If you are looking for the best metal for a specific application, you have a wide range of options. For example, aluminum comes with many benefits as does steel and iron. However, stainless steel is a unique type of metal alloy and so is the stainless steel heat treatment process. Let’s look at this metal more closely, to discover how it is made and why it is a valuable part of industry today.
What is Stainless Steel?
Stainless steel is an iron alloy made from about ten percent chromium. Other metals like nickel, copper and titanium are used along with nitrogen and carbon. These alloys give the metal its desired properties.
The initial process often begins with melting scrap steel. Did you know stainless steel can easily be recycled? Over 80 percent of the metal is eventually recycled and more than half comes from recycling today. In many cases, the process is all about melting down used metal to make new so there is no added expense of mining and processing ore.
Metals are processed and separated before melting. Next, carbon content is lowered by a conversion method. Afterward, the alloy metals are added and melted to produce stainless steel. Some materials go through a stainless steel heat treatment process. For annealing, the metal is allowed to cool naturally and not suddenly quenched (as with some metals).
Benefits of Stainless Steel
The process for making stainless steel is exact and requires special equipment. However, it yields a superior metal product. One of the biggest advantages you can receive is resistance to corrosion. Normal steel is very strong and durable yet when exposed to the elements it begins to rust and the oxidation process makes steel break down and deteriorate. In fact, under the right conditions, it can happen relatively fast.
Stainless steel is strong and is not difficult to fabricate or work with. If you want exceptional strength you can choose materials which have went through a stainless steel heat treatment process.
If you check out most commercial kitchens and hospital environments, you will see a lot of stainless steel appliances and equipment. This metal is very shiny and easy to clean and this is the reason it is used for milk tanks and many other types of food processing equipment.
Depending on the type of stainless steel you choose, you can have materials capable of withstanding a great deal of heat. On the other hand, some types can be used in cryogenic equipment because of their exceptional cold resistance.