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The use of stainless steel fasteners is quite popular because of their excellent corrosion-resistant and recyclable properties. They offer resistance against any level of usage severity and have great load-bearing characteristics in both hot and cold weather. However, if these fasteners are not handled properly; it may bring damage to the entire setup. Here are few mistakes you certainly cannot afford to make when using stainless steel fasteners.

Choosing the wrong grade
stainless steel fastener usage mistakes to avoid
The most important thing to note when using stainless steel fasteners is to check the grading of the steel.  304 and 316 are the two most commonly employed stainless steel grades that offer resistance to corrosion better than any other grade available in the market.  For an environment that is highly susceptible to corrosion, 316 stainless steel is a perfect fit, given the resistance it provides against the effect of metal oxidization.

Contamination of the exposed surface

The bare part of the stainless steel exposed to the atmosphere is susceptible to contamination by metallic dust, which can ultimately lead to formation of rust on the surface causing gradual decay of the material, internally. The most common example is the sticking of iron fillings that result from grinding of steel.  It’s recommended to cover the part with stainless steel fasteners during the period of operation.

Making conditions favorable for galvanic corrosion

Galvanic corrosion occurs when two different metals and alloys come in electrical contact with each other to apply corrosive effect. Not only can it affect the stainless steel fasteners, but also the metal that comes in physical contact with the particular fastener. You need to minutely investigate if there is a possible situation of a galvanic corrosion taking place and to what extent it can be inhibited. Using tools made of stainless steel is a smart choice, since similar electropotentials do not trigger corrosion. You can also use nylon washers as a barrier to isolate the metals from touching each other.

Opting for the low-nickel stainless steel

It’s a proven fact that stainless steel fasteners of the 200 series are chromium deficient, apart from higher percentage of manganese and lower proportion of nickel. Such a combination is ideally not suitable to resist the action of rusting, as compared to the corrosion-resistant properties offered by 316 stainless steel studs.

Improper cleaning schedules

The longevity of stainless steel fasteners depend on the cleaning schedules employed for the equipment. If you allow the contaminants to settle over a long period of time, it does not only become difficult to carry out cleaning practices, but also to restore the distorted appearance of stainless steel. It’s advisable to expose the surface to rainwater, so that all the dust particles wash off and there is no damage done to the protective layer of the steel.

Rough finishing

Uneven finishing of stainless steel fasteners can leave space for entrapment of dusty particles that can destroy the protective layer of chromium oxide, which provides the necessary resisting action against corrosion.   A smoother finish eliminates the chance of particle settling and allows for easier cleaning practices.

About the Author

Larry Melone
By Larry Melone

Started my career in the fastener world in 1969 at, Parker Kalon Corp. a NJ based screw manufacturer located in Clifton, NJ working in inventory control, scheduling secondary production and concluding there in purchasing. In 1971 I accepted a sales position at Star Stainless Screw Co., Totowa, NJ working in inside sales and later as an outside salesman, having a successful career at Star I had the desire with a friend to start our own fastener distribution company in 1980 named: Divspec, Kenilworth, NJ. This was a successful adventure but ended in 1985 with me starting Melfast in August 1985 and have stayed competitive and successful to date. Melfast serves the OEM market with approximately 400 accounts nationally.

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