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Stainless Steel Tube Applications: Common Mistakes You Must Avoid

Stainless steel is a sturdy, aesthetically appealing material that has found a variety of applications in business facilities. Particularly, stainless steel tubes are used on facilities and products that your business probably uses every day. For instance, some of the high-quality natural gas piping in your firm may be made from stainless steel. The combination of metal alloys used to make the steel tubes varies according to different manufacturing processes. For this reason, you can easily make a mistake by investing in a product that doesn't fit your performance bill. The following discussion takes you through some of the common mistakes you might make choosing and using stainless steel tubing:  

Choosing the Wrong Grade

Essentially, fabricating steel involves the combination of various metal alloys such as nickel and chromium. By varying the percentage of the constituent metals, fabricators come up with different grades of steel that differ in terms of performance. These grades include type 301, 302, 304 and 316 steel. Type 301 steel is highly ductile and stretchable when during installation. It is suitable when you need to install the pipes around obstructions. Type 302 and 304 steel stand up well against corrosion, although 302 is the stronger of the two because of its high carbon content. This makes it ideal for outdoor piping applications because of the many corrosive elements outdoors. Lastly, the 316 has a lesser likelihood of tea staining and is best suited for salty coastal environments. Selecting the wrong grade reduces your tubing's lifetime and leaves you with high costs of maintenance.

Failing to Lubricate Fastener Threads

You will certainly need fasteners to hold your steel tubes in place. These fasteners are an important part of the whole tubing system, yet you might forget to take good care of them. This will be the beginning of all sorts of trouble. Make sure that you lubricate all the fasteners before assembling and fitting them on the pipes. These lubricants prevent galling. When galling occurs, the threads on your fasteners are engulfed in a brownish substance that makes them lock up and provide a sweet spot for corrosive elements.

Forgetting the Effects of Rain

Rain will only co-exist with your steel tubes after you've accorded them the right protection. Even though certain steel types (like type 316) are fabricated to withstand moisture, prolonged exposure to rainwater will eventually bring down their defences. Rain gradually washes away chromium oxide, a protective coating that forms on the surface of the steel, and exposes the metal to damage. If your pipes will be exposed to lots of rain, then you should consider electro-polishing them besides choosing a polished mirror finish.