Numerous industries use stainless steel. Although its corrosion resistance somewhat overshadows it, the heat and fire resistance of stainless steel is a major property of this metal.
Fire Safety Ratings and Testings
Fire is one of the most devastating hazards in the world. A small flame can erupt into a larger fire or even an explosion. This furthermore can create havoc and destroy structures and lives. When engineers and architects are in the design phase of a structure, they must pay close attention and choose materials that can prevent, contain and even deter a fire.
There is a long tradition of discussion about the fire resistance of stainless stee. Although there is no official fire “rating” for stainless steel, many fire tests have been done by the Nickel Development Institute and others to compare how different metals perform. The tests compare type 316 stainless steel to aluminum and galvanized steel. In all cases, stainless steel outperformed these other materials even after prolonged exposure to fire and heat creating extreme temperatures.
Since stainless steel cannot catch fire. It will not aid in the propagation of spreading flames in the case of a standard structural conflagration. Stainless steels are also selected for their oxidation resistance at high temperatures and their strength. This resistance depends, mainly, on the amount of chromium in the steel. Thus stainless steel is the best choice for fire safety and prevention when it comes to construction materials and life-cycle costs.
316/L Stainless Steel and Fire Resistance
This type of steel is best suited for the manufacturing of medical, marine and food applications. It has better non-magnetic properties than other stainless ones. Due to that, it is popular in wire cloth, springs and hose braiding. You can also see stainless steel in coastal architectural paneling, chemical and petrochemical equipment as well as in engineered components.
Hardening treatment of this metal can be done after heating to 1,010-1,120 degrees Celsius and cooling rapidly. Because of the chromium content of 316, this heat resistance melting range will not affect its oxidation resistance.
Stewart Fraser Ltd. had testing done on 316 type door and frames to test their fire resistance. This test lasted two hours and ten minutes. In the end, it showed a temperature of only 98 degrees Celsius on the ‘safe’ side of the door. The doors and frames suffered minor discoloration and thermal distortion of the steel. However, the doors maintained their entire structural integrity throughout the test. This test and others done continue to prove that 316 stainless is a great choice for fire resistance and prevention.
Stainless Steel is the Safest Choice
There are lots of researches comparing carbon steel, aluminum and galvanized steel to stainless steel. The overwhelming conclusion is that stainless steel outweighs these other metals in corrosion resistance, durability, life-cycle cost savings, and now even fire prevention. The economic benefits and fire safety aspects are unmatched. Stainless Structurals can help you with your next structure design where fire prevention and safety is indispensable. If you need a curtain wall or structure in 316/L stainless or even 2205 duplex stainless steel, we can make it. Contact us today for your next fire resistant project.