5 Reasons Why Car Manufacturers Are Increasingly Using 304 Stainless Steel
As of 2016, there are an estimated 138,900 sheet metal workers in the United States, and a good number of them work with stainless steel. Stainless steel has many structural properties that make it suitable for automotive applications, such as being non-magnetic and resistant to corrosion. Apart from these, there are various other reasons why car manufacturers are increasingly using 304 stainless steel over other metal alloys. Let’s explore the following five reasons.
1. It Has Structural Integrity and Crashworthiness
Crashworthiness and reliable safety systems are critical for keeping passengers safe in vehicles. In the past, manufacturers preferred to use carbon stainless steel for its ability to absorb impact. Carbon stainless is still widely used in many applications because it is cost-effective.
However, in recent years, 304 stainless steel has proven to be more beneficial for noise and vibration reduction. Additionally, thin steel sheet can effectively absorb energy, resist rusting, and has exceptional formability. These features make the metal suitable for building structural parts of the car.
2. It’s Suitable for Gaskets and Fittings
Stainless steel is also becoming the metal of choice for gaskets, screws, horse fittings, and windscreen parts. One of the reasons manufacturers favor 304 stainless steel is because of its heat resistance and anti-corrosion properties. It is better than other grades of combined metals since it is strong but also aesthetically pleasing.
Automobiles today need to resist corrosion and heat while using safe materials. In the past, toxic materials like asbestos were placed between two sheets of metal to absorb heat. However, modern gaskets have between three and five metal sheets of 304 stainless steel. The assembly can handle high temperatures while complying with regulations.
3. It Creates a Protective Passive Film
Thin sheet metal can form a protective layer to resist corrosion and harsh elements of the weather. If there is damage to the coating, it can regenerate in an oxidizing atmosphere. For that reason, stainless steel is one of the best structural parts of the car exposed to moisture and chemicals.
4. It’s Cleaner and Has More Reliable Fuel Tanks
Modern cars need fuel tanks that can handle very high temperatures and toxic chemicals. This is partly due to the fuel delivery technology that returns unused fuel to the tank. Its outer surface also has to resist chemicals, dust, and grime.
Other than being resistant to corrosion and heat, stainless steel will hardly absorb chemicals. Therefore, it results in lower emissions than other materials used for fuel tanks. Automobile manufacturers are also using 304 stainless steel for its affordability and formability.
5. It Has Better Performance for Catalytic Converters
Catalytic converters can reduce the emission of exhaust from the car engine. For a long time, the most widely used material has been ceramic due to its heat resistant properties. Unfortunately, ceramic can be heavy and bulky. The most recent converters use a minimal quantity of ceramic mixed with stainless steel.
304 stainless steel has another advantage for catalytic converters in that it can conduct electricity. The material can be pre-heated so that the exhaust is warm when you start the car. More manufacturers are utilizing the alloy for modern automobiles thanks to its reliability.
304 stainless steel has many useful features that are not just limited to the automobile industry. Before you choose thin metal sheets for your applications, consult a supplier with experience in providing quality grade stainless steel.