Magnetic Soap. Shape-Shifting Weaves. Recycled, Stained Steel
If you are in the construction trade or something similar, then there probably isn't much we can tell you about nails, screws and other stainless steel fixings that you don't already know. Even as that sentence was completed, it already started to sound like a challenge, so we have picked over our brains for the weird stuff : let us know if we managed to teach you anything (or even if you have anything to teach us! Now there's a challenge...)
Though highly-resistant to oxidation and subsequent corrosion thanks to the oxide film coating the metal, stainless steel can become marked over time, a fact that is particularly true when the correct grade has not been selected. Oxygen and moisture, especially salt-laden, will eventually break down the protective film of stainless steel and cause pitting and so it is essential to properly maintain it and replace when necessary.
Stainless steel is not usually magnetic but this depends on the metal’s microstructure. There are a number of groups of stainless steel, each of which contains a different combination of alloys, affecting its magnetic nature. Martensitic and ferritic steel are both ferromagnetic, though the former is more so than the latter and, if magnetised during the hardening process, martensitic stainless steel will retain its magnetic property permanently.
Round and Round again
Steel is, in fact, one of the most recycled materials on Earth, with the American Iron & Steel Institute estimating that 88% of steel in the world is recycled. Two out of every three tons of new steel comes from old recycled stock and byproducts, such as processing liquids and steelmaking slags & dust, can also be extracted and sold.
The Long and Short of It
Though it has a notably higher resistance than many, as with all metals stainless steel reacts to changes in temperature, expanding and contracting. The construction industry have to be particularly aware of this fact - not including its iconic antenna, the Eiffel tower is 984ft tall in summer but a full six inches shorter during the cold season, for example.
Believe in the Weave
An exceptionally-ductile material, stainless steel can be drawn into an extremely thin wire without losing its robustness. Stainless steel wire and mesh can be produced in such fine widths that it is possible to weave and wear the material, making clothes that are thermal- and radiation-resistant.
Shiny and Clean
Simply a piece of stainless steel shaped like a bar of soap, this is an item that is becoming more common in the workplace, particularly in the catering industry. The metal is capable of neutralising strong odours, such as onions, fish or garlic, on the hands and the effect is hypothesised to be due to stainless steel binding to odour-causing sulphur compounds.
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