10 LITTLE-KNOWN FACTS ABOUT STAINLESS STEEL

Stainless steel has been used since 1990s for numerous industries such as skyscrapers, memorial, kitchen utensils, and many more. You probably use many things that made by stainless steel every day, but have you ever stopped to think about what makes stainless steel so unique? Here are 10 little-known facts about stainless steel:

  1. Stainless steel is an iron alloy that have minimum of 10.5% chromium content by mass. It is known as inox steel or inox from French “inoxydable”.
  2. 1The first stainless steel was discovered by Harry Brearley, a Sheffield metallurgist when he was doing the experiment with different types of steel for weapons in 1913. He noticed that a 13% Chromium steel had not corroded after several months.
  3. 2Stainless steel can be milled into strip, tube, wire, sheet, or bar. It has been used for numerous industries, such as cookware and cutlery, household hardware, surgical instruments, industrial equipment, jewelry, and many more!
  4. 3The manufacturing of stainless steel divided into 6 processes: melting and casting, forming, heat treatment, de-scaling, cutting, and finishing. First, the steel which is the raw material of stainless steel is melted in an electric furnace. Second, it goes through forming operations with hot rolling machine. Third it goes to the heat treatment called annealing step. The purpose of this step is to relieve internal stresses and soften the metal. The annealing step caused a scale on the steel, it needs to be removed. This process called de-scaling process. And then the next step is cutting and finishing.
  5. Stainless steel can be divided into five groups based on the combination of metal alloys. Austenitic has a combination of 18% chromium and 10% nickel. Martensitic contain 12-15% chromium, 0.2-1% molybdenum, and 0.1-1% carbon. Ferritic contains between 10.5% until 27% chromium. Another two groups are duplex and precipitation hardening.
  6. The durability of stainless steel is adorable! It resists corrosion and oxidation. It has the ability to resist rust because when stainless steel exposed to oxygen and moisture, stainless steel produces a thin oxide film and essentially it repairs by itself.
  7. paris_-1Stainless steel can be expands and contracts when the temperature varies. Construction industries have to account for thermal expansion when they use steel material including stainless steel for a building. For example, The Eiffel Tower is approximately 984 feet tall during summer but on cold days, the metal tower is approximately 6 inches shorter.
  8. Stainless-Steel-Soap01Stainless steel can be made into “soap” because it can neutralize strong odors on the hands, like garlic, onion, or fish odor. This unique property due to sulfur compounds in stainless steel that can reduce odors.
  9. Stainless steel is 100% recyclable. 60% of stainless steel is made from recycled materials.
  10. Steel_production_by_country_mapIn 2013, total world crude steel production was 1,607.2 mmt. The biggest steel producer is currently China, which accounted for 48.5% of world’s steel production.

Stainless steel is unique. It also has multipurpose functions and can be use in numerous industries. China as the top of steel producer and Shanghai Metal Corporation which is based in China is one of the leading businesses in the manufacturing of metalworking industry. We can produce and export the best quality of stainless steel and other metal products and service. We prioritize the efficient of manufacturing and environmental sustainability.

Want to know more about our company? Please visit our website and you can follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Feel free to download our new mobile application by scanning the QR code below.

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Source: Wikipedia, Madehow, Extradigital, Jamesduva

Ardelia Sassie/SMC Editor

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The Test of Time

A true testament to the durability and thus desirability of a material is the legacy of the structures and constructions that are left standing as time goes by. We know that the process of galvanization increases the ability of steel to withstand the nature forces of rust and corrosion bought on by water and the elements; let us take a look at the most notable of these structures;

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As with all structures maintenance is required to ensure the safety and longevity of the structure; however few materials, at this cost can boast up to and above thirty years of maintenance free use as is seen with galvanized steel. Pictured above is the Boca Channel Bridge, located in the Florida Keys. It is consistently exposed to the corrosive elements of the sea water, however over its life of 42years it has not required any maintenance due to the galvanization of the steel whereas other, non galvanized bridges in the same area have had to be completely replaced.

Golden_gate_bridge_at_dusk

This durability, despite the increased initial capital investment has been shown to save money over time as this maintenance or continual painting is not required, as would be the case with a non-galvanized steel construction. A prime example of this cost is the Goldengate Bridge in San Francisco, California (picture above), where 28 full time painters are required to constantly paint the bridge as its non-galvanized steel bears the brunt of nature and its original rivets are constantly being replaced with new galvanized ones.

Shanghai Metal Corporation offers galvanized steel in a multitude of forms that can be used to satisfy the applications mentioned above. These include piping, galvanized steel coils, strips, sheets, plates, wire, pre-painted steel, roofing material (in a number of profiles) as well as steel grating.

To find out more about these products or to discuss customization and individual requirements please visit our website Here. For more updates on this and other exciting developments follow us on Facebook, Twitter & Linkedin. Or by using your smart device, scan the QR code below!

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Dominick F.//SMC Editor

Sources: Steel Works, American Galvinizers Association, Golden Gate Bridge Org

Aluminum- A Question of Supply & Demand

Underpinning this update is news coming out of Tokyo of a record premium price paid by two Japanese buyers for bulk Aluminum through the London Metal Exchange (LME) which is due to be shipped in the October-December Quarter by British-Australian mining giant Rio-Tinto Ltd. Sources close to the negotiations say that Rios offer of $420 per tonne beat other producers offer of between $435 and $460 from suppliers such as Alcoa.

 Alu 2

This comes of the back of American Alcoa Inc’s  April report that global aluminum demand will exceed production this year, putting an end to nine years of surplus supply of Aluminum driven by high Chinese production. Naturally this excess supply lowered global prices, which for an industry worth $90Billion dollars a year globally will see its impacts felt right throughout the global economic system.

Further driving this global market phenomenon is the closure of many smelters despite forecasts for global Aluminum consumption to increase by 7% throughout the year 2014, with a lot of this stemming from Aerospace and automobile industries.  The closure of smelters outside of China, in particular Japan, USA and Europe.

 Alu 3

The properties that make aluminum a metal so useful are its lightness, corrosion resistance, non-magnetic, non-toxic, good reflector of light waterproof and odorless, very ductile and also cheap comparing to other alloy.

As a world leader, Shanghai Metal Corporation (SMC) offers Aluminum in various type and size with offices and subsidiaries located throughout  Asia, Europe, Australia, and the Americas. More information on aluminum can be found on our website here. Be sure to join the conversation in our LinkedIn groupFacebookTwitter & Tumblr. You can also scan the QR code below with your smart device to connect with us on these platforms.

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Dominick F.//SMC Editor

Sources; Reuters; Bloomberg; Wikipedia; Yahoo! Finance; Cedar Recycling

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In Economic Turmoil, Environment Remains Key

Even during periods of economic turmoil, the environment remains a key issue for our world.

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By 2050, it is estimated that there will be two billion more people living in the world’s cities which, according to experts, will mean that world construction will grow by more than 70% and reach $15 trillion by 2025, outpacing global GDP. Part of the solution is to build with steel – 50% of steel is used in construction. With four people per house, this will mean providing 1,427 homes every hour, with most of them needed in Asia and Africa. How can such growth be made sustainable?

As most people are aware, steel is used in so many important applications, from bridges and other large constructions, trains and rail lines to industrial machinery, housing, offices, hospitals, cars, buses and bicycles, to name but a few examples. Steel delivers a number of unique environmental benefits, such as product longevity, recyclability, easy transportation and less raw material wastage. In addition, steel offers architectural and design flexibility due to its inherent strength, which allows large span distances and curves to be easily incorporated into designs.

Perhaps best of all, steel is 100% recyclable, without losing any of its properties or strength, and thus reducing the solid waste stream, which results in saved landfill space and the conservation of natural resources. Indeed, more steel is recycled each day than any other material. Even better, the steel industry as a whole has dramatically improved its energy efficiency over the past 30 years, cutting energy consumption by 50% per tonne of steel produced and substantially reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, also per tonne of steel.

The industry is always looking for ways to improve, and to that end a project is in place in the United States that explores the possibility of replacing carbon with hydrogen in blast furnaces. In addition, ULCOS, which stands for Ultra–Low Carbon Dioxide(CO2) Steelmaking, is a consortium of 48 European companies and organisations from 15 European countries that have launched a co-operative research and development initiative to enable drastic reduction in CO2 emissions from steel production. The consortium consists of all major EU steel companies, energy and engineering partners, research institutes and universities and is supported by the European Commission. The aim of the ULCOS programme is to reduce today’s CO2 emissions by at least 50%.

From a human health perspective, steel frames have proven ideal for the ‘healthy home’ concept. The incidence of asthma and sensitivity to chemicals is on the increase and steel frames have been used to achieve allergen-free and dust-free interiors. This requires techniques such as special sealing around windows, moisture barrier systems in the walls, extensive insulation, and whole house ventilation systems. Steel frames retain their original dimensions, which is a major factor in maintaining effective long-term sealing.

Steel is already being used to help manufacture lighter, more fuel-efficient vehicles as well as renewable energy infrastructure including wind turbines, solar installations, smart electric grids and energy-efficient housing and commercial buildings. Its economic benefits include its quick construction off-site, which means less site disturbance and waste, more usable floor space, e.g. thinner floors allowing for more stories in a building, the flexibility to re-configure buildings and steel has a long life with low maintenance, plus energy efficiency for lower operating costs.

Sited: WorldSteel

Ashley G. // Editor SMC

What Makes Stainless Steel A Sustainable Material?

Sustainable

People

The material, in its use or in its production process, respects the human being, especially in terms of health and safety. A sustainable material does not harm the people working to produce it, or the people who handle it during its use, recycling and ultimate disposal. Stainless steel is not harmful to people during either its production or use. A protective layer forms naturally on all stainless steels because of the inclusion of chromium. The passive layer protects the steel from corrosion – ensuring a long life. As long as the correct grade of stainless is selected for an application, the steel remains inert and harmless to the people who handle it and the environment. These characteristics have made stainless steel the primary material in medical, food processing, household and catering applications.

Planet

The emission footprints of the material, especially those related to carbon, water and air, are minimised. Reuse and recyclability are at high levels. The material has low maintenance costs and a long life, both key indicators that the impact of the material on the planet is at the lowest levels possible. The electric arc furnace (EAF), the main process used to make stainless steels, is extremely efficient. An EAF has a low impact on the environment in terms of both CO2 and other emissions. The EAF is also extremely efficient at processing scrap stainless, ensuring that new stainless steel has an average recycled content of more than 60%. Stainless steels are easily recycled to produce more stainless steels and this process can be carried on indefinitely. It is estimated that about 80% of stainless steels are recycled at the end of their life. As stainless steel has a high intrinsic value, it is collected and recycled without any economic incentives from the public purse.

Profit

The industries producing the material show long-term sustainability and growth, provide excellent reliability and quality for their customers, and ensure a solid and reliable supply-chain to the end consumer. Choosing the right stainless steel grade for an application ensures that it will have low maintenance costs, a long life and be easy to recycle at the end of that life. This makes stainless an economical choice in consumer durables (such as refrigerators and washing machines) and in capital goods applications (such as transportation, chemical and process applications). Stainless steels also have better mechanical properties than most metals. Its fire and corrosion resistance make stainless a good choice in transportation, building or public works such as railways, subways, tunnels and bridges. These properties, together with stainless steel’s mechanical behaviour, are of prime importance in these applications to ensure human beings are protected and maintenance costs are kept low. Stainless also has an aesthetically pleasing appearance, making it the material of choice in demanding architectural and design projects.

Taking into account its recyclability, reuse, long life, low maintenance and product safety, the emissions from the production and use of stainless steels are minimal when compared to any other alternative material. A detailed and precise analysis of the sustainability of stainless steel makes the choice of stainless a logical one. This might explain why, as society and governments are becoming more conscious of environmental and economic factors, the growth in the use of stainless steel has been the highest of any material in the world.

Sited: WorldStainless

Ashley G. // Editor SMC

The Green Economy

We have many challenges to overcome as a global society. We are faced with resource shortages, water and land stress, environmental degradation and climate change. There are also many needs to be met – from poverty eradication to mitigation of natural disasters. The challenges are magnified by a population set to grow from the present 7 to 9 billion by 2050, accompanied by rapid urbanization.

It is clear that things cannot go on as they have, and that we must transition to a green economy in which economic growth and environmental and social responsibility work hand in hand.

The steel industry believes that sustainable development must meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Within this, a green economy delivers prosperity for all nations, wealthy and poor alike, while preserving and enhancing the planet’s resources.

The transition to a green economy is already underway and presents countless opportunities for positive change. Steel has an essential role to play in this transition and in sustaining a green economy. Steel is critical to the sectors and technologies that will enable and drive a green economy. Renewable energy , resource and energy efficient buildings, low-carbon transport, infrastructure for fuel efficient and clean energy vehicles, and recycling facilities all depend on steel . These sectors will also provide employment opportunities, as does the steel sector itself.

The steel industry employs more than 2 million people directly around the world, with a further 2 million contractors and 4 million in supporting industries. Considering steel’s position as the key product supplier to industries such as automotive, construction, transport, power and machine goods, the steel industry is at the source of employment for many more millions of people.

Global steel use has grown more than seven-fold since 1950. By 2050, steel use is projected to increase by 1.5 times that of present levels, to meet the needs of our growing global population. The figure below shows a forecast of steel consumption by region.

Past and forecast steel consumption
Past and forecast steel consumption

 

Source: World Steel

 

 

 

Economic sustainability with steel

Steel has enabled our modern way of life. It has helped lift societies out of poverty, spurring economic growth, and continues to do so around the world today.

Iron, steel’s precursor, fueled the industrial revolution starting in 1750, enabling manufacturing equipment in factories and rail transport. Modern steel-making was developed 150 years ago with the invention of the Bessemer process allowing for the affordable mass-production of steel (an iron alloy). This set off a second industrial revolution, and sustained economic growth.

Today, steel is one of the most common materials in the world. We rely on it for our housing, transport, food and water supply, energy production, tools and healthcare. Nearly everything around us is either made of steel or manufactured by equipment made of steel.

Steel is inextricably linked with economic growth and prosperity, as shown in Figure 1. This figure estimates stocks of steel per person, based on their current wealth (GDP per person), and suggests that as a person’s income increases they build up their stock of steel, which then tends to reach a plateau.

Steel stock
Figure 1: Steel stocks in-use vs GDP for different countries
steel_use_pie
Figure 2: Typical steel use in developed countries

Developing societies require steel to build new roads, railway lines, buildings and bridges. They also need it to lay new pipelines for gas, water and sanitation and to build factories and machinery.

Once basic infrastructure needs are met and GDP continues to rise, the demand for consumer goods such as washing machines and refrigerators increases, as does the need for mobility via trains, buses and automobiles – all of which require steel for their production and related infrastructure (stations and fueling). Urbanization is also enabled by steel – e.g. allowing for high-rise buildings.

Steel stocks per person, or the demand for steel in developed societies tends to plateau as a certain level of wealth is reached and the need for new infrastructure and buildings are satisfied. Per capita demand tends to remain high in areas with high industrial production, contributing to sustained economic growth.

For example, steel demand is high in South Korea due to the country’s high level of steel exports in steel-containing goods such as ships and cars.
It is also high in Japan because of shipbuilding, engineering and automotive – it remains a big net exporter of automotive vehicles. Steel is also required in both of these highly urbanized countries for highrise buildings that are earthquake resistant.

Stock levels for steel in China and India in particular are expected to grow significantly by 2050  to meet their growing need for buildings, infrastructure and transport in a sustainable way. There will also be strong growth in steel production in other areas of the world where steel will be vital in raising the material and social welfare of developing societies.

Steel will continue to be needed in both developed and developing countries in advanced and new applications that support sustainable development and thereby, a green economy.

Source: World Steel Association

Written by:

Jovelle W. // SMC Editor

International Trade and Marketing Specialist