Have you ever noticed that whenever you go to a supermarket to get some fresh bread or you go to a restaurant and see the food being cooked that there is one thing in common?
Not the ingredients, but the work surfaces and the apparatus – they are all made from stainless steel.
Why Stainless Steel
Well, this metal has some distinguishable characteristics; it is resistant to corrosion, rust or oxidation will not occur on items made from stainless steel. It is also hygienic, good for the environment and ‘looks clean’!
Metal has a smooth surface which is generally easy to clean and maintain. However metals that rust easily will then get spots and pits, and this creates areas where bacteria can thrive and breed. If the metal is holding up a building or is for the bonnet of a car, then bacteria doesn’t factor too much into consideration. However if we are talking cutlery, or food preparation surfaces or even medical equipment, we want these to be as clean and hygienic as possible.
If a scalpel for surgery was to carry even the smallest of rust spots, then an incision into an animal or human, could easily cause infection or even something like tetanus. This will not happen with stainless steel?
Why is stainless steel safe?
Because it is designed to be is the first answer. Being resistant to rust is something that it is primarily designed to be. It is a steel alloy and consists of chromium and steel. The chromium (usually up to 10-15%) is what gives the immunity to rust and oxidisation. It works by creating the compound chromium oxide and this blocks the iron oxide from being able to eat and spread into the metal.
Good and Green
When you compare against the use of plastics, we can see that metals are far more environmentally friendly. With far greater ease, they can be recycled and then of course reused. This can be an eternal cycle too, so it can always be used again.
A metal of many hats
Another reason for its dominance and popularity as the metal of choice in hygiene conscious industries is the fact that it flexible in how it can be used. Unlike normal steel it can be used for piping due it its non rusting properties and can carry this work out at great temperature. It can also be used for containers, machines, ovens, tables, clipboards, trolleys and even boot washers! It is a metal that has not one, but many purposes.
It also of course looks good. It can be polished to have mirror reflective properties or can be brushed to reflect less, but give a cool clean appearance.
It is also designed to stay looking good. With its non-corrosive properties, the stainless steel you buy, can really live up to its name.