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Stainless steel is a popular choice for fasteners of all kinds because of the material’s longevity and strong resistance against corrosion and dirt. However, many users of stainless steel fasteners tend to make one or more of the 4 mistakes discussed below. Avoid these pitfalls to ensure that you really get the lifetime of use from your fasteners that you should.
- Leaving Exposed Surfaces Open to Contamination and Corrosion
The exposed part of the fastener, for example, the top part of a screw, can often be exposed to various contaminants that could cause corrosion. For instance, metal filings may settle on it, causing it to rust gradually. Try to keep the exposed parts covered at times when such contaminants might be present, and promptly clean any likely culprits away.
- Using the Wrong Grade
Few people take note of the grade of steel that has been used to make their fasteners. It would pay to start being conscious of this. In an environment where corrosion is a likely occurrence, choose 316-grade stainless steel. Alternatively, 304 also offers decent resistance against corrosion. Other grades are likely to corrode relatively quickly.
- Using Low-Nickel Stainless Steel
The nickel content of stainless steel is an important aspect of its rust-resistant properties. Fasteners that are low in nickel, as well as chromium, and relatively higher in manganese, are not suitable to resist rusting. Again, you should opt for 316 stainless steel.
- Uneven Finishing
If you leave your fasteners unevenly seated or not flush with the surface, you are leaving gaps that could be filled by dusty particles. These can break down the protective layer of chromium oxide and lead to corrosion. Be careful of how you seat your fasteners.