There is a good reason why boat equipment and fittings are often made of stainless steel. It does not certainly take a genius to figure that it is as a protection against rusting, of course, but do you know exactly why stainless steel – and not any other metal – is used? If not, continue reading on below!
To start with, let us first identify what steel is. Steel is basically an alloy made of iron and a lesser percentage of carbon; it is a strong and lightweight alloy that is suitable for many different purposes. When chromium (which is a brittle metallic element that resists corrosion) is added to this alloy – so that it consists of at least ten percent of the alloy – stainless steel becomes the product. Steel fabricators value stainless steel because it retains the corrosive-resistant properties of chromium. It should be noted that in the fabrication of stainless steel for seafaring and other water-related activities, other elements such as molybdenum, nitrogen and nickel are also added, to further boost its resistance against corrosion there are companies that provides efficient stainless steel fabrication.
Now, let us move the discussion towards rusting. Rusting is an oxidation process relevant to metals, which becomes visible in the form of brownish or reddish deposits on the surface of a metal, all the while eating away at the metal. Rusting takes place in the presence of water vapour, which is commonly present in the atmosphere (except for, say, deserts). Accordingly, rusting can take place just about anywhere, but the fact that the percentage of water vapour in locations near water bodies is much higher makes these areas much more prone to the phenomenon. Not to add, the fact that salt is also additionally present in coastal locations further doubles the issue (as salt also aids the process of rusting).
Accordingly, simple iron fittings on boats will only bring trouble as they will corrode really easily – thus why stainless steel boat fittings are used instead. It should be however noted that stainless steel is not completely invincible against rusting – it is merely a much better resistant metal. Thus, if the boat fittings are not properly taken care of, even stainless steel can rust in the harsh conditions coastal locations provide. To this end, it is important to take proper and constant care of the steel to ensure that it does not rust. The process itself is not very hard; it simply needs to be repeated often.
Thus, stainless steel is not merely chosen in boat fittings for the mere reason that it ‘sparkles’ or ‘stands out’ – there is a good reason why ancient boats were made of wood when in fact, iron was also available at the time after all!