General Properties of stainless steel
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 building envelope, interior design and urban furniture.
Stainless steel has strong mechanical properties at ambient temperatures in comparison with other materials, which is a distinct adavantage for Building and Construction applications: it enables a reduction of weight per square metre or longer sections for structures. In particular it combines ductility, elasticity and hardness, enabling it to be used in difficult metal forming modes, while offering resistance to heavy wear (friction, abrasion, impact, elasticity...). Furthermore, stainless steel can be worked in winter temperatures without embrittlement which allows a longer laying period.
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. Stainless steel is ranked A2s1d0 for fire resistance with no toxic fume emissivity.
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.
Stainless steel items are easy to clean, usual cleaning products (detergents, soap powders) are sufficient and do not damage the surface.
Stainless steel is the “green material” par excellence and is infinitely recyclable. Within the construction sector, its actual recovery rate is close to 100%. It is environmentally neutral and inert when in contact with elements such as water, it does not leach compounds that might modify their composition.These qualities make it a material which is ideally suited to building applications exposed to adverse weather: roofs, facades, rainwater recovery systems and domestic water pipes. Stainless steel’s longevity fulfils the requirements of sustainable construction: effective selection, installation and low maintenance guarantee the user unrivalled service life.
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…)