Did you know that stainless steel pipes or tubing can last more than 100 years? That's because stainless steel can resist corrosion, fire, and heat. Lab equipment, jet engine parts, boat fittings, food and pharmaceutical processing equipment, and chemical containers are the most common things made from Stainless Steel 316, a common grade of steel.
So many things can be made from steel, and there are more than 100 grades of it. There are five major groups of stainless steel: austenitic, ferritic, martensitic, duplex, and precipitation-hardening. These are categories of metallurgical structures. The hollow tubes can be round, square, or rectangular. They can be welded or seamless. All of these can be used in things like construction, industrial applications, the medical industry, and to manufacture automobiles. You can even make a bike with steel tubing.
In construction, you often see supports and steel tubing used to make scaffolding and stairs. Metal scaffolding is commonly used because it requires no nuts or bolts and is quick and easy to put together. The tubing is strong and can hold workers and heavy equipment.
People even use steel tubing in their homes, both as a design element and for practical purposes. Most appliances have tubing, too. The back of a refrigerator is usually a maze of metal tubing. More and more interior designers leave steel pipes visible to give homes an industrial look. Pipes, ventilation, drainage, and electrical wiring can all be manufactured from steel tubing.
In industrial applications, sanitary tubing is used to safely transfer gases and liquids and to make food and beverages. According to Quality Assurance Magazine, the wrong kind of equipment can cost manufacturers up to $1.5 million annually. Because it has a smooth, non-porous surface, stainless steel is a sanitary material, and, with the right sanitation practices, such as keeping sanitary valves and sanitary fittings, it can cut down on illnesses like Salmonella and Listeria.
In the medical industry, where sanitation also matters, steel tubing is used for bed rails, surgical tools, and braces. It can also be used for biopsy needles, coronary stents, and spinal cages. Tubing can even be used in dental implants.
Steel tubing is widely used by automobile manufacturers. It is used in vehicle suspension, fuel injection, and control systems. Known for its strength and durability, steel tubing is an ideal choice when you have to keep safety in mind.
Perhaps one of the most amazing things about stainless steel tubing is that, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute, most of the world's steel is recycled -- 88% to be exact. And most (two out of three tons) of new steel comes from old steel.
With so many possible applications and benefits, it's easy to see why stainless steel is one of the most-used metals on the planet.