The 5 broad stainless steel categories possess shared properties which make them a virtually universal material, well suited to the challenges of the present day.
Each category and each grade – thanks to its specific composition – is distinguished by specific advantages: having the most extensive range on the market, Stainless Europe can also satisfy your precise needs.
With a minimum chromium content of 10.5%, stainless steel is continuously protected by a passive layer of chromium oxide that forms naturally on the surface through the combination of chromium and moisture in the air. If the surface is scratched, it regenerates itself. This particularity give stainless steels their corrosion resistance.
It has a great variety of surface finishes from matt to bright, including brushed and engraved. It can be embossed or tinted and this makes stainless a unique and aesthetic material. It is often used by architects for urban furniture or building cladding.
Hygiene and foodstuffs
Stainless steel is an inert material that does not alter the characteristics of foodstuffs. It is found everywhere in catering (utensils, dishes, hotplates…) domestic electrical appliances (dish washers, food processors, meat grinders…).
Stainless steel items are easy to clean, usual cleaning products (detergents, soap powders) are sufficient and do not damage the surface. Stainless steel fully meets requirements in fields such as decoration or cooking utensils which require frequent and effective washing.
Stainless steel is a ‘green’ material par excellence: it is infinitely recyclable. The recycling rate of stainless steel is much higher than that of industrial alloys.
Resistance to fire
Stainless steel has the best fire resistance of all metallic materials when used in structural applications, having a critical temperature above 800°C. It is thus very useful in boilers and heating equipment.
Adding elements such as nickel, molybdenum, titanium, and niobium gives stainless steel additional advantages, namely:
- resistance to corrosion in highly corrosive environments
- resistance to oxidation and creep resistance at high temperatures
- strength and ductility at low temperatures
- good mechanical properties
- ease of working (stamping, bending, hydroforming, welding, brazing…)
Stainless steel has strong mechanical properties at ambient temperatures (it is after all steel) in comparison to other materials. But in particular it combines ductility, elasticity and hardness, enabling it to be used in difficult metal forming modes (deep stamping, flat bending, extrusion…) while offering resistance to heavy wear (friction, abrasion, impact, elasticity …). Furthermore, it offers good mechanical behaviour at both low and high temperatures.