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Posts Tagged ‘stainless steel containers’

The Five Families of Stainless Steel

June 28th, 2018 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: Stainless Steel

At Skolnik we offer a host of steel containers — our stainless steel drums offer an ideal solution for products requiring the purity, compatibility and strength of stainless steel. But just like Skolnik offers different families of products, there are different families of stainless steel. Five to be exact: austenitic stainless steel, ferritic stainless steel, martensitic stainless steel, duplex stainless steel and precipitation hardening stainless steel. The families are classified by their crystalline structure.

 

Austenitic stainless steel is the largest family. About two thirds of all stainless steel produced falls into this category. Their crystalline structure is achieved by alloying with sufficient nickel and/or manganese and nitrogen. These stainless steels maintain their microstructure at all temperatures so they can’t be hardenable by heat treatment, but can be strengthened by cold working to an extent.

Austenitic stainless steel is great for formability and weldability, they are also essentially non magnetic. They’re often used for tanks, containers, storage vessels, architecture and the like.

 

Ferritic stainless steel has a structure more similar to carbon steel, contains between 10.5% and 27% chromium with very little or no nickel. Due to the chromium structure, ferritic stainless steel also holds its structure at all temperatures and is not hardenable by heat treatment. However, they are magnetic and are problematic to weld.

Welding creates microstructural problems so ferritic stainless steel is not used in the construction of large, heavy walled vessels and tanks and structures.

 

Martensitic stainless steels form a family that can be heat treated to provide the adequate level of mechanical properties. Martensitic stainless steels are magnetic and are less corrosion resistant than ferritic and austenitic due to a lower chromium content.

However, their high carbon content enables them to be significantly hardened so they are commonly used for knives, razor blades, cutlery and tools.

Duplex stainless steel’s structure is a combination of that of austenite and ferrite, usually at a 50/50 or 40/60 mix. It’s characterized by high chromium and molybdenum with lower nickel contents. The mixed microstructure results in higher resistance to chloride stress corrosion.

Duplex stainless steel can be difficult to weld properly, but can sometimes be a cost-effective solution for chemical processing, transport and storage, and marine environments.

 

Precipitation hardening stainless steel has corrosion resistance comparable to austenitic varieties but can be hardened to even higher strengths than martensitic steel. Precipitation hardening stainless steel is often used for gears, valves and other engine components, nuclear waste casks, and other pieces in aerospace and other high-tech industries.

 

Beyond that, there are over 150 grades of stainless steel.

Skolnik stainless steel drums are available in a variety of gauges and sizes and are stainless types 304 and 316, both austenitic, and 409, a ferritic stainless steel. And our products are built thicker, heavier and stronger than industry standards require.

 

The Plastic Pollution Problem and the Stainless Steel Solution

April 16th, 2018 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: Industry News, Stainless Steel

Why is plastic such popular headline material this year? Well, because plastic pollution has finally reached a boiling point. Even with an increased awareness and consciousness of recycling, research warns that the amount of discarded plastic in just the ocean will triple in the next decade. If this warning becomes reality, in ten years there will be more plastic in our oceans than there are fish.

Sounds bleak, right? Well, the good news is that just as we’re all responsible for this issue, we can also all chip in to help. Every small change to our plastic-using habits helps, and we’ve already taken a huge first step by being more aware of the problem.

Stainless steel is considered the most reliable and safest material for industrial grade containers. Stainless steel drums, like the ones we manufacture at Skolnik, have long been a favorite for the storage and transportation of chemicals, consumables, hazardous materials and more. In recent years, plastic drums and containers entered the scene and boasted their superior lightweight and flexibility. However, there is a reason stainless steel drums are still considered the gold standard. Not only can they promise levels of durability and sanitation that porous plastic cannot, but they are also vastly more eco-friendly.

And, with plastic pollution clogging our oceans and newsfeeds, more businesses and individuals are actively trying to cut down on their plastic waste, and they are turning to stainless steel to help. In fact, the global stainless steel market is currently being driven by an increased demand for consumer goods. Consumers are picking up reusable stainless steel straws to cut back on plastic straw use, businesses are implementing stainless steel water refill stations for their employees or patrons, and more.

We hope that stainless steel products such as our stainless steel drums continue to help people cut down on plastic waste and reverse the disastrous predictions of environmental experts.

 

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.