Everyone loves the look of classic stainless steel, and businesses love the strength and beauty that stainless steel rods can bring to their products. However, with the rising price of nickel (and by extension, stainless steel), maintaining and extending the life of the material is one of the top concerns for businesses that incorporate stainless steel into their products or manufacturing methods.
Many people believe that stainless steel will never rust. However, unfortunately, this is not 100 percent true. Though the material does not oxidize as easily as steel, it can be prone to staining in environments with poor air circulation, low oxygen, or high salinity. You cannot always change the environment in which you use your stainless steel wire mesh or other types of stainless steel, but you have full control over your business’ maintenance schedules. Your stainless steel should be wiped down and cleaned daily to encourage the formation of a protective chromium-oxide layer, which, when formed, makes the material much more resistant to corrosion or staining.
Stainless steel differs from carbon steel due to the amount of chromium present in the material. Standard steel contains a lower chromium percentage than stainless steel, which means it readily rusts when exposed to air and moisture. Rusting is more than a cosmetic issue; it weakens the structural integrity of your products or tools, which can lead to dangerous situations. On the other hand, stainless steel contains enough chromium to undergo passivation. With time and proper maintenance, the stainless steel will form an inert layer of chromium oxide to protect from corrosion.
The best way to extend the life of your stainless steel is to create an environment that is contusive to chromium-oxide formation. Keep your stainless steel clean and dry, and store it in places with a large amount of air circulation, plenty of oxygen, and low moisture. Over time, the risk of rust will decrease, leaving you with beautiful and strong stainless steel.
To learn more about keeping your stainless steel in great condition, please feel free to read some of our previous blog posts!