If you are in the metal fabrication industry, especially aerospace parts manufacturing, you already know that stainless steel is one of the most commonly used metals. You might be thinking that it is by default that stainless steel metal sheets are used. However, you must understand the underlying reasons why stainless steel is used in making more than 90% of all aerospace parts.
1. Corrosion Resistance
One of the main reasons why aerospace parts are made using this material is that it is corrosion resistance. Most of the metals are likely to wear out when they are exposed to the upper atmosphere or when they come into contact with acidic conditions. On the other hand, alloys of stainless steels resist corrosion in the upper atmosphere where most of the airplanes cruise. Such materials will also not corrode in chloride bearing environments, alkaline solutions, and even at elevated temperatures.
2. High and Low-Temperature Resistance
Metals have for many years demonstrated various properties when exposed to very high or low temperatures. These conditions are common in airplanes. Some parts will be subjected to very high temperatures and they might end up melting. Others might crack or shrink when exposed to the upper atmosphere in freezing conditions. However, 17-7 stainless demonstrates toughness when exposed to cryogenic temperatures and maintain high strength at very high temperatures.
3. Ease of Fabrication
Aerospace parts take any shape and form. Therefore, the material used in the manufacture of such parts must be easy to fabricate. However, most metals are hard to fabricate. Others require complex machines to cut and fold. However, for 302 stainless, it is easy to fabricate. Just like 3003 aluminum, you can easily cut, weld, form, and fabricate stainless into any shape that you want to have. Fabrication property has made stainless the most preferred metal sheet in aerospace part manufacturing.
Strength is an important property in metals. For strength to be achieved, most metals have to be thick and weighty. This leads to a drastic increase in the price of various parts. However, strength can be achieved in thin stainless steel metals. The design helps in reducing the thickness of the metals which is essential in reducing weight while at the same time lowering the cost of the associated parts. Most of the parts manufactured using stainless steel are strong enough and cannot be bent by slight forces.
5. Aesthetic Appeal
Aesthetic appeal is an important consideration even in the manufacture of aerospace parts. Some parts are found on the outer surface of the airplane where it is necessary to please the eyes of the onlookers. 304 stainless steel is available in a variety of surface finishes. This makes it one of the most preferred thin sheet metal in the fabrication of high-quality pleasing appearances. It can be maintained to always as compared to other metal sheets.
6. Hygienic Properties
In every place, including in airplanes, hygiene is of paramount importance. Airplanes are cleaned regularly to make sure that all passengers onboard enjoy a clean environment. Therefore, using a metal with high cleanability in airplanes is very important. Stainless steel, which is one of the metals with high cleanability properties, is highly recommended. Stainless steel is also used in kitchens, hospitals, and pharmaceutical processing due to its hygienic properties.
7. Life Cycle Characteristics
At any given time, using a durable material in the manufacture of aerospace parts is necessary. You want the part to last for several years before replacement. Stainless steel is a durable metal with low maintenance needs. It will form a strong metal part that will stay for many years without wear and tear. Parts manufactured using steel alloy can outlast parts manufactured using other metal sheets in the industry.
Current reports from the metal fabrication industry indicate that sheet metal industry accounts for $30 billion in the United States revenues. It is one of the manufacturing sectors with the largest revenues in the industry. However, as an aerospace parts manufacturer, you don’t have to fall to any metal. Stick to stainless steel, and you will enjoy the benefits discussed above.