forms including sheets, bars, plates, and tubing. All these are used in both domestic and industrial settings. Additionally, a broad range of industries depends on stainless steel including the medical, food and catering, transport, architecture and construction, and the energy industries.
For most of these applications, steel offers the simplest and most effective solution compared to other metals.
Stainless steel is suitable for hygienic environments due to its ability to resist corrosion. Additionally, steel is easily sterilized compared to other metals. For that reason, stainless steel is used in the production of dental and surgical instruments, operating tables, kidney dishes, and other equipment such as steam sterilizers, cannulas, and MRI scanners.
Apart from that, surgical implants, as well as replacement joints like the artificial hips, utilize steel. Stainless plates and pins are utilized in putting the broken bones in place. Therefore, in the medical industry, the value of stainless steel cannot be underestimated.
2. Food and Catering
The significance of stainless steel can also be observed in residential settings. This metal is used in constructing the kitchen accessories, cookware, as well as cutlery. The less ductile steel grades are utilized in making knife blades that have sharp edges. The more ductile grades are used in constructing items which require molding such as grills, cookers, saucepans, and sinks. Stainless steel is also utilized as a material finish for other kitchen appliances like the freezers, refrigerators, dishwashers, and countertops.
Apart from the above application, stainless steel is used in producing and storing food because it does not affect its flavor. The corrosion resistance aspect of stainless steel is instrumental because some foods such as lime or orange juice can be acidic. Additionally, ease of cleaning of the stainless steel equipment and utensils helps in keeping germs at bay. In the production of ice-cream, stainless steel allows for the usage of strong anti-bacteriological cleaning.
3. Automotive Industry
Wrought steels used in engineering are often designed to have some degree of elasticity, ductility, strength, and corrosion resistance. These materials are usually utilized in general manufacturing and engineering sectors, but a huge fraction goes to manufacturing automobiles. Steel accounts for more than fifty percent of the weight ion an average automobile. Advanced high-strength steels, also referred to as AHSS, are utilized in cars. It’s lightweight and requires minimal energy to produce thus minimizing the emission of carbon dioxide.
Different kinds of steels are used for the body engine, doors, steering, gearbox, wheel axles, suspension, and the vehicle’s interior. Apart from the automotive sector, steel is also found in other transport materials like transmissions, trucks, rails, trains, ships, jet engine components, anchor chains, among others.
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4. Architecture and Construction
It was during the art-deco period that stainless steel first emerged as a reliable component in the construction industry. Famously, Chrysler Building’s upper portion was constructed using stainless steel. Due to its flexibility, strength, and resistance to corrosion, this metal is now being used in various constructions. Stainless steel is used in the exterior cladding for high-rise building as well as the interior in the form of countertops, handrails, and backsplashes.
Stainless steel can be welded with ease, is low maintenance, and has an attractive finish, aspects which make it ideal for construction projects. Steel has been featured in high-profile modern architecture such as Singapore’s Helix Bridge, London’s Eurostar Terminal, and New York’s One World Trade Center.
The use of stainless steel is also favored by the shift towards the sustainable building, which mainly consists of ninety percent recycled metal. Stainless steel in grain or polished finish can help in creating natural lighting in a building, thus minimizing the consumption of energy.
Apart from its use in buildings, steel is also commonly used in the construction of bridges. Its strength to weight ratio is so significant when it comes to the construction of massive structures such as bridges. Additionally, its durability aspect enables it to withstand the pressure that may emanate from the weight of pedestrians and cars atop it.
5. Energy and Heavy Industries
The oil, gas, and chemical industries operate in environments that are so demanding and ones that involve so much heat and substances which are highly toxic. For that reason, special stainless steel grades have been developed for use in these industries. These metals feature enhanced resistance to corrosion for use in a variety of temperatures. Additionally, the high-grade stainless steel is crucial in the construction of valves, storage tanks, pipes, among other components.
The super duplex steel is usually employed in heavy industrial applications as a result of its high strength. Usually, super duplex steel is produced in extended sheets to minimize welding. Its higher strength also minimizes the need for additional foundations and support, thus reducing the cost of construction.
In other heavy applications, stainless steel is instrumental in the creation of offshore oil rigs. High-alloyed steels have been effectively used to extract oil due to their ability to resist the highly corrosive nature of crude oil.
The benefits one may get from using steel are countless, and with its remarkable strength to weight ratio, you can rest assured that your project which involves the use of steel will stand the test of time. If any of the above applications are in the works for your upcoming projects, you’ll find it easier working with steel as opposed to any other metal. From the home appliances to stretching bridges to towering skyscrapers, steel is something that will never disappoint!