How Can Stainless Steel Rust?
You might think that any stainless steel products should never rust, but occasionally this does happen. This could be due to a number of different situations and you should talk to your fabricator to see what can be done to alleviate this risk.
Choosing the Initial Materials
Take a careful look at the supply chain in the first instance. Ask your fabricator to ascertain whether the proper stainless steel grade has been initially chosen for your job. Not only this, but your finished surface has to be correctly identified too. The surface will be more resistant to corrosion if it is highly polished. Specialist expertise is needed during the selection of the abrasive grade used in the creation of the finished surface.
What you may think appears to be rusting of the actual stainless steel itself, may well be carbon contamination instead. When wire brushes are used and grinding dust is in place, this situation can materialise. If any carbon steel fabrication needs to be done as an integral part of any stainless steel work, then these two separate jobs should be done in different locations. If this simply isn’t possible, careful cleaning operations must be implemented, so the machine is ready before the second process begins. Stainless steel should also be covered with some plastic coating, to protect it before work commences.
Care During Welding
If your fabrication shop requires some welding during certain stages, then a specific treatment will have to be applied at the finish. Welding produces oxidation and a condition known as “heat tint.” An oxidised surface will be less resistant to rust than the material that is adjacent to it. In these cases, special cleaning operations will need to be engaged, using pastes, sprays, gels, and brushes.
Care During Transportation
The fabricator should also ensure that care is taken once the work is out of their hands and the steel has to be protected as it moves from the workshop to the client. As an example, should the stainless steel come into contact with any commonplace brick or masonry cleaning products, then immediate contamination is likely, as these products usually contain muriatic acid.
Finally, as the end user, you also have a duty of care if you want to prevent rusting issues. Just make sure you clean the stainless steel regularly using warm water and soap, followed by a rinse with clear water. If you have to choose something extra for stubborn stains, make sure the polish used is nonabrasive.