Normal metals are already known to be quite resistant and durable to be used for a lot of applications in the real world, such as in the fields of construction and for various industrial applications. Nevertheless, there are some instances where an even higher strength grading is appreciated, such as in equipment that will be continuously be subjected to high pressures, temperatures and other such extreme working conditions. In these cases, what people have found out is that using alloys is much more advantageous compared to using pure metals.
Alloys are, simply put, a mixture of several materials, typically a base metal combined with a few other metallic or non-metallic materials. Among alloys, the most famous one is undoubtedly the so-called stainless steel alloy. Most stainless steel varieties consist of approximately 70% pure steel, 10-13% chromium and a very small amount of carbon (generally about 0.16%), while possibly containing traces of metals such as manganese and nickel.
Stainless steel is widely used in making highly resistant metallic hardware, such as pipes, frames, light weight ladders, roofing materials and vehicle body panels. There are many reasons why stainless steel is so popular nowadays. One of them is due to its inherent advantages when compared to conventional steel or other types of pure metals:
- Resists Corrosion – While most alloys already provide a high degree of resistance towards the process of rusting, it doesn’t mean that it won’t ever happen. In fact, conventional steel may not be able to totally prevent rusting in extreme weather conditions or when kept in an alkaline or acidic medium. On the contrary, stainless steel has a much higher resistance that allows the construction of corrosive resistant ladders and other rust proof surfaces that are bound to last a very long time.
- Tolerates a Wide Temperature Range – Stainless steel can be used inside a wide range of temperatures, ranging from cryogenic conditions all the way to temperatures close to its melting point, which is as high as 1450 °C. Some varieties offer a high resistance to scaling, which a common problem is found when using other alloys.
- Higher Strength – Keeping a high strength rating almost always requires materials made from alloys to have high thickness, which then leads to an increase in the overall weight. This can be a problem when weight reduction is a primary concern, such as in the case of building vehicles like aeroplanes and cars. By using stainless steel, it is possible to manufacture the same parts while reducing the overall thickness and weight of the part itself. This doesn’t pose a problem as stainless steel has a very high strength rating.