You’re probably looking at this title and thinking, “Stainless steel, surely that will never rust?!” Well, even though this steel is marketed as stainless, that doesn’t mean that is can never become stained or rusty. It’s a fact of life that stainless steel can get wrecked if it’s not taken care of correctly. In this blog, we’ll take a quick look at stainless steel, rust and how to ensure your metal doesn’t end up discoloured and ruined.
So, what exactly is rust anyway?
We all know what rust looks like, but have you ever stopped to figure out what it actually is? This brownish-red flaky coating occurs when iron reacts with water and oxygen. There are various different types of rust that include:
- Crevice corrosion. This manner of rusting often occurs in confined places such as the space between a nut and a bolt.
- Contact corrosion. This corrosion occurs when a rusting piece of metal comes into contact with non-rusting stainless steel. It tends to cause iron oxide deposits where both metals touch. The corrosion can then spread beyond this point over time.
- Cavity corrosion and pitting. This is rust that appears on unprotected steels utilised in infrastructure. A huge problem with this type of rust is that the thickness, as well as strength of the material, can reduce very rapidly when this occurs.
There are various factors that need to be considered when it comes to rusting such as increased humidity, temperature changes, geographical elements and more. To find out more about rust risks, just get in touch with InLine Engineering the trusted mechanical engineering Perth company.
How does stainless steel work?
So, what gives this steel its name? Well, stainless steel is usually chromium-covered. When it comes into contact with oxygen, an invisible chromium oxide layer forms. It’s this that then makes the steel stainless and rust-resistant. It’s crucial to bear in mind too, that this chromium oxide layer can be removed or damaged. If this occurs, then rust and stains can form.
How to prevent stains and rust
To make the most of stainless steel, it needs to be treated with care. For example:
- Avoid using detergents containing iodine, chlorine and fluoride
- Don’t scrub stainless steel with force
- Do not use alcohol-based cleaners that can destroy the chromium oxide layer
- Avoid using steel wool to clean all forms of stainless steel
The best way to care for stainless steel is to simply use ordinary soap and water. This way, you can be assured of maintaining cleanliness as well as making sure rust doesn’t develop. Inline Engineering is your local Perth steel fabrication expert team. We have been working with steel for many years so can provide aftercare advice as well as fabrication services whenever you need us.
Our in-house team specialise in the delivery of precision mechanical fitting, machining and fabrication works. We’re there for you to get to work on safely addressing the changing challenges of industries throughout Western Australia.