Generally, most people buy stainless steel fasteners thinking that they won’t corrode ever and they are choosing the toughest material that can be used for any application. However, this is not true. Though stainless steel is widely used and preferred over other materials due to its corrosion resistance property, there are many things that buyers don’t know about it. Knowing the material in detail is a must especially if you run a business and frequently use SS hardware.

So, without any delay, let’s check out what a buyer must know before buying stainless steel fasteners and other hardware items. 

 

  1. Stainless Steel is Not a Tough/Hard Material.

While stainless steel is considered much harder or impact-resistant than mild steel, it is sort of soft metal. Therefore, stainless steel is not suitable to be used for various high-load applications that need a higher degree of strength. There are some grades of SS that are hardened to make it stronger. This, however, may affect the corrosion resistance property of the fastener. Grade 410 Stainless Steel is a great example of this because it contains only 11% Chromium and may form light rust when exposed to mild atmospheric conditions. 

  1. Stainless Steel Can Also Rust When Exposed to Moisture.

Even though SS fasteners are prized for corrosion resistance, many people are unaware of the fact that they can also rust. Stainless Steel comes in various grades, such as 304, 305, and 316, and each of the grades has its unique benefits and drawbacks. In case you are using stainless steel fasteners in marine applications or a location with a beach nearby, you should be using Grade 316. 

  1. Stainless Steel Is Not Entirely Non-Magnetic.

Austenitic Stainless Steel, such as 304 and 316 are usually considered non-magnetic in the annealed condition. They don’t have a significant attraction towards magnets. However, if they are cold worked, i.e., bent, deep drawn, or formed into a tube, they will be attracted to a permanent magnet. This means an SS fastener is not completely non-magnetic. Thus, in applications where non-magnetism is critical, stainless steel is not the best choice.

  1. Stainless Steel Has a Protective Oxide Layer.

Stainless steel is manufactured using chromium. Chromium reacts to Oxygen and forms an invisible oxide coating that safeguards stainless steel from external factors. This is why stainless steel is usually considered corrosion-resistant. Thus, as long as the material is in an environment that has Oxygen in a rich amount, it will reform the protective layer even if the metal is damaged removing the oxide layer. 

  1. Stainless Steel When Used with Aluminum Results in Galvanic Corrosion

Stainless steel and aluminum are two different materials; where one is positively charged and another is negatively charged. When such metals are kept in touch and an electrolyte is introduced, such as saltwater, electrons start flowing from one metal to another. This results in galvanic corrosion and ruins the integrity of the materials. Thus, if you are using these SS as well as Aluminum in your project and they are expected to come in contact, use some sort of in-between, like rubber. However, it is recommended to not use these two materials together. 

In short, Stainless Steel is not just as you think of it. Still, SS fasteners make a great choice for most applications. Just ensure that you are choosing the right grade and using it with the right material. By now, we hope you will be able to make more precise choices while buying stainless steel fasteners.