If you had to ask people to name five metals they had in their home there’s a good chance stainless steel would be one of their answers. Steel on its own is already one of the most-used metals across the globe, and stainless steel isn’t too far behind. There are a multitude of common uses for stainless steel due to its anti-rusting properties and can be found in many items you might not expect in addition to everyday ones.
Below we explore all the areas and fields you can find this highly versatile metal in.
Common Uses of Stainless Steel: Architecture and Buildings
While no longer as widespread of a trend, during the art-deco period stainless steel was used in a variety of structures and buildings. One of the most notable of these structures is the Chrysler Building with its stainless steel highlights and components. However, you can also recognize its use in the One World Trade Centre in New York, the Eurostar Terminal in London’s Waterloo Station, and the Helix Bridge in Singapore as well.
Because it inherits many of the properties of raw steel, it’s still used today in many construction projects. Most commonly, it can be found in the exterior cladding for large high impact buildings, handrails, and elevators. Its reflective properties also make it an excellent choice to light up large spaces more effectively and can easily bounce natural light around a room to reduce the number of lighting fixtures necessary and reduce the consumption of energy.
Stainless steel, as a material, is often surprisingly environmentally-friendly as it can be made from recycled metals to create it without a loss in integrity or longevity.
The Automotive Industry and Other Forms of Transportation
The common uses of stainless steel in the automotive industry used to just be reserved for exhaust, trim, and grille parts, but with increasing environmental requirements automotive manufacturers are using more stainless steel in structural components.
In other transportation sectors, stainless steel also sees use in the construction of shipping containers, rail cars, refuse vehicles, and tank trucks.
Because of its anti-corrosive properties, it’s a perfect choice for transporting food, liquids, and chemicals and is often used to do so. The walls of the container unit also don’t need to be especially thick for the substance inside to stay contained for long periods of travel and extended use which can save money on production and manufacturing costs.
Widespread Use in Hospital and Medical Supplies
Stainless steel’s anti-corrosive properties have made it a natural choice for a wide variety of medical and dental instruments. Plus, and more importantly, it’s easy to sterilize so instruments can be used quickly after cleaning for other operations or procedures.
You can also find it used in MRI scanners, operating tables, and cannulas. Implants into the body are also commonly stainless steel like artificial hips, and pins and plates to help broken bones heal and stay in place.
Food and Restaurant Businesses
Like medical instruments, almost all common cutlery is stainless steel, again for its simple and easy sterilization and cleaning. One particular food manufacturer, the ice cream industry, uses stainless steel in many parts of its production process because they can use harsh cleaning products that are anti-bacterial to keep food safe to consume.
However, it’s use in kitchens and the food industry extends far beyond that.
Many appliances and cookware also use stainless steel to perform their tasks. Grills, kettles, sinks, and saucepans are all applications of this material as well.
Additionally, stainless steel is often used in finishes for refrigerators, dishwashers, and countertops.
The Energy Sector
Many forms of energy like gas, oil, and other chemicals require containment that has to be capable of handling high heat and toxic substances. Stainless steel has been the go-to material for these operations often with the use of a high-grade selection to reduce corrosion further over a wider spectrum of temperatures.
Super duplex steel is a common variant of stainless steel that’s often picked for many uses within the energy industry. This is due to its high strength and simple means of production which allows it to be manufactured in large sheets—minimizing welding and maximizing its structural integrity.
Stainless steel is especially useful for holding crude oil since crude oil is highly corrosive. This makes it an essential material for use on oil rigs where there are many corrosive substances.
Renewable sources of energy like solar panels, wind turbines, and hydro-electric dams also use stainless steel to resist weather and for added durability.
As demonstrated, there are a plethora of common uses of stainless steel. It’s a highly versatile and strong material that is useful in many industries and for many purposes.