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Posted 30 November 2003

PDT Architects, Brisbane in association with HOK Sport, Venue and Event designed and documented the $280m Suncorp Stadium for the Queensland Government.

"It is the top grade material and that's what we wanted for the stadium...

When you take that the client is the people of Queensland, they expect the best to go into the stadium.

If they're paying $280 million for a stadium they want the thing to last and stainless will give you that longevity."

Director, John Brown of PDT Architects described the pros and cons of specifying stainless steel for the redevelopment of Lang Park (Suncorp Stadium).

Ticket Counters
When PDT Architects expressed concerns by Ticketek staff that stainless steel ticket counters would be too glary, ASSDA provided the necessary technical assistance required and prevented a switch to timber material.

JB: The client talked about changing from stainless to timber because Ticketek and others had commented that stainless steel would be too glary.

We found that we could use a brushed finish which wouldn’t throw up too much glare and we also did some sun shade diagrams and all sorts of diagrams to make sure the sun wasn’t hitting the ticket counters.

Full Stainless: Commercial Kitchens
JB: It was always going to be stainless steel, mainly because of the health reasons ... but also for cleaniness and ease of cleaning.

All the commercial kitchens at the stadium have them. All the finishing kitchens, all the food outlets, beverage and of course the main kitchen. All the food is prepared in that kitchen and taken up through the service lifts into the finishing kitchens, warming kitchens and then out into the public.

Stainless Wire Rope for Visibility
PDT Architects has recommended replacing the stadium’s flat bar rails with stainless steel wire rope to improve visibility.

JB: We've been able to convince the State Government code people that we can take a lot of the galvanising rails out and put in stainless steel wire rope which would give a better view.

We’ve put in a report to the Government whereby we can cut out a lot of these flat bars and put in stainless steel wire rope through them which will just open the whole place up.

Stadium Stainless Statistics
ASSDA member Fagersta supplied 60 tonnes of stainless steel coil of various widths and thicknesses to ASSDA member Tom Stoddart. A further 10 tonnes of stainless steel was supplied to Eziform for gutters and box gutters.

Tom Stoddart produced works at a cost of $11 million and approximately 50,000 man hours including full kitchen and bar fitouts, refrigeration units, cash register stations balustrading and some food service equipment.

Fagersta was also the main supplier of stainless steel for Colonial Stadium in Melbourne and Telstra Stadium in Sydney.

The Post Game Wrap-Up
JB: Firstly, it satisfied us as far as an architectural feature went, it satisfied us as far as life cycle went and most certainly it then satisfied us as far as safety issues went.

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 26, November 2003.

Savings for Stainless


Posted 30 November 2003

Researchers from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and the Cooperative Research Centre for Welded Structures (CRC-WS) have developed a welding process for stainless steels and other corrosion-resistant metals that is significantly faster, cheaper and easier than current practices.

The patented process is an elaboration of standard gas-tungsten arc welding (GTAW), and uses a specially designed torch that establishes and maintains a ‘keyhole’ at the joint.

The weld then proceeds, zipper-like, with the melted sides of the keyhole fusing at the back as the torch melts new material in front of it.

Keyhole GTAW is most effective for materials of low thermal conductivity, such as titanium and stainless steel, but does not work with good thermal conductors such as aluminium.

‘In comparison to conventional GTAW, machining of the edges to be joined is greatly reduced, it uses about one-twentieth the filler material, and reduces the welding time by about tenfold’ says Dr Ted Summerville, a commercial manager at CSIRO Manufacturing & Infrastructure Technology in Adelaide.

Applications of the technology include tube making, welding of rotatable products such as pipes and the joining of large sheets. The technology is particularly advantageous for welding thicker materials.

In keyhole welding, the arc melts the metal right through on both sides of the joint. Via surface tension, this establishes a stable structure which joins the front and rear surfaces through the width of the material. The weld pool is thus anchored, preventing the ejection of molten material.

The result is a process which is not only relatively inexpensive to acquire, but is also cheap to operate. The torch melts right through the joint where the two metal pieces to be welded abut, and molten metal extends through the depth of the material – up to 12mm thick for steels and 16mm for titanium alloys.

Very little filler material is needed to make the joint – about 50g/m for welding 12mm thick stainless steel, compared with about 1kg/m using conventional GTAW. And the joint is made in one pass, compared with up to seven for the thickest steels and titanium alloys.

Reduction to a single pass means that the metal at the site of the weld is only at risk of contamination once, whereas if it is welded seven times, there are seven opportunities for contamination.

The lack of multiple passes also vastly increases welding productivity. Typical examples of keyhole performance include single-pass welding of 12mm thick austenitic stainless steel at speeds of 300mm/min, 8mm carbon–manganese steel at 500mm/min, and 3mm ferritic stainless steel at 1000mm/min.

In one comparison, the welding time of 35min/m for 12mm stainless steel plate using conventional GTAW was reduced to <3.5min/m using the keyhole method.

And the quality of the welds is generally excellent. ‘We have qualified the process against a range of American standards’, says Dr Summerville, ‘and it has always passed’.

In addition, it is clean welding process. Fume generation using conventional GTAW is very low, and the same is true for keyhole GTAW.

The drawback to keyhole GTAW is that the torch can only be used in the conventional downhand position – the joint must be made between horizontal sheets with the torch vertical.

Recent work, however, has demonstrated that it is possible to operate the technology ‘out-of-position’, and this could lead to many new applications in the future.

‘If keyhole welding could be done in any position – for instance, if you could rotate the torch around pipe – it would increase the market for the technology by about ten times’, says Dr Summerville.

The technology is currently being licensed by the joint owners of the technology – CSIRO and the CRC-WS – and licencees are already successfully applying the technology in USA and Finland.

A number of licensees in these markets have reported significant productivity improvements.

Licenses for the keyhole welding technology are being offered in Australia, Europe and USA for use in the manufacture of products ranging from spiral-welded pipe to railway rolling stock.

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 26, November 2003.


Posted 28 February 2004

Tamarama Beach or as local Sydneysiders call it 'Glamarama Beach', is well known as the place for beautiful people to be seen and for the rest of us to dream.

Artist, Graham Chalcroft set out to distort self-image in the name of fun by capitalising on the beach's former fairground history to design and fabricate a sculpture - 'Bathing Box: the impossible change room of shattered dreams'.

The stainless steel sculpture was a crowd favourite at the 'Sculpture by the Sea' exhibition held in November 2003 from Bondi Beach to Tamarama Beach in Sydney NSW.

The sculpture's design aesthetic was inspired by archival images of traditional late 19th century bathing boxes and how they have evolved.

Each sculpture profile is based on the curves of the human form - one male and one female. On approaching the convex/concave doors, the mirror distorts the body with startling effects.

ASSDA member, Stainless Sections, kindly donated six sheets of 304 with a No. 8 mirror finish for profiles fitted inside the doorframes.

For accuracy and efficiency, Chalcroft use T & M Engineering Group in Smithfield to computer design and laser cut the sheets to be clamped on the structural wood faces and strips.

"The stainless steel performed extremely well. It handled well in fabrication and the thick protective coating saved the steel from potential scratching," said Graham Chalcroft.

"The mirrored steel coped with the heat, wind, salt spray and suffered no scratching from the many thousands of hands touching the artwork," he said.

'Sculpture by the Sea' is in its seventh year and is the largest free outdoors sculpture exhibition in the worlds with over 200,000 visitors.

Photos by Graham Chalcroft.

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 27, February 2004.

Brewed for Efficiency


Posted 28 February 2004

When Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) announced plans last year to expand production capacity at the Yatala site in Queensland, the company considered both purchase of new stainless tankage as well as transfer of tanks from its Sydney brewery and re-use of second hand tanks in its inventory.

 

 

Six such vessels had been stored by CUB on leased land in the City of Redcliffe, unsealed and exposed to the weather.

Constructed in 321 stainless, the 3 x 12 metre tanks were out of service for the last ten years and placed in the yard for future use.

The six beer storage tanks are part of a series of 16 tanks built in 1966, that have proven the test of time and reinforced the material's durability and returned back to service 'as good as new'.

ASSDA member, D & R Stainless was approached to upgrade the six 1,000 hectalitre (hl) vessels to the new fittings with design verification and tested to meet AS 1220 Standard.

The Brisbane-based fabricator modified, checked and tested the beer storage tanks so as to meet CUB's exacting standards for beer production which would include popular CUB brands such as VB, Fosters Lager, Carlton Midstrength and Crown Lager, allowing them to be used as part of the ongoing expansion.

Work on the six tanks involved cleaning down and refurbishing with new stainless steel tubes and fittings supplied by Matrix Process Solutions.

The six tanks were taken to D & R Stainless and pumped with 4,000 litres of water constantly through the system and back through the CIP spray balls so that all of the tank area was wet to see if there was any carbon steel pick up.

All tanks were checked thoroughly for any rust spots and repolished where required. New nozzles were also installed and internally polished.

D & R Stainless Manager, Ray Powell was initially concerned that the carbon steel supporting rings around the vessel would bleed through onto the stainless as there were no compensating plates.

"We only had one tank [the first tank] that had a problem and that was laminating in the heat effected zones. And that was only on one tank on the bottom of the seams, so we came back in and dye checked, found the problems, ground back and repaired," Mr Powell said.

"The quality of the tank is in good condition. The beauty of stainless is that if it's looked after it will last forever and proof's in the pudding, they're coming up nearly 40 years old - they've certainly proved the test of time," he said.

The expansion of CUB's Yatala facility follows an announcement in April last year of the closure of the Kent Brewery in NSW by February 2005.

This operational review will see the relocation of over 50 beer fermentation and storage tanks from Sydney, a brand new twin stream brewhouse and new filtration equipment to the Queensland facility, which is CUB's most efficient brewery. Total project cost is around $170 million.

As a result of the review, the Yatala facility will double its capacity from 230 million litres of beer a year to over 500 million litres.

Despite being out of service for more than a decade, the excellent condition of the tanks ensures that stainless steel has significantly contributed to product quality and cost efficiency for Carlton & United Breweries long into the future.

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 27, February 2004.


Posted 28 February 2004

For many years there has not been a Standard to cover the low pressure stainless steel cast pipe fittings commonly used in Australia and other countries around the world.

These are commonly termed “150lb” or “BSP” pipe fittings. In most cases the fittings that have been supplied were a mismatch of various Standards.

The fittings were dimensionally in accordance with a number of American Standards, whilst British Standard threads were used. This led to the fittings having threads that in some cases were non-compliant - basically there was insufficient length to accommodate the thread.

ASSDA, through its Technical Committee, identified this problem in the early 90s and through the publication of ASSDA’s Technical Bulletin No 1, highlighted the problems to the Australian market. ASSDA also looked for a mechanism to have these problems rectified.

ISO 4144 "Pipework - Stainless Steel Fittings Threaded in Accordance with ISO 7-1"
After investigating the alternatives it was decided that International Standard ISO 4144 could be the conduit to rectifying the problems. ISO 4144 in its 1979 form covered most of the committee’s concerns, but it did not allow for cast fittings - only wrought stainless steel.

After correspondence with the Australian and International Standard bodies, it was ascertained that ISO 4144 was due for revision, which presented a golden opportunity to have the standard rewritten to cover all of the Technical Committee’s concerns.

ASSDA was invited to represent Australia on the committee established to review the Standard and actively took part in the full process of its revision. Not all of the Committee’s recommendations were accepted. Finally, in early 2003 the new Standard was published.

What has been achieved?
The major improvements that have been adopted in the new Standard are:

a.    The use of castings as well as wrought materials.
b.    All cast fittings are to be properly heat-treated by solution annealing.
c.    The reduction in dimension, a more economical fitting.
d.    The thread standards allowed have been clearly defined.
e.    An introduction of pressure-temperature ratings for application of the fittings.
f.    The inclusion of eight new types of fittings into the Standard.
g.    The inclusion of DN 100 (4”) fittings.

Now that ISO 4144:2003 allows for the use of castings, Australia finally has a Standard that covers the products that have been in common use for many years.

The requirement that all castings are to be fully heat-treated will alleviate some of the corrosion problems that have been encountered in the past.

The dimensions of the fittings have been revised dramatically, thus giving a lighter and more economical fitting.

The wall thickness is the major dimension that has been reduced and it can be reduced by a further 20% if the fitting is made from wrought material.

ISO 7-1 sealing pipe threads are to be used on all fittings. The external and internal threads are to be tapered, but the internal threads may be parallel. The only exception to this is the threads on the Unions and their mating nut, which are allowed to have a variety of parallel threads.

Pressure temperature ratings for application of fittings have been specified (refer to Table 1).

Table 1 - Pressure-Temperature Rating

ome fitting types supplied into Australia were not covered in the old ISO 4144 Standard.

Eight new types have been included in the new Standard: these are 90° Reducing Female Elbows, Reducing Female Tees, 45° Equal Female Elbows, 90° Male x Female Elbows, Crosses, Reducing Nipples, Male x Female Unions and Male x Male Unions.

With the inclusion of the DN 100 (4”) fittings, the Standard now has a comprehensive range of products.

Some Disappointments with the New Standard
In the new Standard, apart from some minor editorial errors, there are two points of concern to the ASSDA Technical Committee.

Firstly, the new wall thicknesses that are stated as minimum could lead to a product being supplied that may not meet the expectations of the customer.

Even though the Standard allows for thin wall product, such thin walled fittings could be subject to distortion during the threading process or during installation. Care must be taken that this does not occur.

The second concern within the Standard is the length of the minimum external thread that has been adopted. The title of ISO 7-1 is “pipe threads where pressure tight joints are made on the threads”.

The minimum length specified can accommodate a thread that seals if it is manufactured to close tolerance. Care is required in manufacture to achieve this outcome.

Although it was recommended to the International Committee that it accept external thread lengths that could accommodate a thread at both ends of the tolerance range, the Committee did not adopt these recommendations.

Table 2 highlights the external thread lengths that were adopted compared to the external thread lengths that were recommended by Australia.

Table 2 - External Thread Length Comparisons

Conclusion
ASSDA believes minimum thread length is a concern to all suppliers and users of these fittings and care should be taken in their selection.

If mating fittings do not seal on the threads and interfere with the washout they may leak.

It is recommended that fittings should only be sourced from reputable and experienced manufacturers and supplied to ISO 4144:2003.

Overall, the Standard is a considerable improvement on what was available, and with care in the selection, the end user will be in a more certain and much safer environment than in the past.

Credits
This article was written by Kim Burton, Group Supply Manager of Prochem Pipeline Products Pty Ltd and an ASSDA Technical Committee member. ASSDA also acknowledges the contribution of Technical Committee member Peter Moore, Technical Services Manager of Atlas Specialty Metals, in the development of this article.

Download Technical Bulletin (April 1997 - pdf 920k)

This technical article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 27, February 2004.


Posted 30 September 2004

"Windhover" is a dramatic stainless steel sculpture created by the late Lenton Parr, located on the eastern foreshore of Port Phillip Bay in Sandringham, Melbourne.

Unveiled in December 2001, the sculpture's vertical lines and arcs are evocative of the yachts often seen sailing out on the Bay.

However, two and a half years of zero maintenance and exposure to salt spray from the bay have taken their toll, turning the surface of the stainless steel a blotchy brown.

Called tea staining, it's caused by deposition of salt on the surface which is then trapped in the crevices of the brushed finish.

Regular reactivation by rain has perpetuated a corrosion cycle leading to quite rapid and severe surface staining.

The problem was how to clean the sculpture and then to ensure that it would remain protected from tea staining in the future.

Conventional weld pickling products containing hydrofluoric acid are very aggressive and risk damage to or discolouration of the surface.

Strong acids may also create an environmental and safety hazard when used in such a public place.

Many cleaning formulations are available based on phosphoric, sulphamic, oxalic or nitric acids. They have various degrees of handling and disposal restrictions.

The formulations may also contain mid abrasives and wetting agents/detergents to aid the cleaning process.

In July 2004, ASSDA Member, Revolution Advanced Metals and Materials, used a cleaning paste based on a moderate concentration of phosphoric acid which is relatively safe to handle.

Inadvertent skin contact by this product does not cause the burning and possible ulceration associated with strong concentrations of nitric and hydrofluoric acid preparations.

The cleaning product was brushed on and left to react for 3-4 hours. The brown tea staining gradually disappeared.

In some particularly bad sections a second application was necessary to completely remove all traces of the staining, but it left a completely blemish-free surface.

In this case, residue from the cleaning product was simply washed away with water. In other cases, however, check with local authorities for correct disposal procedures.

One of the problems when washing stainless steel with water is the streaking caused by uneven drying.

This was very noticeable on the sculpture.

Also, because it is unlikely that ongoing regular cleaning will occur, it is also important to limit the access of chlorides to the surface. Otherwise the staining problem will recur.

To overcome both these problems, a water-based protective product with oils and non-ionic surfactants but no phosphates was sprayed on and wiped over.

After polishing with a dry cloth all streaking vanished. It left an invisible film that stopped further streaking and fingermarks.

Best of all, it brought up the lustre of the brushed finish, and left Windhover looking as good as the day it was made.

Regular re-application should maintain the finish and help prevent tea staining in future.

Correct design, fabrication and on-going maintenance will all assist in keeping stainless steel sculptures and other structures erected adjacent to the coast in good condition.

Words and images courtesy of Jim Picot, Revolution Advanced Metals & Materials.

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 29, September 2004.


Posted 30 September 2004

A crevice is a narrow gap between a piece of metal and another piece of metal or tightly adhering material like plastic or a film of bacterial growth.

Many metals and alloys are susceptible to crevice corrosion, but in stainless steel, crevices are the first and most common place for corrosive attack to begin. With a little understanding, crevice corrosion can either be avoided or minimised.

Crevices can be:
• The space under a washer or bolt head.
• The gap between plates bolted together.
• The gap between components intermittently welded.
• The space under a sticky label.
• The space between a gasket and the metal in a flange (especially if the gasket is absorbent).
• Any other tight gap.

Crevices can be designed into the structure, they can be created during fabrication or can occur during service.

Prevention measures should therefore also aim at design, fabrication and service.

Why crevices can corrode
To work at its best, stainless needs free access to oxygen. Crevices are wide enough to permit entry of moisture, but narrow enough to prevent free circulation.

The result is that the oxygen in the moisture is used up. In addition, if chlorides are present they will concentrate in the stagnant conditions and, by a combination of reactions, the moisture can become acidic.

These are all conditions that can lead to the breakdown of the passive film on the stainless. Attack can then progress rapidly.

Crevices can create conditions much more aggressive than on adjacent surfaces. Having crevices builds in weak spots where attack can begin and begin in much less severe conditions than anticipated for the remainder of the structure.

Table one shows laboratory measurements of critical temperatures needed to cause pitting on an open surface (CPT) and crevice (CCT) attack of a metal plate beneath a PTFE washer in a 10% ferric chloride solution.

The CCT is at least 20˚C lower than the temperature to cause pitting corrosion in this aggressive liquid. (Ferric chloride solution is an aggressive corrodent and is used because it is similar to the liquid in a pit when it is actively corroding.)

Factors influencing crevices:

Crevice Shape
The geometry of the crevice will influence its susceptibility to attack and the speed of progress. The narrower and deeper (relative to its width) a crevice is the worse attack will be.

Metal to flexible plastic crevices tend to be narrower than rigid metal to metal gaps so metal to plastic joints provide more aggressive crevices.

Environment
The more aggressive the liquid outside the crevice, the more likely it is that the crevice will be attacked.

This is why crevice attack can be a problem in a salty swimming pool but not in a fresh water tank.

In the atmosphere, crevices beside the sea give more problems than in rural environments. If the liquid outside the crevice is very oxidising, eg with bleach, hydrogen peroxide or ozone, then crevice attack will tend to be more severe.

Temperature
Once the CCT is exceeded, then as with pitting corrosion, higher temperatures mean corrosion is more rapid. The rule of thumb is that a 10˚C rise in temperature will double the corrosion rate.

This means that when comparing Far North Queensland to Tasmania, not only are crevices more likely to start corroding but also that once they do, they will corrode faster because the temperature is consistently higher.

Alloy resistance
Using a more corrosion resistant alloy gives less crevice attack. For example, in seawater at ambient temperature, crevices will form on 304 if there is a 0.9mm gap, on 316 if there is a 0.4mm gap and on 904L (similar corrosion resistance to 2205) if there is a 0.15mm gap.

Minimising the risk of crevice corrosion

Good design, fabrication and operating practices will anticipate and hence minimise crevice corrosion.

Design
Design to minimise the occurrence of crevices.  If a crevice is a necessary part of a component’s design – can it be made wider?

Full penetration butt welds are best for joints.  Seal lap joints and avoid gaps between pipes and fittings.

Minimise use of bolted connections and other fasteners. Where crevices can’t be avoided use a steel grade resistant to crevice corrosion in the operating environment. It is also possible to seal the crevices to keep out corrosive liquids, but care must be taken that the seal is permanent.

Be careful that the sealant “wets” the surface. If it doesn’t it may form its own crevice. Sealants that dry and shrink can form their own crevices.

Gaskets between flanges will probably form a slight crevice, but if the gasket does not absorb the liquid and is compressed between the surfaces (and not bulging around the flange), then the crevice is usually shallow enough so that crevice corrosion is not a problem.

Fabrication
Ensure full root penetration of welded joints with smooth weld bead. Avoid under cut and cracks in welding. Use of sticky labels or markers of various kinds (such as crayons) should be avoided, as should smears of grease or oil.

“Smooth and clean” at all times. ASSDA Accredited Fabricators are assessed on their knowledge of crevice corrosion.

Operation
Sediment and scale can both result in crevices.

If the problem can’t be designed out, routine maintenance will minimise risk. Crevice corrosion under bacteria film can occur. Maintaining circulation reduces the risk that debris will collect and form crevices in dead legs or low flow areas.

Further Reading
The Nickel Institute’s free publication #11021 “High Performance Stainless Steels” contains much of the information used in this article.

This publication and a mathematical model useful for assessing crevice corrosion risk can be downloaded from the Nickel Institute website - www.nickelinstitute.org

If more detailed corrosion mechanism information is required, then “Corrosion of Stainless Steels” by A. John Sedriks is a good intermediate point.


Reinforcing pad, staggered welds - adequate strength.


Reinforced pad, seal weld - best corrosion resistance.


Staggered fillets - severe crevice


Continuous fillets both sides - crevice sealed


Figure 1: Typical crack defects around a weld (WTIA)

Credits
The Australian Stainless Steel Development Association (ASSDA) would like to acknowledge the contribution of the following Technical Committee members for their contribution to the production of this article.
•  Richard Matheson - Executive Director, ASSDA
•  Graham Sussex - Technical Specialist, ASSDA
•  Peter Moore - Technical Services Manager, Atlas Specialty Metals

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 29, January 2004.


Posted 30 September 2004

A revolution is about to take place in the tiling industry with the introduction of stainless steel decorative tiles with a versatile design that will add style to any kitchen, bathroom, restaurant, bar and even as a feature wall.

There are many benefits to using stainless steel tiles. The tiles cannot burn or crack, graffiti can be easily removed, will not rust and is a stylish upgrade to the standard one piece splashbacks.

Available from Futura Tiles (Border Sheetmetal), the tiles are available in a wide variety of sizes, patterns, finishes and grades. Size ranges include: 65 x 290mm freeze, 290 x 290mm tile, 390 x 390mm tile.

Runaway Bay Designer Builder, Kerri Phillips, was so happy with the product that he installed the stainless tiles in his own kitchen and found cutting the tiles no problem at all.

"They provide you with special blades. It's a delicate operation, as long as you're careful it's fine," says Phillips.

ASSDA major sponsor, Fagersta Steels, supplies grade 304 stainless and patterned sheet from ASSDA member, Rimex Metals to Futura Tiles (Border Sheetmetal) to produce the tiles.

The tiles are also available in various Rimex patterns and finishes including the standard brush finish, 5WL and 6WL surface finishes.

Manufactured from grade 304 stainless as standard, the tiles are also available in grade 316 stainless for applications with a close proximity to marine environments.

Installing stainless steel tiles
Stainless steel tiles are basically the same as laying most floor and wall tiles. Cut tiles using similar ceramic grinding methods by using blades with 1mm steel cutting wheels.

Grouting
When grouting, apply grout to tiles leaving the protective film covering on the face of the tile. Use only fine, sanitised water resistant grouts and do not apply sanded or abrasive grouts. Remove excess grout with a clean sponge leaving a smooth grout line.

Removing film covering
Peel the protective film covering from the tiles, then with a clean sponge, remove any grout left behind from the edges of the covering. Leave approximately 30 minutes and dust off with a clean lint free cloth.

Protecting
After all dust film from the grouting has been removed apply a small amount of polishing oil to a clean rag and wipe with the grain of the tile to remove any excess oil. This will resist finger printing and water spotting and will enhance and protect the stainless steel surface.

Images courtesy of Karl Johnson, Futura Tiles (Border Sheetmetal).

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 29, September 2004.


Posted 30 January 2005

North Queensland's Hayman Island Resort welcomes thousands of guests every year to the Great Barrier Reef island destination. Also attracted by the beauty of the resort, cockatoos have eaten away at the timber balcony railings and balustrades

To combat the work of the troublesome cockatoos, the resort management called for stainless steel to replace the timber railings and balustrades on the fifteen year old building.

ASSDA major sponsor, Atlas Specialty Metals, supplied approximately 1,000 linear metres of grade 316 stainless steel including 76 x 42mm oval tube and 38mm diameter round tube in high polish to Mackay-based fabricator, Jeff Eales Sheetmetal for the project.

Stainless steel was used extensively for the balcony top rail and posts on all three levels of the pool wing accommodation block. Because many of the balconies are at the edge of the pool, oval profile tube was specified to prevent glasses or bottles being placed on the rail and then being bumped into the pool.

Also, to ensure guests receive uninterrupted ocean views, stainless steel wire rope was installed on each of the balustrades. This helped to eliminate the restricted views given by the previous timber material.

ASSDA member, Arcus Australia Pty Ltd supplied stainless steel wire for the balcony balustrades and ASSDA member Bridco supplied the wire fittings, turnbuckles and swages for the resort balustrading redevelopment.

Guests have commented on how the use of stainless steel complements the surroundings, improves the views and suits the building style.

Hayman Island Resort management are also impressed with the new stainless steel railing as it stops the bird problem, requires low maintenance and is easy to clean. All these qualities make the tropical ocean views much better.

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 30, January 2005.


Posted 31 January 2005

Sydney's New Year's Eve has always been celebrated in spectacular style and this year's event shined with the inclusion of a giant glitter ball featuring stainless steel.

Hanging from the Sydney Harbour Bridge was 'Fanfare', a five storey-high spherical structure covered in 354 stainless steel pinwheels that spin as the ball rotates.

The sculpture, designed by New Zealand artist Neil Dawson, is Sydney's first three-dimensional bridge effect in the event's history.

ASSDA major sponsor, Sandvik Australia Pty Ltd and ASSDA member, Stainless Sections supplied 90 sheets of 10' x 4' x 1mm or approximately 2.7 tonnes of stainless steel in number 8 finish to ASSDA member, DME Engineering Services for the fabrication of the pinwheels surrounding the structure.

During the day the pinwheels of  'Fanfare' spin in the winds of Sydney Harbour reflecting the many colours of the sky. At night the sculpture becomes a part of the light show, acting as a canvas for projections and reflections.

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 30, January 2005.


Posted 1 May 2004

Choosing mainline fittings for irrigation applications can often seem like building a giant puzzle with elbows, tees, crosses and coupler sets - various fittings required to connect irrigation pipework together.

Pierce AustraliaHowever, Geoff Mellows from Yarrawonga Irrigation in Victoria may have solved the puzzle by using stainless steel mainline fittings - something that plastic fittings cannot yet match.

Poly, pvc and avs fittings are common materials in irrigation applications but because they are produced out of a mould, the combinations of size and outlet configuration are restricted.

Mellows said that by using stainless mainline fittings by ASSDA member, Pierce Australia, he can now “manipulate the angle, the shape, the variation and combination of outlets.“

The difference is simple. PVC and poly are bolted on, or welded and glued - making it difficult to change fittings”.

Stainless steel mainline fittings are the only rubber-ring jointed fittings available on the marketplace manufactured to the customers specific needs and can be fitted on any other combination because they are fabricated.

Stainless steel mainline fittings also provide flexibility of design in the angle of the fittings.

This also applies to the combination of outlets on those fittings and any other additional connections to that fitting.

With versatile stainless steel fittings, Mellows advice to customers is simple - “lay the pipe first and worry about the fittings later!”

This article featured in Australia Stainless Issue 28, May 2004.

Photos courtesy of Pierce Australia.


Posted 1 May 2004

The Australian War Memorial in Hyde Park Corner, London stands as a symbol of freedom and an enduring spirit of strength.

To commemorate the men and women who fought and died for Australia alongside Britons in the two World Wars, Australian architectural firm Tonkin Zulaikha Greer and artist Janet Laurence designed the Memorial to reflect the sweep of the Australian landscape.

The result was a highly durable structure featuring a long, curved wave wall constructed out of West Australian green granite and supported by grade 316L stainless steel.

ASSDA Major Sponsor, Atlas Specialty Metals, and ASSDA members, M & S Stainless Supplies and Dalsteel Stainless supplied approximately 9000 kilos of stainless steel for the structure including 8mm plate, pipe, angles and 3mm sheet.

Grade 316L was specified for its corrosion resistance, particularly as the Memorial comprises a water feature that periodically cascades water across the wall to highlight the names of the hometowns of our soldiers.

Stainless steel was used primarily in the construction of stainless steel cradles which were fabricated in Australia, shipped, positioned and lifted into place to support the granite.

All welds were pickled and passivated to provide protection from the bromine and chlorine’s likely to be deposited on the frames from the water forms built into the Memorial.

Australian-based firm Design and Survey Neon (DSN) played a leading role in the design and manufacture of the supporting structure by using 3D modelling techniques.

The 3D modelling allowed the manufacture of components and assembly of the job to become a seamless process.

DSN modelled the granite wave wall and supporting cradles. The templates for the granite blocks and their fixings were then lifted from the model to enable the fixings to be pre-drilled prior to assembly.

The use of laser cutting and CNC technologies allowed DSN to fabricate to near machining tolerances. Laser etching of assembly notches were added for simple fabrication and installation.

Coordinates for supporting cradles from the model were used to determine correct on-site positioning via electronic theodolites.

The granite blocks were positioned with a 6mm gap vertically and horizontally to a tolerance of plus or minus 1mm. Precise accuracy was required to avoid accumulation of errors because of its wave like design.

Most of the components for the Memorial were imported from Australia. Water features and water effects were created by Waterforms International and all the stone work was assembled by Australians.

This article was featured in Australian Stainless Issue 28, May 2004.

Photos courtesy of Department of Veteran Affairs & Design and Survey Neon (DSN).

Main image: The Australian War Memorial 'Dedication Day Wreaths' placed in front of the curved granite wave wall. Photo courtesy of the Department of Veterans Affairs, copyright Commonwealth of Australia. Reproduced by permission.

Other images: 316 stainless steel cradles were lifted into place to support the granite blocks that form the wave wall.


Posted 1 May 2004

The visual performance of outdoor stainless steel depends on five interrelated factors:
• Surface finish - smooth and clean and free of crevices.
• Grade selection - appropriate for environment.
• Good design - rain washing and uniform draining.
• Maintenance program - regular cleaning.
• End user expectations. This technical article provides suggestions on a maintenance program for cleaning of exterior stainless steel, together with some recommendations for remedial action if stains occur beyond regular maintenance or where such maintenance has not been performed.

Maintenance: routine removal of grime

Stainless steel holds its appearance best if it is washed regularly. When washing use soap or detergent or 1% ammonia solution in warm, low chloride water with cloths or soft brushes to avoid scratching the surface.

Smears will be reduced if the surface is dried afterwards. This treatment applies to bare stainless steel but care should be taken with coloured surfaces.

Coloured and very smooth finished (eg BA or No. 8) surfaces subjected to excessive brushing or rubbing may lose gloss or even become scratched. Bleaches are not recommended.

Simply wiping with a damp cloth is not adequate as it smears corrosive deposits without removing them.

Table 1 from the ASSDA ‘Tea Staining’ Technical Bulletin provides a guide to the recommended frequency for cleaning exterior stainless steel. This Bulletin is available for viewing or download from ASSDA’s website.

Grease, oily films and other organic contamination

Oils and grease may be removed by alkaline formulations or hot water and detergents or, if necessary, by hydrocarbon solvents such as alcohol, acetone or thinners or eucalyptus oil. In all cases the surface should be rinsed with clean water and preferably dried.

For directionally grit polished finishes, wiping along the polish direction with very hot clean water and a soft, absorbent cloth is a good final step to reduce smears.

Heat from a hair dryer or glue gun may soften adhesive remnants from labels or protective films for removal.

After exposure to UV degradation from sunlight, adhesives may require similar treatment to grease stains or even abrasion, with the probability of a bright or scratched spot.

Adherent Scales and Mortar

Adherent scales and mortar may be removed chemically but NOT using chemicals containing chlorides.

NEVER use brick cleaning liquids that contain hydrochloric acid. Hot 25% acetic acid (vinegar) or warm 10% phosphoric acid are effective in removing hard water scales and dried mortar splashes.

Following the acid wash, the surface should be neutralised with dilute ammonia or sodium bicarbonate solution, rinsed and dried.

Remedial Work

The brown surface stains that can occur on stainless steel during atmospheric exposure are simply cosmetic rust stains.

This brown ‘tea staining’ on stainless steels will not progress to potential structural damage as could occur with a carbon steel structure.

The procedures outlined below may enable you to remove the tea staining. However, if the progression of damage is beyond these recommendations it is advisable to employ an experienced contractor.

Cleaning Rust Stained Flat Surfaces

Early action after the onset of tea staining is desirable, before the appearance of the underlying surface is changed.

If the surface is pitted, then it is probable that it will require mechanical repolishing. After mechanically cleaning off tea staining, it is preferable to passivate the surface by using a nitric acid gel or, if the item is portable, by immersion in a nitric acid bath. For marine exposures, passivation is very strongly recommended.

In contrast to other acids, nitric acid is a strong, oxidising acid cleaner and has the added advantage that it is a passivating agent.

The Nickel Institute has suggested that rust may be removed by the use of a 10% phosphoric or oxalic acid followed by a 1% ammonia solution neutralisation and then a water rinse.

Alternatively a mild acid based cleaner such as sulphamic acid (used in some saucepan cleaners) can be used with some care to avoid local changes in appearance. NEVER EVER use hydrochloric or sulphuric acids.

There are also proprietary chemical cleaning treatments often based on citric acid or other chelating compounds. Although these agents passivate in the sense of removing free iron and other foreign matter, they do not augment the surface oxide film.

Use of liquid acids on site is generally unsatisfactory as contact time is short and the acid may run off and damage adjacent components.

Unlike the hydrofluoric acid pickling process used after welding, a nitric acid passivation process does not normally change the surface appearance of stainless steel, although it may cloud a mirror polished surface. Careful trials on inconspicuous areas are recommended prior to full scale cleaning.

Electropolishing is also used by some contractors to smooth rough edges and both clean and passivate the surface. It can be carried out on site or, more usually, in purpose-built tanks.
Afterwards – prevention of recurrence

If tea staining has occurred, one or more of the five factors outlined in the introduction have not been considered carefully enough when the structure was designed and/or built.
To improve the structure, the following steps may be taken to prevent recurrence:
• Increase the frequency of maintenance.
• Improve the surface finish - mechanical polishing and chemical treatment on-site.
• Alter the design of the structure - redesign and replace the affected part of the structure.
• Improve grade selection - replace the structure with a more suitable grade of stainless steel.


ABOVE: A successful stainless steel installation in an outdoor application.

If consideration of the aforementioned steps indicates an uneconomic result, the stainless steel can be painted.

Paint systems using lacquers and polyurethane top coats are available and have been used successfully, but care and understanding is required.

Painting the stainless steel is a step that should only be used as a last option as it is irreversible.

This technical article was published in Australian Stainless Issue 28, May 2004. It is an extract of a Technical FAQ on ‘Exterior Cleaning of Stainless Steel’.

For technical support and advice contact ASSDA on 07 3220 0722 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Posted 1 May 2004

Cleaner beaches and major water savings will be the chief benefits of the largest Sydney Water construction project ever undertaken on the New South Wales south coast.

ASSDA Member, Roladuct Spiral Tubing, supplied approximately 60 tonnes of grade 316 and 316L stainless steel tubing and associated fittings for the Wollongong Sewage Treatment Plant.The $197 million Illawarra Wastewater Strategy will see an overhaul of the 40-year-old Wollongong sewage treatment plant (STP) including the construction of a major new water recycling plant, high level (tertiary) treatment processes and ultraviolet disinfection systems.

ASSDA member, Roladuct Spiral Tubing, supplied approximately 60 tonnes of grade 316 and 316L stainless spiral tubing and associated fittings in 2mm to 5mm thicknesses for the project.

These materials were provided to Total Process Services for use throughout the Wollongong STP for the majority of the above-ground process lines.

An additional supply of 35 tonnes of grade 316 stainless tube and pipe fittings were provided by ASSDA Major Sponsor, Atlas Specialty Metals.

Sydney Water’s head contractor for the project is the Walter-Veolia Joint Venture. Walter Construction Group (Walter) is responsible for managing the delivery of the project and undertaking civil infrastructure construction at the treatment plants. Veolia Water Systems Australia (Veolia) is responsible for the process, mechanical and electrical design, supply, installation, commissioning and operational advice.

An additional supply of 35 tonnes of grade 316 stainless tube and pipe fittings were provided by ASSDA Major Sponsor, Atlas Specialty Metals The project’s most dramatic transformations are taking place at the Wollongong sewage treatment plant, where a 21 million litre bioreactor forms the centre-piece of the upgraded plant. Designed to remove organic impurities and nutrients from wastewater, the base of the bioreactor tank was poured over a continuous 15-hour period.

The design approach redirects wastewater from treatment plants at Bellambi and Port Kembla to the Wollongong facility. The Bellambi and Port Kembla plants will be converted to specialised storm-flow treatment facilities which will be used only in extreme wet weather.

The new Wollongong plant will also operate a reuse facility - supplying high quality treated wastewater to BlueScope Steel and cutting demand for fresh water from the local Avon Dam by about 20 percent. The upgraded sewage treatment plant is due for completion in mid 2005. The Illawarra Wastewater Strategy is part of WaterPlan 21, Sydney Water’s long-term strategy for sustainable water and wastewater management.

ASSDA provides technical advice and access to resources on the water and wastewater industries - for details phone 07 3220 0722.

ASSDA Major Sponsor, The Nickel Institute, can provide essential information on waste water. This information is available for download from www.stainlesswater.org.

Standards Australia distributes the Water Services Specification (WS-SPEC:2000) incorporating guidelines for stainless steel. Visit www.standards.com.au for purchase.

This article featured in Australian Stainless Issue 28, May 2004.


Posted 31 January 2005

Combining many of the beneficial properties of both ferritic and austenitic steels, 2205 is the most widely used duplex stainless steel grade. Its high chromium and molybdenum content gives the stainless steel excellent corrosion resistance. The microstructure provides resistance to stress corrosion cracking and ensures high strength.

The grade is generally not suitable for use at temperatures above 300oC or below -50oC because of reduced toughness outside this range.

You are most likely to encounter 2205 stainless steel being used in industrial environments such as petrochemical, chemical, oil, gas and paper plants.

Alternative Grades
2205 has been available for several years - in general this complies with UNS grade designation S31803. More recently, product has become available complying with the higher corrosion resistant composition UNS S32205, as in table 1. Both these alternatives are known as 2205.

Composition
Grade 2205 has a micro structure of roughly equal amounts of ferrite and austenite, hence the 'duplex' description. The duplex structure of 2205 has the following properties:

  • High strength.
  • Lower thermal expansion coeffecient than austenitic steels but greater than carbon steels.
  • High resistance to corrosion, particularly stress corrosion cracking, corrosion fatigue and erosion.

The high content of chromium and molybdenum and the addition of nitrogen gives the steel further beneficial characteristics:

  • High general corrosion resistance.
  • High pitting and crevice corrosion resistance.
  • Good sulphide stress corrosion cracking resistance.

The addition of nitrogen gives a further increase in pitting and crevice corrosion resistance.

Table 1: Composition of 2205 and Alternative Grades (Single Values are Maximum)

Grade Common Name C% Mn% Si% P% S% Cr% Ni% Mo% N%
S31803 2205 0.030 2.00 1.00 0.030 0.020 21.0-23.0 4.5-6.5 2.5-3.5 0.08-0.20
S32205 2205 0.030 2.00 1.00 0.030 0.020 22.0-23.0 4.5-6.5 3.0-3.5 0.14-0.20

 

Corrosion Resistance
The grade has excellent corrosion resistance and is superior to grade 316, performing well in most environments where standard austenitic grades may fail. 2205's low carbon content gives the grade a high resistance to intergranular corrosion and has better resistance to uniform, pitting and crevice corrosion due to its high chromium and molybdenum content.

As 2205 is a duplex stainless steel, the grade is also less sensitive to stress corrosion cracking in warm chloride environments, unlike austenitic stainless steels. The grade also has good resistance to stress corrosion cracking when exposed to hydrogen sulphide in chloride solutions.

High mechanical strength combined with excellent corrosion resistance gives 2205 high corrosion fatigue resistance.

Heat Resistance
Although 2205 has good high temperature oxidation resistance, this grade, like other duplex stainless steels, suffers from embrittlement if held for even short times at temperatures above 300oC. If embrittled this can only be rectified by a full solution annealing treatment. 2205 is annealed at 1020-1100oC followed by rapid cooling. This treatment applies for both solution annealing and stress relieving.

Mechanical Properties
Mechanical properties for grade 2205 stainless steels are given in table 2.

Table 2: Mechanical Properties of 2205 (Annealed Condition)

Table 3: Physical Properties of Grade 2205 (Typical Values in Annealed Condition)

Tensile strength 620MPa min Density 7,805kg/m3
Yield strength 450MPa mi Elastic modulus 200GPa
Elongation 25% min

Mean coefficient of thermal expansion

Brinell hardness 293 HB max 0-100oC 13.7µm/m/oC
Rockwell hardness 31 HR C max 0-315oC

 

Physical Properties
Typical physical properties for grade 2205 stainless steels are given in table 3. There are surprisingly large variations in the values from different manufacturers for notionally identical materials.

2205 has a microstructure containing approximately 50% ferrite in the annealed condition, quenched from about 10500C. Higher annealing temperatures often result in an increase of ferrite content.

Fabricability
Due to the high yield strength of 2205, greater forces are required for the cold forming of this duplex steel, and will require larger capacity equipment than would be required for austenitic steels.

Processes such as stretch forming, deep-drawing and spinning are more difficult to perform.

Welding of 2205 is good by all standard methods, however, with the following restrictions:

  • Do not pre-heat or post-heat the material, heat input must be kept low.
  • Allow the material to cool between passes, preferably to below 150oC.
  • Use correct filler grade 2209. Autogenous welding should be avoided.

Forms Available
Grade 2205 is available in hot rolled plate and strip, cold rolled sheet, plate and coil, forgings/bar, tube and pipe and in threaded fittings and flanges.

Applications
Grade 2205 is typically used in the construction of heat exchangers, pressure vessels, tanks, tubes and pipes for the following industry areas:

  • Chemical processing, transport and storage.
  • Oil and gas exploration and processing equipment.
  • Marine and other high chloride environments.
  • Pulp and paper digesters, liquor tanks and paper machines.

Specifications
For many products grade 2205 is covered by the same specifications that include the common austenitics - ASTM A240M for flat rolled and ASTM A276 for bar. Duplex grades of tube have their own specification - ASTM A789M and A790M covers duplex grades of pipe.

Credits
ASSDA would like to thank Peter Moore of Atlas Specialty Metals and Graham Sussex of ASSDA in the development of this article.

Main image: 2205 hot water tank for beef abbatoir. Photo courtesy of ASSDA Accredited Fabricator, G&B Stainless Pty Ltd.

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 30, January 2005.


Posted 1 July 2005

These extraordinary sculptures shine with life when fashioned from stainless steel, demonstrating the diversity and beauty of the material.

Stainless Steel Lacewing - Brisbane, Australia Stainless Steel Brolga - Sydney, Australia

Main image:
Stainless Steel Snake 'Soho" - Artist: Damien Elderfield
Fabricated by Damien Elderfield, Melbourne

Left:
Stainless Steel Lacewing - Artist: John Coleman
Queensland Cultural Centre Busway, Brisbane

Right:
Stainless Steel Brolga - Artist: Allen Minogue
Fabricated by Townsend Group, Sydney

These images were featured in Australian Stainless Issue 32, Winter 2005.


Posted 31 January 2005

When South Australian developer, John Culshaw of Pentroth Pty Ltd proposed the design for the Majestic Roof Garden Hotel in Adelaide, the original proposal was for plain vertical bars for the car park grille of the Bent Street facade

Instead of surrendering to drab, pre-fab vertical bar grille designs, the developer actively sought a stylish alternative to the car park status quo. He commissioned artists Sue Rodwell and Trevor Rodwell to create ‘Strata’, a stainless steel grille design that aesthetically showcases the hotel building and provides a ‘majestic streetscape’ experience for Bent Street pedestrians.

The artists’ intention was to excise the barrier that would be created by the vertical security bars, which were uninviting at street level. Taking this as their starting point, they researched the replacement of verticals with horizontals to create a calm but dynamic form.

Strata lines of sandstone (used on the Frome Street facade of the hotel), contour lines, isobars from weather charts and the winged roof line of the hotel all helped to drive the inspiration for the unique design. From these lines, the artists devised a series of twenty-two panels, in sets of one, two and three. Each set is a unique design so that the complexity of the concept was acknowledged.

The grille runs the length of the hotel on Bent Street, integrates with the building and the electrically operated entrance doors to the car park and storage areas of the hotel. The nature of these horizontal waving lines creates a dynamic effect because it seems that they swing in and out because of an optical illusion when viewed from an oblique angle. By day the sky and daylight are reflected from the satin surface of the steel and at night the street and hotel lighting is reflected.

The artists chose stainless steel for their artwork for several reasons. The material used had to be strong to fulfill the structural requirements of a security grille. The artists also required it to be aesthetically complementary to the contemporary and stylish design of the hotel.

The artists went through an intense design development stage to arrive at a formula for the curving lines that worked visually. Using this formula each panel was then drawn on a computer as vector lines, which were then converted to DXF files for driving the laser cutting equipment.

The panels were fabricated by Donato Steel Fabrications from 4mm thick 304 grade stainless steel sheet supplied by ASSDA major sponsor, Sandvik Australia Pty Ltd. The artists’ designs were laser cut by Molnar Laser Cutting Services and then plate linished both sides to a number four satin finish. The sheets were then welded on the inside into the frames constructed of 38mm square stainless steel tube supplied by ASSDA major sponsor, Atlas Specialty Metals.

The intention with these panels was to create a frame within a frame, the second frame being the walls and pillars of the hotel into which they were bolted. Therefore, the construction of the panels became part of the artwork.

The artists are very pleased with the result of the installation of ‘Strata’. Pentroth Pty Ltd and the Adelaide City Council are pleased that it adds to the ambience of Bent Street and creates a lively streetscape for pedestrians. Opposite the Hotel (and currently under construction) are Bent Street Apartments which will have retail facilities at ground floor level – ‘Strata’ provides a pleasant environment on the street which is also overlooked by the apartments above.

The stainless steel fabrication meets all the requirements of a car park security grille while providing a lively streetscape in the city. The artists believe this is a good example of creating something meaningful out of a necessity. That is, a car park grille that had to be created but it did not need to be ugly and aggressive for pedestrians at street level or for those living in the adjacent apartments.

Images courtesy of Sue Rodwell and Trevor Rodwell.

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 30, January 2005.


Posted 1 July 2005

The most common grades of stainless steel are 304 and 316, which are particularly popular because their austenitic microstructure results in an excellent combination of corrosion resistance, mechanical and physical properties and ease of fabrication.

The austenitic structure is the result of the addition of approximately 8-10% nickel. Nickel is not alone in being an austenite former; other elements that are used in this way are manganese, nitrogen, carbon and copper.

The Cost of Nickel and Its Addition to Stainless Steel

The cost of the common stainless steels is substantially determined by the cost of ingredients. The cost of the chromium that is the essential "stainless ingredient" is not high, but additions of elements that improve the corrosion resistance (especially molybdenum) or that modify the fabrication properties (especially nickel) add very much to the cost.

Costs for nickel have fluctuated from US$5,000 or US$6,000 in 2001 to US$15,000 per tonne in 2004.

Similarly, molybdenum has dramatically increased from approximately US$8,000 per tonne in 2001 to around US$50,000 per tonne in 2004.

These costs impact directly on the two most common grades: 304 (18%Cr, 8%Ni) and 316 (17%Cr, 10%Ni, 2%Mo). The impact is most keenly felt in grade 316, which has suffered an increase to its cost premium above 304.

Other grades such as the duplex 2205 (22%Cr, 5%Ni, 3%Mo) and all more highly alloyed stainless steels are also affected.

Relative costs of the ingredients are shown in Figure 1, but these do vary widely and sometimes rapidly over time. These costs were correct in late 2004.

Relative Costs for Alloy Ingredients (Late 2004) Alloying Additions - Manganese Replacing Nickel

The point of the alloying elements is that they achieve certain changes to the corrosion resistance or to the microstructure (which in turn influences the mechanical and fabrication properties).

Chromium is used to achieve corrosion resistance, and molybdenum adds to this.

A common evaluation of corrosion resistance of stainless steel grades is the Pitting Resistance Equivalent (PRE), where this is usually evaluated as PRE = %Cr + 3.3 x %Mo + 16 x %N. A neat equation, but unfortunately only a guide.

The PRE gives a guide to ranking of grades, but is not a predictor of resistance to any particular corrosive environment. What is apparent is that pitting corrosion resistance can be increased by molybdenum, but also by chromium or by nitrogen additions. These are much cheaper than molybdenum. Despite its high PRE factor, nitrogen has limited effect on corrosion resistance because of low solubility, ie. <0.2%.

The microstructure of the steel is largely determined by the balance between austenite former elements and ferrite former elements.

On the austenite former side carbon, manganese, nitrogen and copper are all possible alternatives to nickel. All these elements are lower cost than nickel.

As is the case for the PRE, the Ni-equivalence formulas are a guide but do not tell the full story; each element acts in slightly different ways, and it is not possible to fully remove nickel and replace it with, for example, copper or nitrogen.

Manganese acts as an austenite former but is not as effective as nickel, and Cr-Mn steels have higher work hardening rates than do apparently equivalent Cr-Ni steels.

Carbon is a very powerful austenite former, but has only limited solubility in austenite, so is of limited value in a steel intended to be fully austenitic.

Although not recognised by the PRE formula, nickel has positive effects on resistance to some corrosive environments that manganese does not duplicate.

There can also be synergy between the elements. Addition of nitrogen has the double effect of forming austenite and of increasing the pitting corrosion resistance. And manganese is a strong austenite former in its own right, but also has the effect of increasing the solubility of nitrogen.

An application of low nickel austenitic stainless steelsThe Rise of the "200 Series" Steels

Manganese is therefore a viable alternative to nickel, ranging from a minor addition to an almost complete replacement.

The development of high manganese austenitic grades first occurred about fifty years ago, during one of the (several) previous periods of high nickel cost.

At that time some Cr-Mn-Ni grades were sufficiently developed to be allocated AISI grade numbers Ü 201 (17%Cr, 4%Ni, 6%Mn) and 202 (18%Cr, 4%Ni, 8%Mn) are high Mn alternatives to the straight chromium-nickel grades 301 and 302, and are still included in ASTM specifications as standard grades.

Their consumption over the following decades has been low relative to their Cr-Ni equivalents. The reasons for the poor take-up of these lower cost grades have been:

  • Very high work hardening rate (this can be an advantage in some applications).
  • Slightly inferior surface appearance Ü considered unacceptable for certain applications.
  • Additional production costs Ü higher refractory wear in melting in particular.
  • Corrosion resistance is lower in some environments, compared to Cr-Ni grades.

An additional issue is that Cr-Ni and Cr-Mn-Ni austenitic scrap is all non-magnetic, irrespective of nickel content, but scrap merchants evaluate scrap on the basis of assumed nickel content.

This has the potential to destabilise scrap markets. The upshot is that the cost reduction (due to lower ingredient cost) has been generally insufficient to move applications from the traditional Cr-Ni grades.

Take-up has often been because of technical advantages of 200-series in niche applications, not cost-driven.

Some New Contenders

The last decade has seen the rise of some new contenders in the Cr-Mn-Ni austenitic group. The main development work has been in India and the principal application has been kitchen ware Ü cooking utensils in particular.

The very high work hardening rate of the low nickel / high manganese grades has been acceptable to a point in this application, but additions of copper have also been made to reduce this problem.

India has been a fertile development and production venue for these grades because of local economic factors.

Other Asian countries have also become strong markets and more recently also producers. The Chinese market is particularly strong, and there is substantial demand in China for the Cr-Mn-Ni grades, often referred to generically as ?200-seriesî stainless steels.

Other centres of production are Taiwan, Brazil and Japan. Alloy development has resulted in a range of austenitic grades with nickel contents ranging from 1% to 4% and up to over 9% manganese. None of these grades are included in ASTM or other internationally recognised standards as yet.

The growth rate in production of these low-nickel austenitic grades has been very rapid. The most recent data published by the International Stainless Steel Forum (ISSF) shows that in 2003 as much as 1.5 million tonnes (7.5% of the worlds stainless steel) was of this type. In China the proportion has been estimated to be 25% in 2004.

Problems still exist however, and large-scale conversion of Cr-Ni applications to Cr-Mn-Ni-(Cu) grades is not likely.

The principal issue is lack of control ‹ unscrupulous suppliers misrepresenting low-nickel product as grade 304 with some resultant service corrosion failures, and degradation of scrap due to contamination by low-nickel material.

As at the start of 2005 the future is unclear. Although it seems logical that there should be a place for the low nickel austenitic grades, the practical issues may mean that grade selectors will instead choose to either continue to use the higher cost Cr-Ni grades, or to seek lower cost alternatives amongst the ferritic or duplex grades.

Credits

ASSDA would like to thank Mr Peter Moore, Technical Services Manager of Atlas Specialty Metals, for the contribution of this article.

This technical article was featured in Australian Stainless magazine # 32 - Winter 2005 and is an extract from the Grade Selection section of the Australian Stainless 2005 Reference Manual.

To order a copy of this essential technical resource for the stainless steel industry, download an order form from the ASSDA website - www.assda.asn.au or phone the ASSDA office on 07 3220 0722.


Posted 1 July 2005

A Queensland stainless steel fabrication company has successfully turned a product usually found in industrial environments into an architectural design feature that is gaining popularity on Australia’s east coast.

AMP Building entry matsStainless steel screens and grates have traditionally been used for filtering and cleaning in the mining, petrochemical, food processing and water treatment industries — applications where water transfer is required.

ASSDA member, Paige Stainless Fabrications has taken the grating concept further, beyond a simple drainage system, by using the product in architectural applications such as stair treads,  walkways and entry mats.

Paige Stainless Fabrications designs and manufactures ‘heel proof’ stainless steel products using close bar longitudinal / transverse grating.

One example of the product in action can be found at the Andrew ‘Boy’ Charlton Pool, Sydney, a popular swimming icon suspended over spectacular Woolloomooloo Bay.

Architects, Lippmann Associates, won a RAIA Architecture award in 2003 for public building design. As part of the project design, Lippmann Associates specified stainless steel stair treads and entry mats.

ASSDA Major Sponsor, Atlas Specialty Metals, supplied grade 316 L stainless steel to the project because of it’s high corrosion resistance. The stainless steel product delivered the desired functional, environmental and aesthetic values that find appeal to architectural environments rather than traditional forms of drainage.

In further applications, the grade 304 stainless steel grating product has been used extensively for entry mats to the following buildings:

  • Ambros Building (corner Bent and Phillip Streets, Sydney).
  • AMP Building - Sydney
  • Customs House, Sydney
  • IBM Building, Sydney
  • National Australia Bank Administration, Melbourne Docklands

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 32, Winter 2005.


Posted 1 July 2005

Where flammable or combustible materials are stored or handled, there can be a severe risk of an explosion or fire if handling equipment such as forklift trucks are not flameproofed.

A Combilift with stainless steel exhaust conditioner from Chess FlameproofFlameproofing of material handling equipment is the science of reducing the risk of an explosion or fire by means of specialised principles and technologies.

Three components are needed in order to generate an explosion or fire.

  1. A flammable or combustible material eg. liquid, gas or dust.
  2. Oxygen eg. air.
  3. Ignition source eg. electrical sparks,  mechanical sparks, hot surface and static discharges.

Sources of ignition include flames and sparks from exhaust systems, arc and sparks from electrical equipment, hot surfaces and static build up.

Chess Flameproof, a division of ASSDA member Chess Engineering Pty Ltd, specialises in the conversion of materials handling equipment for use in hazardous areas.

Materials handling equipment such as forklift trucks, tow tractors, sweepers, scissor lifts and boom lifts ranging from 1 ton to 32 tonnes have all been designed and manufactured to remove or reduce the risk of the equipment becoming the source of ignition. Both diesel and battery electric powered forklifts can be flameproofed. Note spark ignition engines ie. LPG and petrol are not permitted in any hazardous areas.

Left to right: A stainless steel flame arrestor, a corrugated stainless steel exhaust flex, a stainless steel final flame trap element and a stainless steel flame arrestor. In addition to flameproofing, Chess Engineering manufactures custom forklift attachments, engine protection systems, speed sensors/controllers and cabins as well as custom modifications and general forklift engineering.

To overcome the possible sources of ignition, a number of protection techniques are used:

Stainless steel water cooled exhaust manifold

Extreme temperatures of the gases leaving the cylinder head of the engine can easily cause the exhaust manifold to climb in temperature to a level where it may possibly ignite surrounding hazardous area atmosphere. To overcome this problem a stainless steel water cooled exhaust manifold is fitted.

Stainless steel exhaust conditioner

An exhaust conditioner is a water tank that channels the hot exhaust gases and particles through a labyrinth thus cooling and filtering.

Depending upon the area classification, a final flame trap element may be fitted as a secondary measure. Inside the exhaust conditioner is a very corrosive environment because of the exhaust gases, water and elevated temperatures.

Toyota forklift built to Zone 1 hazardous areas For standard conditions, grade 316 stainless steel has proved to be more than adequate for this application and withstands the harsh environment providing welding and post welding procedures are correctly followed. Alternatively for extremely corrosive conditions, a duplex stainless steel has been used.

This article featured in Australian Stainless Issue 32, Winter 2005.

Images:

Main image - Stainless steel flame arrestor or flame trap used on the engine inlet to cool and quench flames that may arise from combustion malfunction.

Top right - A Combilift with stainless steel exhaust conditioner.

Above - A stainless steel final flame trap element (centre) and (left) a corrugated stainless steel exhaust flex with braided sleeve used to absorb engine movement and vibration.

Right - Toyota forklift built to Zone 1 hazardous area.