What metals are used in metal fabrication?
18th July 2019 | Knowhow
When carrying out custom metal fabrication projects for clients, there are a huge number of materials available to use, each with their own unique strengths and advantages.
Here at JC Metalworks, the most commonly used metals for metal fabrication services are stainless steel, mild steel, aluminium, Zintec and galvanised metals.
What are the advantages of each type of metal for metal fabrication?
To understand the advantages of different materials for metal fabrication, it’s important to know more about each material and its properties, and decide on a project-by-project basis which material will produce the best results. Read on to find out more about each different type of metal we use for metal fabrication services here at JC Metalworks.
What is steel?
Steel is an alloy of iron and carbon (sometimes containing other elements). It’s high strength and low cost to produce means it is a very popular material for use in construction projects, tools, appliances, vehicles, and countless other applications.
As steel is mainly comprised of iron, it will rust when exposed to moisture, either in the form of rain or indeed from ambient humidity. Over time, if a steel part has become rusted, the rust will corrode the steel to the point of failure. Therefore, for most projects, it is necessary to either switch to a metal which will not rust when exposed to water, or to coat the steel with a physical barrier that prevents water from reacting with the iron.
What is stainless steel?
Stainless steel is an alloy of steel which contains a minimum of 10.5% chromium, making it resistant to tarnishing and rust.
The chromium in stainless steel produces a thin layer of oxide on the surface of the steel which is known as the “passive layer”. The passive layer acts as a protective barrier which prevents any further corrosion on the surface of the steel. If you increase the amount of Chromium present in stainless steel, you will see an increased resistance to corrosion as a result.
In some cases, stainless steel also contains varying amounts of Carbon, Silicon, and Manganese. It is also possible to add other elements such as Nickel and Molybdenum for further useful properties such as enhanced formability and even more corrosion resistance.
What is mild steel?
Mild steel is steel which contains only a small percentage of carbon; it is strong and easily worked, but not readily tempered or hardened.
What is galvanised steel?
Galvanised steel is simply regular sheets of steel which have been coated in zinc to make them corrosion resistant.
What is Zintec steel?
Electro Zinc steel or Zintec is mild steel with added zinc. Zintec steel sheets are durable, versatile and often used for car bodies, electronics and white goods. It doesn’t rust easily and has a distinctive matt and blush coloured finish.
What is aluminium?
Aluminium is a light, silvery-grey metal, renowned for its low density and ability to resist corrosion. Aluminium’s corrosion resistant properties comes from its passivation – a thin surface layer of aluminium oxide that forms when the metal is exposed to air, preventing further oxidation.
Now that you know a little more about each type of metal used in our fabrication processes, it’s easy to understand why different metals are chosen for different projects.