One of the advantages of stainless steel, in terms of cables, is that it is available in a range of alloys. This makes it extremely versatile and explains why it is seen in so many different places. Another use of stainless steel is that it is used in the manufacture of surgical instruments.
During this article, we will discover just how many uses steel cable and indeed stainless steel has. If you click here, you can find out even more about its applications in terms of steel cable manufacture.
In exploring the properties and different types of stainless steel we should come across just why it is used in so many industrial and domestic situations.
What Properties Does Stainless Steel Possess to Extend its Use?
Stainless steel is the name given to a family of iron-based alloys that have a reputation for being resistant to corrosion and heat. It is the fact that stainless steel has a minimum chromium content of 10.5% that provides it with superior corrosion resistance when compared to other steels.
So, you can see that any industries where the cables will be out in all weathers, including marine activities on a ship, will benefit from a cable that is manufactured from stainless steel. Any form of corrosion will cause a mechanical mechanism to seize up and jam in its operation.
Steel, in general, is used because it provides better support to the strands of cables and helps them to retain a better shape as well as distribute the stresses between the individual wires. Alloys of stainless steel frequently used include 304, as the most common, followed by 302, 316, and 321.
It is the range of alloys possible that means the stainless steel can have different uses for different industries.
Three Main Categories of Stainless Steel
Stainless steel comes in three main types to satisfy the demands of the different industries.
Austenitic Stainless Steel – Its high chromium content gives it higher corrosion resistance. So, it is a material for all weathers. This means that the marine industry and aviation can make great use of the material. Another use is that it is non-magnetic, although may become so following cold working. These non-magnetic properties extend stainless steel’s use. Watch movements, for instance, can be adversely affected by magnets. Grade 316 is used where there is high exposure to salt, so for the marine industry, whereas Grade 304 is frequently used in the manufacture of wire baskets because of its versatility.
Ferritic Stainless Steel – This type of stainless steel is magnetic. Cold working will harden the alloys. Their reduced nickel content will tend to make this type of steel less expensive and so make it affordable to industry. Grade 430 is especially resistant to nitric acid for use in the chemical industry, while Grade 434 provides a stronger alternative in terms of tensile strength.
Martensitic Stainless Steel – This is the least common type of stainless-steel alloy. Its corrosion resistance is lower than with either austenitic or ferritic stainless steel. It does have high hardness, however. It has a use for an industry where exceptionally high tensile strength and impact resistance is important. A protective polymer coating can be applied to help with corrosion resistance when this type of stainless steel is used. Grade 420 will have mild resistance to acid despite not being as chemically resistant as either the austenitic or ferritic stainless-steel alloys. Its resistance to at least mild acids, some alkalis, and also food compounds, makes it an ideal type of stainless steel for the manufacture of cutlery. Where tensile strength and impact resistance are of great concern, 420 represents a top choice.
Further Applications for Stainless Steel
In addition to the above uses for stainless steel, it also has a use in architecture when it comes to bridges, sculptures, and monuments, and for the automotive industry with regards to vehicle bodywork. The DeLorean car, made famous by the Back to The Future films, had panels made from brushed SS304 austenitic stainless steel. This applied to all the cars that left the factory in the 1980s, except for three that were plated in 24-carat gold. All the others left without paint or clearcoat covering them. The corrosion resistance of stainless steel made it possible. The brand was short-lived, but many of the cars are still in existence to be admired, with their iconic gull-wing design.
In summary, the applications for stainless steel range from its use for mechanical cabling that is out in all weathers, its properties that make surgical instruments and cutlery, its strength for outdoor structures, as well as the part it plays in the marine, automotive, and aerospace sectors. This is just scratching the surface of stainless steel’s many applications for use in industry and domestic life.