Professional metal fabricators, in addition to following exact specification outline in blueprints, also recommend the best metals for particular applications. When corrosion resistance is needed, some metals are better choices than others. For instance, stainless steel is often used in commercial kitchen equipment and food processing facilities due to its natural ability to resist rust. Let’s take a closer look at stainless steel and some of other rust-resistant metals.
Stainless steel is a category unto itself, as there are many variations depending on which elements are present in the alloy. The best types of stainless steel for rust resistance have a high amount of chromium, which adds an oxide layer that protects against corrosion. Nickel and molybdenum are two other elements that can prevent stainless steel from rusting.
Aluminum is unique in that is contains almost no iron. This makes the material exceptionally well suited for resisting corrosion. To increase performance, aluminum can be exposed to water, which creates a layer of protective aluminum oxide. Combine its corrosion-resistance benefit with being lightweight, and it’s easy to see why aluminum is the preferred material for cars, planes, and other vehicles.
Copper, Brass, Bronze & Zinc
These four metals are all low in iron and therefore are naturally resistant to corrosion. However, they will all still react to oxygen. Copper, for instance, develops its signature patina over time, which actually strengthens the material and helps to further prevent rusting. Brass, being the marriage of zinc and copper, inherits these elements’ natural ability to resist corrosion and also boasts impressive rust resistance.
Galvanized steel refers to a steel material that has been coated with zinc. As noted above, zinc is naturally rust-resistant, and adding it to steel helps protect the steel material. In fact, zinc effectively seals the steel from moisture and oxygen exposure. And when the zinc is exposed to moisture, it reacts and forms a tough coating on the steel, making the material that much safer from corrosion. Eventually, the zinc will wear down and galvanized steel will rust, but it takes many years to get to that point.
Choosing the Right Metal for Custom Fabrication Projects
Custom metal fabricators are well versed in different types of rust-resistant metals and which are appropriate for various applications. But, of course, having knowledge about these materials is just as important as being able to fabricate them correctly. Delivering on-time and perfectly crafted products is what keeps custom fabrication shops busy year-round.
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