Stainless steel enjoys unflagging popularity, and its capabilities are used in many industries worldwide. Engineers and designers mention numerous applications of this material, pointing out that mainly its valuable physical and chemical properties contributed to such common use.
Why can stainless steel appliances be found in our kitchen? What particular characteristics caused that steel has become an indispensable material in such industries as gastronomy and hospitality, as well as private homes?
Let’s start from the beginning…
…i.e. from the 19th century when chromium was discovered to protect steel from acidic and corrosive substances. In those days, under the supervision of German engineers, work began on a new material called “stainless steel.” After initial tests in 1912, this material started to win the hearts of manufacturers and engineers – especially in Northern Europe and on the British Isles.
The armaments industry, which at the time was developing exceptionally dynamically, became interested in steel. Military specialists recognized its potential for processing and many applications. A discovery that a mix of vinegar and lemon juice did not affect steel parts further strengthened this conviction. Soon after, steel began to be used in the manufacturing of tools, cutlery and, finally, whole household appliances.
Reason #1: resistance to corrosion.
The most frequently noted quality of stainless steel that contributes to its wide-spread use is high resistance to corrosion. Due to its composition, which consists of at least 10% of chromium, stainless steel appliances do not rust.
Additionally, lower carbon content allows combining other materials – including nitrogen, nickel and molybdenum. What’s interesting, all of these elements are rust resistant as well.
In the 21st century, we know several types of steel different in composition and additional elements. A protective layer of chromium oxide contributes to the durability of stainless-steel products – also in a demanding, humid environment. It’s worth mentioning that stainless steel furniture can last even 100 years.
Remember that chromium reacts with oxygen, so leaving permanent and stubborn dirt might damage the shiny structure. Therefore, don’t use corrosive substances or bleaches on stainless steel – natural and common home detergents are a much better choice.
Reason #2: light weight.
Without doubt, stainless steel is also popular because of its light weight and, as a result, the light weight of products made of steel. Resistance to corrosion mentioned above does not require an additional reinforcing layer, thanks to which appliances retain their dimensions and weight.
Steel is a very flexible material; it is easy to shape and bend it, which in turn allows making gadgets with complex functionalities with it. Products made of this inconspicuous material do not only look elegant but also work well in many industries and environments – both indoors and outdoors.
Reason #3: care for the environment.
In the spirit of caring for our planet and increasing calling for sensible consumer behaviour, environmentally friendly products are of exceptionally high value. Since steel is a fully recyclable material, once a stainless-steel product is manufactured, the life of the material is extended every time it is smelted to produce new steel goods. Additionally, all steel elements are easy to clean, do not require excessive maintenance activities and even force us to use natural and safe cleaning agents. For instance, instead of chlorine-based detergents, use water and dish soap solution and a muslin cloth.