Importance of Nickel for Stainless Steel Industry
What separates stainless steel from conventional steel is the fact that stainless steel products are corrosion resistant. Even though there are certainly other differences as well, none are as important for the stainless steel industry as this particular difference. The use of stainless steel products is commonplace now, but do you know what really makes stainless steel resistant to corrosion?
The answer is the metal known as nickel. Ask any stainless steel manufacturer and they would tell you that without the supply of nickel, the stainless steel industry would fall flat on its face, as the most popular variants of stainless steel consist of nickel. Apart from giving stainless steel its corrosion-resistant features, nickel has several other contributions as well. Read on to know the role of nickel in stainless steel industries around the world.
Stainless Steels that Contain Nickel are More Sustainable
With environmental degradation happening worldwide, more and more industries are embracing practices that are sustainable and the stainless steel industry is one of them. As materials that contain nickel are considered to be fully recyclable, stainless steel products that reach the end of their lifecycle can be recycled to create new stainless steel products.
This reduces the demand for naturally occurring metals drastically and ensures that the stainless steel industry can sustain itself for the foreseeable future.
Nickel-Containing Stainless Steels are Easy to Produce
The stainless steel manufacturing process is much easier for stainless steels containing nickel. Due to the popularity of stainless steel variants that contain nickel, machines to facilitate their production are more easily available than ever before.
As steel industries mostly rely on the production of nickel-containing variants of stainless steel to make themselves profitable and sustainable, the availability of nickel is extremely important.
Resistance at Higher Temperatures
Stainless steel without nickel will permanently deform at temperatures higher than 300°C. However, if you add nickel into the mix, you can drastically increase resistance levels in high temperatures. During applications such as thermal cycling, stainless steel without nickel would spall, or break into little pieces. However, with nickel, there won’t be any spalling risks involved.
Useful at Cryogenic Temperatures
Nickel-containing stainless steel grades are not just resistant to extremely high temperatures; they also exhibit exceptional toughness in sub-zero, cryogenic temperatures. Liquid helium temperatures of around -270°C have no effect on the toughness of stainless steel grades containing nickel like Type 304. So, the role of nickel in stainless steel helps not just in thermal applications, but also in cryogenic applications.
Nickel-Containing Stainless Steels Can be Given Form Easily
Nickel helps in adding formability to stainless steel, which makes nickel-containing grades of stainless steel so widely used for the creation of so many things. From standard kitchen utensils to door handles to gates and grills, stainless steel grades containing nickel’s formability is extremely high, which makes it easier for manufacturers to create different shapes using them.
The fact that nickel adds so many advantages to conventional stainless steel makes it a metal that will always contribute immensely to the growth and development of stainless steel industries around the world.
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