Monthly Archives: September 2017

Stainless Steel and its Uses in Construction

What is Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is an alloy of Iron with a minimum of 10.5% Chromium. 

Chromium produces a thin layer of oxide on the surface of the steel known as the ‘passive layer’. This prevents any further corrosion of the surface. Increasing the amount of Chromium gives an increased resistance to corrosion.

It also contains varying amounts of Carbon, Silicon and Manganese. Other elements such as Nickel and Molybdenum may be added to add other properties such as increased flexibility and corrosion resistance.


inventor of stainless steel
Harry Brealey

While Harry Brearley is given credit, by most, for the invention, French scientist Leon Gillet had documented its constitution in 1904. Gillet noted the composition and properties of his alloy mix, but he didn’t recognise the corrosive resistance of the material. 

In 1911 the German, Philip Monnartz, published the first detailed work on the corrosion resistance of stainless steel.  In 1912 at the Krupp Iron Works, Eduard Maurer and Benno Strauss, patented the first 21% chromium and 7% nickel combination for stainless. 

However, it was Brearley who patented the first martensitic stainless in 1913. While Brearley is generally given credit for the invention of modern stainless steel, this is disputable.Brearley immediately set out to market his invention. He called his metal “rustless steel”.

Sheffield, known as a city of cutlery manufacturers, seemed to be a perfect replacement for silver or nickel-plated steel. One manufacturer, Ernest Stuart, when testing the material in vinegar suggested a more marketable name of “stainless steel”.

stainless steel cutleryBy 1914, George Ibberson & Co, using this product manufactured by Thomas Firth & Sons, began producing knives. The product was not an immediate success, and Brealey soon earned the reputation of being the inventor of the “knife that would not cut”.

Brearley left Firth, over an ownership dispute of the invention, and W. H. Hatfield took over. In 1924, Hatfield patented the 18-8 version – 18% chromium and 8% nickel. This would soon become the most popular and widely used type of the steel. Adding titanium to the 18-8, Hatfield is also credited with the invention of 321 stainless. Uses in


Stainless steel in the construction industry is mainly used for the following products:

  • Cladding
  • Handrails and balustrading
  • Roofing
  • Drainage and rainwater products
  • Wall support products
  • Designed structural applications

The characteristics, notably its corrosion resistance, aesthetic appearance and mechanical properties, makes it ideally suited for many architectural applications. Optimum performance is achieved by considering these characteristics when designing in stainless.

What are our most Frequently Asked Questions?

Three areas spring to us:

1. What’s the difference between 304 and 316 stainless steel?

Well outwardly they look similar. The formulaic difference is that 304 contains 8% nickel whilst 316 has 10% nickel and 2% molybdenum. To the layman this means that 304 is used in kitchen applications – flatware, pots and pans. 316 is best used in water based products like swimming pools.

2. How do I clean stainless steel?

We sell a specific cleaner that removes bacteria form the grain in the surface , which most people think is the start of rust as it goes dark brown and can be hard to remove once it gets established. 

3. What are the most common finishes!

  • Polished – looks like mirror
  • Brushed Finish – had a textured brush, dull finish (this is the most common as it hides scratches, finger marks etc. the
  • 2B – this is the best finish , in our opinion, where the surface has had no treatment  and is left in raw finish and looks Matt

If you are considering using stainless steel in your construction project then contact All Metal Solutions  for help in making that decision and a quote for your requirements then just follow this link >>>