Stainless steel is a corrosion resistant metal that comes in a variety of grades and surface finishes, it differs from standard carbon steel by the quantity of chromium that’s present in it. Whereas unprotected carbon steel rusts easily when exposed to moisture and air, stainless steel fasteners are different as they contain enough chromium elements to undergo ‘passivation’, whereby an inert layer of chromium-oxide forms on the surface.
How is stainless steel made?
The first step in making stainless steel is melting the raw materials together in an electric arc oven. It takes approximately 8-12hrs of intense heat for the metal to become molten. The next stage is removing excess carbon from the mixture, which is done by processing the liquid metal in an Argon Oxygen Decarburization (AOD) converter. It reduces overall carbon content by adding an oxygen-argon mixture, during the procedure elements such as molybdenum and nickel can be introduced to the AOD converter. Alternatively, a Vacuum Oxygen Decarburization (VOD) converter can be applied in cases where there’s very little carbon content required. The stainless steel metal will also undergo tuning, which allows for adjustment of its chemical composition. In tuning, the metal is moderately stirred in order to remove any unwanted elements and enhance consistency, while still maintaining the necessary composition within the required temperature limits. Finally, it will undergo surface finishing which shall give the metal its shiny look suitable for making various items such as stainless steel fasteners and screws.
How does its strength compare to different metals?
Compared to other metals such as aluminum, steel is 66% denser and thus suitable for duties that involve heavy lifting such as construction. In fact, 440C stainless steel has one of the highest specific strength ratios among metals. For both ultimate tensile strength (UTS) and 2pct yield strength, stainless steel outshines aluminum alloys and other metals. In fact, aluminum falls at the very bottom when it comes to UTS strength. Another interesting property of steel is its elongation capacity, referring to the overall amount that a material expands before fracturing when weight is put on it. Greater elongation means the metal is less susceptible to fracture. Usually, elongation is expressed as total percentage of the length variation over the original measured length. Stainless steel also has a high yield strength, which is basically the tensile load measured per unit area required to bend a metal permanently. It also has a higher ability to resist indention and scratching.
What are its most common applications for stainless steel fasteners?
Due to its immense strength, low maintenance and resistance to corrosion stainless-steel makes the ideal material for various applications. On average, there are more than 150 strains of stainless steel, of which 15 are used in everyday settings both industrial and domestic like stainless steel fasteners. The metal is commonly used in the outer cladding for large high-impact buildings, plus it can also be found in the interiors in form of counter tops, handrails and back splashes among other structures. Stainless steel is also used in the construction of surgical equipment and dental instruments. In summary, stainless steel is a versatile and durable metal with a variety of uses. Stainless steel screws are common in the form of socket head cap screws.