What Applications Call for a Stainless Steel Valve?
Applications that call for a stainless steel valve are numerous, and the incentives vary. So many valves are constructed of stainless steel because of the unique properties that stainless steel exhibits. Because of its exclusive characteristics, it is highly desirable for countless applications.
What is Stainless Steel?
To better understand the thinking behind an application that recommends a stainless steel valve, it's good to know what makes stainless steel so special. To metallurgists, stainless steel is known as inox steel. Inox, or inoxydable steel, is a blended steel containing chromium oxide, a chemical element compound which creates a protective film on the surface of steel. Because of this film, stainless steel is extremely resistant to stain, rust, and corrosion.
- Stainless: The term stainless is somewhat misleading, as nothing is completely stain proof. However, the term has more to do with corrosion--which can result in discoloration--than actual stains.
- Corrosion: In spite of its misleading name, stainless steal rates just under platinum and gold for corrosion resistance. There are many types of corrosion--natural, chemical, galvanic, stress, etc.--but stainless steel resists all of them with amazing regularity. Monuments, such as the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, which was erected between 1963 and 1965, has successfully resisted corrosion for 53 years with little more than regular scheduled cleaning.
- Rust: Stainless steel doesn't rust like iron or carbon steel because it lacks an iron oxide film, instead having a film of chromium oxide.
When to Use a Stainless Steel Valve
Stainless steel valves are ideal for applications that expose valves to air that is high in oxidation properties, water, acids, weak bases (like ammonium hydroxide), or organic compounds (like food). Stainless steel is commonly used in HVAC and other refrigeration applications, steam applications, chemical processing plants, food industries, medical manufacturing, and piping systems exposed to water and other natural elements... The list goes on.
When Not to Use a Stainless Steel Valve
Despite its wonders, stainless steel has some drawbacks, though they are normally far and few between. While it is compatible with countless chemicals and bases, some are more corrosive to stainless steel than others. Some chlorites, for example, can compromise a stainless steel valve's protective film. Hydrochloric acid, especially, will damage any stainless steel valve. Stainless steel can also cause galvanic corrosion in other metals if there is contact between them, especially in wet environments.
For the majority of applications, though, stainless steel should always be your first choice when selecting a valve that is corrosion resistant. A stainless steel valve is perfect for the majority of applications you may have in mind, but if you're ever in doubt, just ask your valve distributor.
Where to Buy Stainless Steel Valves
When you need to buy a stainless steel valve, buy it from a distributor that deals in valves regularly. We know all about stainless steel valves, stock them in a wide variety, and are happy to answer any questions you may have about them. We are ValveMan.com,and we've been in the industrial grade valve business for over 50 years. We only sell valves. It's simply what we do, and we do it better than anyone else.