Stainless steel has been popular ever since its development. It’s a versatile material with some attractive properties and looks good too. All great reasons to use it.
If you’re designing a space and want to use the unique qualities of this metal, you’re in the right place.
We’re going to discuss the various grades of stainless steel and some of the common uses stainless steel sheets can be put to.
All so you can utilise this amazing material in your design.
Different grades of stainless steel
Stainless steel is made using the addition of chromium to steel that forms a tough exterior layer of chromium oxide. It is this tight, dense layer that protects the iron inside the steel to give it its longevity.
There are lots of grades of steel, denoted by a number and a letter. Some of the more popular grades include:
Type 102 – General purpose stainless steel widely used in furniture.
200 steel – Chromium nickel manganese alloy used for general metal products.
300 steel – The most popular grade of stainless steel, includes grade 304 and 316. 304 steel is used for food use, surgical equipment and instruments. 316 stainless steel is often used in ships or marine use.
400 steel – This series can be used in car manufacture, cutlery and swords and knives. 410 stainless steel is heat-treatable and is often used in the kitchen and surgical instruments.
The letter in a stainless steel grade will usually be H or L, for high or low carbon content.
Popular applications for stainless steel sheets
Stainless steel can come in all shapes and sizes but sheets are one of the more flexible.
The material can be cut, shaped, welded and treated in a number of ways, making it a very interesting material to work with.
You’ll often find stainless steel sheets used in:
The manufacture of cars, trucks, buses, boats and other vehicles make liberal use of stainless steel.
The material was used from the very first production cars all the way to the modern day. While the De Lorean was an extreme example of stainless steel sheets used in vehicles, most modern day vehicles will have some form of steel sheet in the bodywork.
You’ll find car body panels, floor pans, roofs, bonnets and exhaust systems made from stainless steel sheets.
You’ll also find sheets used in shipbuilding, shipping containers, trucks and buses and all types of vehicles.
Building and interior design
You will also find stainless steel sheets used in some buildings. It can form part of the fabric of a building, including for roof elements, interior ceilings, wall covering and protection.
You’ll often see stainless steel sheets used on interior walls in warehouses, food manufacturers and factories to protect walls from damage and to provide an easy clean surface.
Sometimes these sheets will be plain but they will often be stamped with a pattern to add grip or interest.
Some interior designs also use stainless steel sheets in a similar manner but purely decoratively.
Stainless steel sheets are also used in architecture. You’ll often see stainless steel installations within buildings, used architecturally within a design, shaped as stairs or used as protection for interior areas.
The ability for stainless steel to remain clean, resist corrosion and staining makes it a firm favourite for industrial and commercial design.
Food and catering
Stainless steel is used throughout ‘clean’ industries thanks to its ability to resist staining and the fact it doesn’t impact the flavour of food.
Stainless steel sheets are often used in furniture manufacture, creating worktops and storage, for lining clean rooms or freezers and for protecting walls.
Higher grade steel will be used for pans and cookware and cutlery too.
The energy industry makes good use of stainless steel sheets in pipework, storage tanks, transport tanks and all manner of applications.
The industry often uses what is known as ‘super duplex steel’ which is high strength and extremely corrosion resistant. Ideal for exposure to temperature and harsh chemicals.
Stainless steel sheets are also used extensively on oil and gas rigs and their support ships. The properties of the material lend themselves very well to resisting corrosion and weather.
Finally, wind turbines and solar panels both use stainless steel sheets in their construction.
Heavy industry utilises stainless steel sheets in the same way energy does. It is used throughout industry for pipes, tanks, platforms, factories and industrial construction.
You’ll also find it used to make chemical drums, storage mediums, cold storage, personnel protection, vehicles, building protection and many other uses.
Stainless steel sheet and its uses
This list is obviously not exhaustive because there are very likely many hundreds, if not thousands, of applications for stainless steel sheets we haven’t even thought of.
However, we think this is enough to give you an idea just how popular the material is and just how many uses it can be put to.
The ability to resist corrosion and the weather, be easy to clean and resist bacteria and be cut, shaped and welded makes it one of the most flexible products we have.
Newer materials like carbon fibre may be stealing the headlines right now but we will still be depending on good old stainless steel for a long time yet!