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Fire Resistance of Stainless Steel
Stainless steel (SS) is one of the most widely used metals in the world, and by now we all know the reasons why. From its exceptional durability down to its resistance to corrosion and timeless style, stainless steel is THE choice for industrial applications. One aspect which isn’t touched upon often is the fact that stainless steel is also heat and fire resistant. In this blog post, Mascot Steel will be taking a look at the fire resistance of stainless steel.
Why Fire Resistance is Important
Fires burn at a much more rapid rate than they used to, mainly due to larger amounts of synthetic materials contained within modern residential and industrial premises. One small flame can quickly build into an inferno, placing properties and lives at risk. For these reasons, engineers and architects pay close attention to the design and choice of materials which will go into a construction project. A good design is one which utilises fire-safe materials wherever possible; those being materials which can prevent, contain, resist and deter fire.
Fire resistant qualities of stainless steel
- Not Ignitable
- Does NOT Aid Flame Spread
- High Oxidation Resistance, even at high temperatures
SS is exceptionally resistant to fire. It does not burn, and it will only start to melt when the temperature reaches about 1400°C. SS lacks an official fire rating, but tests can be done to determine its resistance against alternate metals. SS has proven time and time again to be the superior choice for fire safety and prevention, which is why it is such a widely used metal.
Grade 316 Stainless Steel – A Safe Choice
Whilst all SS alloy is resistant to oxidation, this is only up to a point. The higher the chromium content, the better the resistance to oxidation in high temperature situations. Despite having a slightly lower chromium content, 316 grade SS is often specified over 304 grade SS because it offers superior corrosion resistance due to the addition of molybdenum. This makes it particularly attractive for use in marine environments and other harsh/corrosive environments.
316 SS has only a slightly lower temperature tolerance than 304 SS. 304 SS will start to melt between 1399°C – 1454°C, whilst 316 SS will start to melt between 1371°C–1399°C. In the event of a fire, you can expect both grades to maintain their structural integrity.
The areas in which you will find 316 SS include:
- Medical Equipment
- Marine Equipment and Body Panels
- Food Preparation Areas
- Architecture in Coastal Regions
- Chemist Laboratories
- Petrochemical Equipment
Stainless Steel – An Exceptional Choice for Buildings and Structures Requiring Fire Resistance
With its inherent oxidation resistance and the capability of withstanding high temperatures, there is simply no better choice than stainless steel for the construction of buildings and structures. Whilst SS may lack an official ‘fire rating’, tests have proven time and time again that it has the power to not only withstand fire, but also assist in containing its spread.
If you’re working on a project which places emphasis on fire safety and prevention, consider Mascot Steel for all your SS fabrication needs. We’re located at Mascot and Penrith, and we serve the entire Sydney region with quality SS and steel fabrication services. Call us today on (02) 9313 1313 to place an order with our friendly team.
To learn more about SS and fire resistance, see the following article on the Australian Stainless Steel Development Assoc. website.