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Stainless Steel and Corrosion

What is corrosion?

Metals, with the exception of the precious metals such as gold and platinum, that are found in their natural state are always extracted from ores; metals have therefore a tendency to revert to their stable state, which corresponds to their original state, that is to say their oxide form.

Metal corrosion is essentially an electro-chemical reaction at the interface between metal and surrounding environment.

Stainless Steel and the passive layer
Steel is an alloy of iron and carbon. Contrary to carbon steel, the presence of a minimum of 10.5 % chromium in the stainless steel gives it the property of corrosion resistance.


However if this protective layer is damaged, the start of corrosion can appear.


What are the major factors of corrosion?

What are the 5 principal types of corrosion linked with the surrounding environment ?

Generalised corrosion is noticed when stainless steel is in contact with an acid medium and localised corrosion is seen in the majority of cases when stainless steel is placed in a neutral chloride environment.



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What is UGINOX® Patina K44?

UGINOX Patina K44 is a bistabilized ferritic stainless steel with an electro-tinned coating on both sides. This ferritic stainless steel is K44 and belongs to the KARA range: it contains 18% chromium and molybdenum and is stabilised with titanium and niobium. UGINOX Patina K44 weathers over time, acquiring a matt finish through natural patination giving a traditional rustic final appearance. UGINOX Patina K44 has the benefit of a high corrosion resistance, suitable for use in aggressive atmospheres.

Think Stabilised Stainless Steel !

  • Chromium is a key chemical compound, which basically gives stainless steel its corrosion resistance property. Indeed a chromiumoxide is created on the material surface in contact with air and water. This layer repairs itself and therefore protects the surface.
  • Molybdenum reinforces its corrosion resistance.

Key strengths

  • Workable at low temperatures, including in mountainous regions.
  • Ease of soldering.
  • Low thermal expansion coefficient: enables the use of long sheet lengths in single sections.
  • High corrosion resistance, suitable for use in aggressiveatmospheres.
  • Nickel-free grade offering price stability over time.
  • 100% recyclable.


  • Standing seam roofing.
  • Self supporting roofing.
  • Cleated seam roofing.
  • Suitable for cold
  • Cold roof or warm roofs.
  • Gutters.
  • Roofing accessories.


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UGINOX Patina K44: Atmospheric exposure

UGINOX Patina K44 is naturally resistant to corrosion and suitable for any environment.*

UGINOX Patina K44 will adapt to any location for roofs including coastal / marine areas and installed according to current good practices (e.g. NF DTU 40.44 French Code). When exposed to the atmosphere the Tin coating will develop a natural patina. In roofing applications the change is noticeable after a few weeks and especially following rainfall the process will be substantially complete after a few months.

Vertical cladding:
In vertical cladding or sheltered soffits the surface receives less moisture and the patina will take longer to develop. In such areas, where cleaning operations may also be required we recommend an alternative Aperam facade surface such as UGINOX Top.

Behaviour to localised corrosion
Along with the tinned coating, the corrosion resistance of the underlying base material is of primary importance.

Our dimensional range

  • Thickness: 0.5 mm
  • Maximum width: 1160 mm
  • Available in coil, slit coil and sheet


  • Use UGINOX Patina K44 for standing seam, self supporting and cleated seam roofing, as well as for accessories.
  • Avoid the use of UGINOX Patina K44 in vertical and sheltered areas.
  • Use dedicated tools to avoid any risk of cross contamination.
  • Do not work with other metals adjacent to UGINOX Patina K44, which could cause contamination as a result of projections.
  • Avoid the use of metallic pads or wire wool including powder based abrasives.
  • Before soldering use an orthophosphoric based acid for pickling. Use of chlorine based pickling agents is prohibited. We recommend immediate rinsing with water after soldering.

*While every care has been taken to ensure that the information contained in this article is accurate as possible it should not be used as a guide without further consultation with the manufacturer.

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Fully Supported Roofs: Standing Seam Roofs

Standing Seam Roofs

This traditional technique is distinguished by its linear rhythm; the standing seam gives it a particularly clear finish.

Assembled on site from stainless steel strips, these roofs are suited to both contemporary and traditional architecture.

The stainless steel strips are joined along their length by crimping of the previously raised edges. The bending or closing of the profile is performed in the traditional manner or using specialist tools.

The limited number of transverse seams and welds ensures maximum weathertightness. Standing seams can be used on warm or cold roofing systems.


  • Ideal for large flat surfaces that require the use of long strips.
  • Cost reduction by the use of longer pieces and low weight per m2.
  • Not fragile and no risk of fracturing at low temperatures.
  • Immaculate aesthetics.
  • Ideal technique for curved surfaces and complex shapes (domes, cones, etc.).

Capacities relating to entirely roofing coverage types

The use of stainless steel enables the use of 14 to 30 metres lengths of strip – dependent upon national regulations – in thicknesses between 0.4 mm and 0.5 mm.
The widths installed depend on the project location (sheltered, normal or exposed) and on each country’s wind zones.

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Why stainless steel is the ideal choice for roofing and cladding

Affording freedom of form and appearance, stainless steel roofing blends into all environments and is suited to all styles of architecture, both new and renovation projects. Long lasting, easy to maintain and recyclable, it is also the sustainable material of choice.

The advantages of stainless steel for roofing and cladding…

  • Lighter envelope, thanks to high mechanical properties that permit a reduction of thickness.
  • Compatible with all types of support: metal, all types of wood, etc.
  • Possible association with construction systems giving thermal properties and/or acoustics.
  • Response to national and European thermal regulatory requirements.
  • More cost-effective than traditional products and techniques.
  • All types of claddings are possible, both new and refurbished.
  • In refurbishment, the stainless steel envelope transforms and modernises the building while respecting thermal regulations and omitting thermal bridges.
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Stainless steel, a combination of performance and aesthetics for your projects


Our wide range of grades and surface finishes will let you choose stainless steel that will provide your building with continuity and sustainability thanks to corrosion resistance that is adapted to any given atmospheric environment. Furthermore, our various stainless steels have excellent physical properties even at very low temperatures. On one hand, this allows you to use thinner pieces, providing for a lower weight per m2, and on the other hand, you can use very long pieces in single sections.

Our products are transformed and easily installed using traditional tools and machinery.

Economic performance

Designing and building with stainless steel contributes to an excellent overall cost, that is a positive relationship between the final cost and the lifetime of the work. This comes as a result of the exceptional durability of stainless steel buildings, and the almost non-existent, easy maintenance.

The price stability, especially with our ferritic grades, as well as the cost of transformation and installation is comparable to other traditionally used metals, giving stainless steel its competitiveness.


Stainless steel offers creative freedom and architectural design which is rarely matched. Our impressive range of thicknesses and wide range of surface finishes – from the more dull to the colourful to the most brilliant.

Stainless steel allows for the creation of complex shapes and pairs well with other materials such as glass, wood, stone, etc.

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The advantages of stainless steel in Roofing

Environment and recyclability

  • Stainless steel is a « green material » par excellence and is infinitely recyclable and recycled. Within the construction sector, its actual recovery rate is close to 100%.
  • It is unchangeable and totally inert with regard to the environment : in contact with elements such as water, it does not release compounds which could modify the composition.
  • Stainless steel’s longevity fulfils the requirements of sustainable construction.

Economic performance

  • Cost levels of stainless steel transformation are comparable with other metals traditionally used.
  • The cost of stainless steel roofing enables an excellent quality versus price ratio to be achieved in construction.
  • Choosing stainless steel offers a long-term guarantee.


  • Stainless steel is corrosion resistant, thanks to its passive layer, which allows its use in various atmospheric environments, even the most severe.
  • Stainless steel has a high strength resistance and an excellent resistance to thermal shock.
  • Stainless steel is ranked A2s1d0 for fire resistance with no toxic fume emissivity.
  • No embrittlement of stainless steel in very cold weather.


  • On site machinery used for implementation of stainless steel is the same as for other materials.
  • Stainless steel solders easily.
  • Stainless steel can be worked in winter temperatures, which allows a longer laying period.


  • Stainless steel is suited to all styles of roofing (batten rolls, standing seams, self-supporting trays), both new build and renovation projects.
  • It allows architectural creation, design and the realisation of complex shapes.
  • It combines easily with other materials (glass, wood, concrete…).
  • A low thermal expansion coefficient allows the manufacture of continuous lengths of up to 20m in a single run.



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UGINOX Top Manufacturing Process

UGINOX Top is manufactured according to the typical stainless steel manufacturing process up to the rolling operation where the patterning process takes place.

  • This engraving operation is conducted with specially prepared cylinders on a matt annealed base (2D).
  • This engraving technique used enables both a uniform and reproductible finish for the different grades and dimensions.
  • This production method is certified to the standards ISO 9001 and ISO 14001.

The engraving is conducted during the rolling operation.

The pickling and annealing stage restores the ductility of the metal and optimises the matt finish.

A guide to the choice of grade relative to atmospheric exposure

The choice of stainless steel grade for a roofing application must take into account the environment in which the material will be used.

Our dimensional range

The UGINOX Top finish is available in coils, slit coils and sheets.
Their mechanical properties comply with norms EN 10088-2, EN 10088-4 and ASTM A 240.

Key strengths

  • This surface finish is characterised from its installation by a permanent and durable matt finish.
  • Good corrosion resistance.
  • It blends into all types of environment, both rural and urban, traditional or modern, and is suited toall styles of architecture.


  • Roofing: fully supported roofs, self-supporting roofs, batten roll roofs.
  • Facade: cassette, panels, shingles
  • Cladding : profiles.
  • Accessories: gutters, downpipes.

Construction products manufactured comply with the CE standard.




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Famous Buildings Constructed Using Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is an ideal construction material in many ways, strong and resistant to corrosion. It has been used as a building material since the 1920s, which attests to its longevity and its enduring popularity. Some of the world’s most recognisable buildings (and other landmarks such as bridges, statues and monuments) have used stainless steel in their construction.

The first stainless steel building in the world was the Chrysler Building, completed in 1930 and at that time, the tallest building in the world. It still holds the title for the world’s tallest brick building with a steel framework. It is, in fact, the stainless steel framework that forms the load-bearing parts of the Chrysler Building, not the external brickwork. The decorative external steel features are formed from an alloy called Nirosta, a version of stainless steel that has a reputation for remaining permanently shiny, and this is well-deserved, as the structure has only been industrially cleaned twice. As the use of stainless steel in skyscrapers was pioneering at the time, it was subject to tests every five years, until they were deemed unnecessary in 1960, due to lack of deterioration.

This image is licensed under the Creative Commons

A more modern skyscraper construction that incorporates stainless steel are the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. However, in contrast to the Art Deco style of the Chrysler building, the steel here is used to form the exterior facade, rather than the load-bearing framework, which is instead made from high strength reinforced concrete. These towers have also held the title of World’s Tallest Building, from 1998 to 2004. In 1999, the world record for BASE jumping was set from the Towers by Felix Baumgartner, who would later gain recognition for his skydive “from the edge of space”.

This image is licensed under the Creative Commons

Stainless steel is not only suitable for use in skyscrapers, but also for a wide range of other construction purposes. The Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, California, is only a fraction of the height of the previously mentioned towers, but still uses stainless steel to produce its highly recognisable sail-like exterior shape. Resistant to corrosion and other pollution damage, the stainless steel is highly suited to the busy, urban location of this building, and has the advantage of requiring little maintenance. In contrast to the shiny alloy on the Chrysler Building’s exterior, Frank Gehry’s design for the Walt Disney Concert Hall has a matte finish, although still retains its reflective quality.

This image is licensed under the Creative Commons

Drawing comparisons to the Walt Disney Hall, the unpredictable shapes of the Cleveland Clinic’s Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health building in Las Vegas are another Frank Gehry design. Stainless steel sheets form the exterior structure again here, although this required each connection between them to be individually designed, manufactured, and tracked with barcodes to ensure the placement of each unique piece was correct. Any errors in connecting the pieces would have required the entire building to be taken down and started again.

This image is licensed under the Creative Commons

The Art Gallery of Alberta, in Canada, was originally designed in 1968, using a style known as Brutalist. However, as the collection in this public art gallery grew to contain thousands of works, a larger building was required, and it would undergo a complete redesign and rebuild in 2007. Parts of the original design were used, in combination with an unusual shape formed from both glass and stainless steel. The steel has both functional and decorative purposes.

This image is licensed under the Creative Commons

There are many different grades of stainless steel, each suitable for a variety of purposes in construction. However, one thing that they all have in common is that they are all completely recyclable, so should any stainless steel building undergo demolition and rebuilding, the steel itself is not wasted, and could even be reused on the same site.

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8 Famous Stainless Steel Monuments and Sculptures

We’ve picked 8 Famous Stainless Steel Monuments and Sculptures from around the world…

The Unisphere is a spherical stainless steel representation of the Earth, located in Flushing Meadows–Corona Park in the borough of Queens, New York City. The sphere, which measures 140 feet (43 m) high and 120 feet (37 m) in diameter, was commissioned as part of the 1964 New York World’s Fair. The Unisphere is one of the borough’s most iconic and enduring symbols.

“Queens World Fair Unisphere” by Ian Irving is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Gateway Arch
The Gateway Arch is a 630-foot (192 m) monument in St. Louis, Missouri, United States. Clad in stainless steel and built in the form of a weighted catenary arch, it is the world’s tallest arch, the tallest man-made monument in the Western Hemisphere, and Missouri’s tallest accessible building. Built as a monument to the westward expansion of the United States, and officially dedicated to “the American people,” it is the centerpiece of the Gateway Arch National Park and has become an internationally recognized symbol of St. Louis, as well as a popular tourist destination.

“Gateway Arch, St. Louis, MO” by Nicolas Henderson is licensed under CC BY 2.0

United States Air Force Memorial
Located in Arlington, VA, the United States Air Force Memorial honors the service and heritage of the men and women of the United States Air Force. The three stainless steel spires reach a height of 402 feet above sea-level. It is adjacent to the Arlington National Cemetery and overlooks the Pentagon.

“The United States Air Force (USAF) Memorial Arlington (VA) May 2015” by Ron Cogswell is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Atomium
The Atomium is a landmark building in Brussels, originally constructed for the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair (Expo 58). It is located on the Heysel Plateau, where the exhibition took place. It is now a museum. Designed by the engineer André Waterkeyn and architects André and Jean Polak, it stands 102 m (335 ft) tall. Its nine 18 m (60 ft) diameter stainless steel clad spheres are connected, so that the whole forms the shape of a unit cell of an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times. Tubes of 3 m (10 ft) diameter connect the spheres along the 12 edges of the cube and all eight vertices to the center. They enclose stairs, escalators and a lift (in the central, vertical tube) to allow access to the five habitable spheres, which contain exhibit halls and other public spaces. The top sphere includes a restaurant which has a panoramic view of Brussels.

“The Atomium” by O Palsson is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Cloud Gate
Cloud Gate is a public sculpture by Indian-born British artist Sir Anish Kapoor, that is the centerpiece of AT&T Plaza at Millennium Park in the Loop community area of Chicago, Illinois. The sculpture and AT&T Plaza are located on top of Park Grill, between the Chase Promenade and McCormick Tribune Plaza & Ice Rink. Constructed between 2004 and 2006, the sculpture is nicknamed The Bean because of its shape. Made up of 168 stainless steel plates welded together, its highly polished exterior has no visible seams. It measures 33 by 66 by 42 feet (10 by 20 by 13 m), and weighs 110 short tons (100 t; 98 long tons).

“Cloud Gate, AT&T Plaza, Millenium Park, Chicago” by Naotake Murayama is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Sibelius Monument (Helsinki)
The Sibelius Monument (Finnish: Sibelius-monumentti; Swedish: Sibeliusmonumentet) by Eila Hiltunen is dedicated to the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius (1865–1957). The monument is located at the Sibelius Park (Finnish: Sibeliuspuisto; Swedish: Sibeliusparken) in the district of Töölö in Helsinki, the capital city of Finland.

“Sibelius Monument, Helsinki” by jelm6 is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Kelpies
The Kelpies are 30-metre-high horse-head sculptures featuring kelpies, standing next to a new extension to the Forth and Clyde Canal, and near River Carron, in The Helix, a new parkland project built to connect 16 communities in the Falkirk Council Area, Scotland. The sculptures were designed by sculptor Andy Scott and were completed in October 2013. The sculptures form a gateway at the eastern entrance to the Forth and Clyde canal, and the new canal extension built as part of The Helix land transformation project. The Kelpies are a monument to horse powered heritage across Scotland.

“The Kelpies” by amateur photography by michel is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Steel Man
The Steel Man will be a 32 metre high sculpture and Interpretation Hub located in Rotherham (J34,M1), forming a landmark gateway to Yorkshire and the Sheffield City Region. The project began with a simple idea to create a landmark artwork and visitor centre that would act as a beacon for the Yorkshire region and a catalyst for change: The 32 metre high stainless steel sculpture and Hub will be built in Rotherham, a town steeped in the history of steel production for generations. The Steel Man will honour the people and places that forged this heritage of Steel and it will highlight the new technologies and specialised manufacturing that is helping to generate the northern powerhouse. Schools, Universities and other educational facilities have embraced the project which will stand as a totemic symbol of British manufacturing and innovation.

“The Steel Man” by Sheffieldicon is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0