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How to Properly Clean & Care For Stainless Steel

How to Clean Stainless Steel

There is a good chance that the appliances in your kitchen are stainless steel. In the appliance and hardware world, stainless steel is the most popular finish these days by a landslide. Gone are the days where white and bisque colors ruled the kitchen. Stainless steel can give a kitchen a fresh, clean and commercial style feel that adds overall value to your home. One of the few downfalls to stainless steel is that it can be a pain to keep clean, as stains and fingerprints can be highly visible. Today we discuss how to clean stainless steel, and also share some tips on products and methods to avoid. Whether you’re caring for appliances or stainless kitchen hardware, here are a few tips on cleaning stainless steel. (more…)

Steam Trap Testing & Troubleshooting Guide

Steam Trap Troubleshooting

Steam trap troubleshooting is a necessary step in diagnosing problems that will arise at some point in the life cycle of your steam system. Therefore, it’s important to schedule routine testing of your steam traps. Steam trap failure is caused by improper removal of the condensate. When the steam trap shows signs it can no longer remove condensate from the steam system efficiently, it’s a sign the traps are failing. Increased inefficiency means wasted fuel and an overall increase in production costs. (more…)

How to Update Cabinet Hardware for a Timeless Style

Update Cabinet Hardware

Outdated Cabinet HardwareDo you find yourself sitting around your kitchen and instantly feeling like you are stuck back in the 80’s? Sick of staring at those paltry plastic knobs on your cabinets? Or perhaps you have little wooden dowels that double as your cabinet hardware? It’s time to fast forward your kitchen into the 21st century. Below we share some tips on transforming your kitchen into the modern era by updating cabinet hardware. (more…)

How Does a Steam Trap Work?

How Steam Traps Work

The Industrial Revolution of the 19th century introduced the use of steam as a means of generating power, performing work and delivering heat to industrial process systems. Today, in industrial and commercial facilities and plants, as well as the marine industry, steam is still used commonly as a source of energy—for heating, processing, and power. Steam traps are used anywhere there is a steam-powered system to discharge condensate, that is, the liquid that builds up in the pipelines, along with other non-condensable gases, to relieve the pressure in the lines and regulate the flow of steam within in it. To do this effectively, steam traps are placed at intervals along the pipelines. But what exactly is a steam trap and how does it work? (more…)

How to Choose Cabinet Hardware That Won’t Go Out of Style

How to Choose Cabinet Hardware Style

When you are building a new home, or remodeling your current kitchen, choosing your kitchen cabinets is a crucial step in the overall look and feel of your home. You invest a good amount of time on deciding the color and style of your kitchen cabinets, but sometimes the hardware decision is rushed and made without regard to the look and style quality cabinet hardware can add to your kitchen. Below we will discuss choosing cabinet hardware, and cover a few different styles available today. (more…)

Stainless Steel vs Plastic Float Balls

Stainless Steel vs Plastic Floats

Float balls are used for much more than the plastic float balls found in toilets. Float balls are ideal for boiler systems, oil fields, water management and refrigeration. Nearly every industry that requires liquid level controls, measurements, and control switches has a need for float balls, and having the correct float balls can mean the difference between success and dangerous equipment failure.

Float balls are typically made of either metal or plastic and each have their own benefits. Though there are times when either plastic or metal float balls can be used, most scenarios call for either one or the other. Read on to learn more about the differences between stainless steel vs plastic floats! (more…)

Brushed vs Satin Finish Stainless Steel Applications

Brushed vs Satin Stainless Steel

Stainless steel can be finished using a variety of techniques. When talking about brushed stainless steel and satin stainless steel, these two finishes have a lot in common, and many consumers use the terms synonymously. This leads to a lot of confusion when making a finish selection. Let’s examine the similarities, differences, pros and cons of choosing brushed vs satin finish stainless steel. (more…)

The Pros and Cons of 304 vs 316 Stainless Steel

304 vs 316 Stainless Steel

The most widely used types of stainless steel are graded as 304 and 316. The grading system used to classify these two steel grades comes from a numbering system started by the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), one of the oldest trade unions from 1855. These classifications indicate their compositions, with most stainless steels rated in the 200s and 300s considered austenitic. The austenitization process involves heating the iron, iron alloy, or steel to a point where it changes its crystalline structure from ferrite to austenite.

What’s the Difference Between 304 vs 316 Stainless Steel

Though difficult to distinguish between the two with the naked eye, the distinctive properties between 304 vs 316 stainless steel make each better for specific applications.

About 304 Stainless Steel

The most commonly used of the austenitic stainless steel, the 304 grade, comprises 8-10.5 percent of nickel and 18-20 percent of chromium. Alloys also include other elements – including carbon, manganese, and silicon – with the rest of the composition being primarily iron. With the high nickel and chromium content, the 304 grade of stainless steel offers excellent protection against corrosion.

Common applications for 304 stainless steel include:

  • Automotive moldings and trim
  • Commercial equipment used for processing food
  • Electrical enclosures
  • Fasteners and finishing hardware like nuts, bolts, screws, plates, and handles
  • Harsh environments where carbon steel readily corrodes
  • Heat exchangers
  • Interior architecture and decorative hardware, such as panels and sculptures
  • Piping
  • Pots, pans, and other kitchen utensils and implements
  • Residential kitchen appliances
  • Residential sinks and their components
  • Storage tanks
  • Tubing for equipment
  • Wheel covers

One notable difference between 304 and 316 stainless steel is their levels of nickel and chromium. The former grade usually has a higher chromium content, while the latter generally contains more nickel.

About 316 Stainless Steel

The 316 grade is also mostly comprised of iron and similarly contains high amounts of nickel and chromium – at 10-14 percent and 16-18 percent, respectively – as well as smaller amounts of carbon, manganese, molybdenum, and silicon. For this reason, the 316 grade of stainless steel tends to be the preferred choice for use in marine environments.

Common applications for 316 stainless steel include:

  • Cisterns and piping used in chemical applications
  • Commercial kitchens and appliances
  • Containers used to hold pressurized gasses or liquids
  • Equipment for chemical storage and processing
  • Equipment used for industrial and chemical transportation
  • Marine components
  • Marine settings
  • Medical devices and equipment not requiring surgical steel
  • Outdoor electrical enclosures
  • Outdoor furnishing
  • Pharmaceutical manufacturing
  • Refinery infrastructure
  • Seafood production and other food processing in saline environments
  • Stainless steel floats

The main difference between 304 vs. 316 stainless steel involves the 316 grade’s much higher levels of molybdenum, which are typically 2-3 percent by weight and provide better corrosion resistance.

What Type of Stainless Steel Contains Molybdenum?

 

The name for the chemical element molybdenum evolved from the ancient Greek word for lead, as it was often confused with lead ores. It is not found alone as a metal but as an oxide in various minerals. Silvery-gray in appearance it has one of the highest melting points of any element. Because of this property, it provides incredible strength and stability to steel alloys, which is why its most common use involves steel production.

304 vs 316 Stainless Steel: What You Need to Know

When looking at these two steel grades, both look similar in appearance and have comparable chemical compositions. Both resist rusting and corrosion well, while also offering added durability. When comparing 304 vs. 316 stainless steel, the latter’s higher cost can be attributed to its better corrosion resistance. Because of this price differential and the limited environments in which 316 steel is advantageous, the 304 grade is the most widely used austenitic stainless steel.

Because of its better corrosion resistance, the stainless 316 grade costs more. For applications that expose an alloy to chlorinated solutions and chlorides, including seawater, using this higher grade is especially recommended. It can add years to the life of components or equipment exposed to harsh and corrosive conditions, particularly if it involves exposure to salts. Yet, for most applications, the 304 grade will work perfectly well. In summation, when looking at 304 vs. 316 stainless steel, for applications that require superior resistance to corrosion or water, use 316 stainless. For other applications, 304 stainless will work just fine.

To summarize, 316 steel is worth the expense if you need superior corrosion resistance and your application contains water. If not, 304 steel will serve your needs just fine.

Stainless Steel Grades: Explained

Stainless Steel Grades Explained

Stainless steels are mainly used when corrosion or oxidation is an issue, as the function that they perform can’t be duplicated by other materials for their cost. Over 100 years ago, it was discovered that a minimum of 12% chromium would impart corrosion and oxidation resistance to steel; hence the name “stainless steel”. Several different types of grades of stainless steel have been developed. Below are the different stainless steel grades explained. (more…)