5 Stainless Steel Facts About Fasteners You Should Know
Stainless steel is a highly used metal and prized for its corrosion resistance. Did you know that stainless steel actually can corrode? It’s not even that hard to make it happen. Before you buy your fasteners here are five stainless steel facts you need to know before buying fasteners.
1. Stainless Steel Is A Soft Metal (Sort Of)
Stainless steel is considered a soft metal meaning it is not great for many high load applications that require intense strength. However, certain grades are hardened to create a stronger version. It may effect the corrosion resistance of the fastener however. A classic example of this is Grade 410 Stainless Steel.
2. Stainless Steel Can Still Corrode
Stainless steel is prized for its corrosion resistance. Beyond that many don’t know anything about it. Stainless steel comes in many different grades, 304, 305 and 316 are just a few examples and each come with their own benefits. If you are within 20 miles of the beach for example, you need to make sure you use 316 stainless steel.
3. Stainless Steel Is Not Non-Magnetic
It is important to know that stainless steel is not fully non-magnetic. In situations where the non-magnetic quality of a material is critical, stainless steel is not a recommended choice.
4. Stainless Steel Has An Invisible Self Repairing Outer Layer
Stainless metals form an invisible oxide coating that protects it from external factors. This is the main reason stainless steel is so resistant to corrosion. As long as the material is in an oxygen rich environment, even if the metal is damaged removing the oxide layer, it will reform and protect the metal again.
5. Stainless Steel Reacts Negatively With Aluminum
Stainless Steel and Aluminum are two separate kinds of metal. One is positively charged (anode) and one is negatively charged (cathode). As these metals are connected and an electrolyte is introduced, such as saltwater, a transfer of electrons occurs which will ruin the integrity of the materials resulting in galvanic corrosion. To avoid these situations either use some sort of in-between like a rubber material or simply do not use them together (recommended).
Working With Stainless Steel
Ultimately stainless steel can be a bit more complicated than you thought. Stainless steel fasteners are still an excellent choice for many situations. Just take these 5 things into consideration when buying your fasteners to help you choose the appropriate material and grade.