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Drum It Up! Steel Drum Industry News, Trends, and Issues

Posts Tagged ‘chromium’

What Makes Our Stainless Steel Process Drums So Stainless?

March 29th, 2018 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is the hero to industries that require sturdy, dependable, sanitary products to keep materials clean and safe for human consumption. It’s in our kitchens and on our dinner tables, needles are crafted out of it, as are surgical implants. At Skolnik, we produce stainless steel, crevice-free, seamless process drums, perfect for personal care and pharmaceutical products or on your food processing line.

But what is it that makes stainless steel…. stainless? Why is it good for handling food? And what is the difference between “304” and “316” type steels?

First, the science behind the steel. Steel is an attractive material in general because it’s lightweight while maintaining excellent strength. The down side to regular steel is that has a tendency to pass on a metallic taste, and more importantly, it corrodes quite easily. Exposed to any amount of moisture, steel generates iron oxide and, over time, regular steel rusts away.

The solution, however, starts with one element: chromium. The same element used in making your car wheels shiny is also the key to making stainless steel work. By smelting a steel alloy that involves at least 10.5% Chromium, the resulting metal spontaneously generates a microscopic layer of chrome oxide, an inert, self-repairing film that protects the metal below. Thus, manufacturers such as ourselves are able take advantage of the strength and durability of steel, while resisting much of the corrosion and unpleasant taste that plague many other metals. This makes it a great material for food-safe applications.

Just what qualifies for “food-safe” though? According to the FDA, “materials that are used in the construction of utensils and food contact surfaces of equipment::

  • Must not allow the migration of ‘deleterious substances or impart colors, odors, or tastes’ to food […]
  • Be ‘durable, corrosion-resistant, and nonabsorbent’ […]
  • Possess sufficient ‘weight and thickness to withstand repeated warewashing’ […]
  • Be ‘finished to have a smooth, easily cleanable surface’ [and]
  • Have resistance to ‘pitting chipping crazing, scratching, scoring, distortion, and decomposition’.”

With chrome oxide perpetually preventing harm, stainless steel is up for the food-safe task, which is why we use in such products as our process drums. It’s sturdiness and ability to withstand sanitation processes while resisting passing on unwanted substances makes it ideal to store food-safe products.

Now, all stainless steel is not made equal. While a major component may be chromium, there are many variations the chemical composition of the alloy, each with their advantages and disadvantages. For example, there is 18/8, named for its 18% chromium and 8% nickel composition. At Skolnik, we use types 304 and 316. 304 has the same 18% chromium, 8% nickel mix that 18/8 has, but 316 has 16% chromium, 10% nickel, and 2% mollybdenum. While 304 is more cost effective and plenty corrosion-resistant, the addition of mollybdenum to 316 helps fight against corrosive salts, something 304 is not as good at resisting.

Which type of drum you use is going to depend on what you need them for, and we are more than happy to help you find the right fit for your project, but no matter which type you go with, if you buy from Skolnik you’ll be getting high quality, food-grade products made out of the best stainless steel that will keep you and your customers safe.

 

What makes ‘Food Grade’ stainless steel safe?

November 4th, 2016 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: Safety, Stainless Steel

Just like academic grades, the particular ‘grade’ of stainless steel refers to how it measured up against a variety of tests and requirements. However, in the case of stainless steel, these measurements refer to its quality, durability and temperature resistance. Food grade stainless steel is steel that met all criteria to be deemed safe for food preparation, storage and dining.

The most common food grade stainless steel is Type 304. But 304 grade stainless steel also goes by another name or code, 18/8 and 18/10 stainless steel. These numbers refer to the composition of the stainless steel; the amount of chromium and nickel in the product. Both 18/8 and 18/10 contain 18% chromium, and 8% or 10% of nickel respectively.

304 grade stainless steel is so popular in the food industry because of its resistance to oxidization and corrosion. The chromium protects the product from oxidization or rust, whereas the nickel content rescues the food grade drum from corrosion. The higher the nickel content, the more resistant the stainless steel is to corrosion.

Stainless steel has become one of the most common materials found in kitchens and the food industry today. From food processing plants to large, commercial kitchens to your own kitchen at home, stainless steel is ever present. It’s corrosion and oxidization resistance paired with durability and how easy it is to clean has made stainless steel one of the safest materials in the food preparation and storage industries. In addition to resisting various acids found in meats, milk, fruits and veggies, there are also no chemicals within type 304 stainless steel that can migrate to your food, making it a safe, strong and durable choice for appliances, dishware, utensils, food storage and more.

When it comes to safety, Skolnik’s type 304 stainless steel makes the grade.

The Many Inventors of Modern Stainless Steel

May 2nd, 2016 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: Stainless Steel

Before businesses worldwide were entrusting a Skolnik 55 gallon stainless steel drum with the shipment and storage of their most precious materials, someone had to invent stainless steel. While most people credit Harry Brearley with the discovery of stainless steel, but he was just one cog in the wheel of the invention (and definition!) of modern stainless steel.

Our journey begins in 1820 when two Englishmen, Stoddard and Farraday, and a Frenchman, Berthier, noted that iron-chromium alloys were more resistant to acids. They tried to produce higher chromium alloys to further test their discovery, but were unsuccessful.

Enter another pair of Englishmen, Woods and Clark, who in 1872 filed for the patent of an acid and weather resistant iron alloy containing 30-35% chromium and 2% tungsten. This was the first ever patent on what would, by today’s standards, be considered stainless steel. Though stainless steel was not officially defined until 1911.

The next big development, in 1875, came courtesy of another Frenchman, Brustlein. Brustlein is credited with discovering and outlining the importance of low carbon content in stainless steel – in order to create an alloy with high chromium content the carbon content must be kept lower than 0.15%. However, it wasn’t until 1895, when German scientist, Hans Goldschmidt, developed the aluminothermic reduction process for producing carbon-free chromium that the stainless steel development race truly began.

There was French scientist Leon Guillet who extensively researched iron-chromium alloys, including many of today’s models. And English Giesen who studied and published works on chromium-nickel steels while French national, Portevin, studied what is now known as 430 stainless steel.

And then, in 1911, the moment we’ve all been waiting for: German scientists P. Monnartz and W. Borschers discovered the correlation between chromium content and stainless steel’s beloved corrosion resistance. And stainless steel was finally defined.

The man often credited with the discovery of stainless steel, Harry Brearely, was a lead researcher at Brown Firth Laboratories in England. In 1912, Brearley was tasked by a small arms manufacturer with an erosion problem. Brearley set out to develop an erosion resistant steel for him, experimenting with steel alloys containing with chromium. During these experiments, specifically on August 13 1913, Brearley created a steel with 12.8% chromium and 0.24% carbon, arguably the first ever stainless steel.

Brearley’s title as “inventor of stainless steel” is greatly contested by a few americans, Elwood Haynes, Becket and Dantsizen, a polish man, Max Mauermann, and a few Swedes. Whoever is the true inventor, we and our clients want to thank them. If it weren’t for these hardworking metallurgists, researchers and scientists, Skolnik wouldn’t be able to provide our partners and customers with our expansive collection of stainless steel containers, including our crowned jewel, and most popular container, the 55 gallon stainless steel drum.

 

The Powerful Properties of Stainless Steel

January 21st, 2016 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: Stainless Steel

 

At Skolnik Industries, we offer a variety of stainless steel drums; in different sizes, with different closures and linings and tailored for our customers’ unique needs. Why do we offer so many different customizations of stainless steel drums? Because it’s a material greatly suited for many different uses.

By definition, stainless steel is a steel alloy with a minimum of 10.5% chromium content by mass. Now, we’ve talked about the unique chromium composition of stainless steel in the past, but what properties make stainless steel the powerful material it is today?

Oxidization Resistance

Chromium forms a passive protective layer when exposed to oxygen. This layer is invisible to the naked eye, but protects the metal from damage from water and air and even a degree of corrosion. The higher the chromium content, the stronger the oxidation resistance.

Acid Resistance

Stainless steel is highly resistant to acids. Obviously, this depends on the concentration of the acid and a few other variables such as the environmental temperature and the grade of stainless steel, but the natural resistance of stainless steel to acid attacks make it a strong candidate for the transport of hazardous materials.

Base Resistance

Many grades of stainless steel (the entire 300 series) are unaffected by weak bases, no matter the temperature or concentration.

Organic Resistance

Under the right conditions, specific grades of stainless steel are useful for storing and handling organics such as acetic acid, aldehydes and amines, cellulose acetate, and fats and fatty acids.

Low conductivity and magnetism

Like it’s brother, steel, stainless steel is a poor conductor of electricity and only very specific stainless steels are magnetic.
So there you have it, the primary properties of stainless steel are a recipe for a diverse array of possible uses. It’s no wonder it’s one of the most popular materials in a number of industries and one of the most common materials for Skolnik drums.