Guide to Stainless Steel

Need to know more about stainless steel?  Below is an introduction to stainless steel.

Traditionally, stainless steel is an alloy containing at least 10.5% chromium by mass.  It is resistant to corrosion and stains.  Stainless steel is available in various grades and surface finishes.  Which grade and surface finish will be preferred is dependent upon the environment and type of use the alloy will be subjected to.

There are 5 most common types of stainless steel which are austenitic, ferritic, martensitic, duplex steel and precipitation-hardening martensitic.  Austenitic is by far the most common type and comprises about 70% of all stainless steel production. 

304 is the most widely used austenitic stainless steel.  It is known as A2 stainless and also as 18/8 stainless because it contains 18% chromium and 8% nickel.  316 is the second most widely used stainless steel.  It is known as A4 stainless and also as marine grade stainless because it is often used in marine type applications.  Many of the products we offer are available in stainless steel.  Some of the products are 304 stainless steel and some are 316 stainless steel.

Stainless steel finishes can be confusing, as there are a many finishes and the lines are blurred between the different types.  A generalization of the finishes is as follows.  Mill finished stainless steel is a basic supply condition and is not shiny like the stainless steel flatware you eat with.  Polished finished stainless steel is shiny and is what you often see on the stainless steel flatware you eat with.  Brushed finished stainless steel is quite common and is often seen on home appliances.  Bead blasted finished stainless steel provides a somewhat uniform finish and is a bit more attractive than a mill finish, but it is not as attractive as polished finished or brush finished.  There are also other stainless steel finishes other than the four described above, but they are not nearly as common.

Contact us today and let one of our experts help you select the stainless steel ladder or platform that will best meet your needs. 

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