Since it first emerged in the early 20th Century, stainless steel has become one of the most widely used metals in the world, and today it is indispensable for a wide variety of industries and applications. The team at Air Energy has worked hard to become one of the leading suppliers of stainless steel pipe Australia-wide. In this blog, we’ll look at some of the most popular applications of stainless steel piping.
Stainless steel is the name given to a family of highly corrosion resistant steel alloys containing at least 10.5% chromium. The addition of chromium creates a microscopic surface film of chromium oxide, which reacts with oxygen and water molecules in the atmosphere to prevent corrosion. Incredibly, this thin outer layer is not just corrosion-resistant, but actually self-repairing; when the surface layer suffers a small scratch or nick, the chromium oxide molecules are reconfigured to “heal” the damaged area.
Of the many different grades of stainless steel available today, 304 and 316 are the most popular. Stainless steel 304 is the most widely used of all steels due to its high corrosion resistance and relatively low cost. Some of its most common uses include storage tanks, fuel and oil pipework, compressed air piping system, fasteners (like nails, screws, and bolts), commercial and domestic kitchens, cooking pots and pans, and tubing. However, this material is subject to pitting corrosion from chloride and saline exposure.
The main difference between Stainless steels 304 and 316 is that 316 contains molybdenum, which further reduces susceptibility to corrosion, especially from saline and chloride. This improved corrosion resistance makes stainless steel 316 a popular choice for use in marine environments, medical equipment, food production, and pharmaceutical industries.
Unlike other metals such as brass and copper, stainless steel will not tarnish and is easy to clean. This makes it the metal of choice for sanitary tubing used in medical equipment and the food and beverage industries.
Natural gas is often converted into liquid for ease for storage and transportation. If the piping used to carry LNG is damaged, expensive leaks can occur. The corrosion resistance and excellent strength of stainless steel means it is less likely to degrade or corrode, reducing the likelihood of a leak.
Stainless steel alloys containing high levels of chromium and nickel offer excellent heat resistance, which is important when designing aircraft. These types of stainless steel are extremely strong and, like other corrosion-resistant metals like aluminium, are able to be welded.
As the oil and gas industries are forced to push deeper into the earth in their search for fuel, the demands placed on their equipment become increasingly severe. Harsh, corrosive environments mean that engineers have had to find ways to improve the strength and durability of their equipment in order to prevent burst or leaking pipes. Once again, the exceptional strength and corrosion resistance of stainless steel makes it the obvious choice for these tasks.
The excellent corrosion resistance of stainless steel produces a cleaner, more consistent air stream when used in compressed air system. This combined with the thinner wall designs improves the overall efficiency of the system, as well as offering a longer service life.
Air Energy is committed to delivering the most reliable, efficient, and eco-friendly system components anywhere on the market. To find out more about our range of compressed air systems and other products, contact us online or call us on (03) 9765 5600.