Compatibility with other construction materials
When two dissimilar metals come into contact in the presence of moisture, an electric current flows from the metal with the lower potential to the higher (more noble) metal resulting in corrosion of the less noble metal.
The greater the difference in potential, the greater the rate of corrosion so zinc and aluminium will corrode rapidly in contact, for example, with copper. The difference in potential between copper and lead is small, so it is safe to use copper nails when fixing lead. All metals possess an inherent electro potential, briefly as shown below. Stainless steel is at the high end of the nobility scale and so can come into general contact with other metals.
Normal potential of building metals and some noble metals compared to a hydrogen electrode.
Other building materials
Because stainless steel is highly resistant to both acids and alkalis at the concentrations found in construction materials it is unaffected by:
Sap in a wide range of timber, including cedar and green oak
Timber preservatives, including CCA (Tanalith)
Cement, mortar and concrete
Run-off from bitumen, asphalt, mosses and lichens
It is also unaffected by the decomposition bi-products of decaying organic materials i.e. leaf matter, vegetation, carrion.
Stainless steel should not come into contact with brick cleaning fluid (hydrochloric acid) or with chlorine in concentrated form. If it does so, rinse thoroughly with water.
Care must be taken to avoid débris from the angle grinding of carbon steel or similar cutting operations where swarf or iron deposits may be deposited onto the stainless steel surface. Such deposits will precipitate formation of rust and stain the stainless steel surface.
“Stainless Steel – for design, structure and protection against the elements.”
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