High Quality Stainless Steel Handrails Which Remain Looking Good
Stainless steel handrails are an attractive and practical solution for a range of applications, though the external use are often overlooked by architects and their clients because of concerns about discolouration caused by mild corrosion. In fact, such problems can be entirely avoided provided the stainless steel has been properly treated and prepared ahead of installation.
Like all metallic elements and alloys, stainless steel has a protective outer which is referred to as oxide layer. This oxide layer, in the case of stainless steel, is enriched with chromium oxide and this is what gives it a very high degree of resistance to corrosion. However, this resistance is reduced if the steel is not treated in the right way ahead of installation, with the result often being 'tea staining' and even slight rusting.
These problems occur as a result of the protective oxide layer being partly removed, and this by heat or mechanical processes including welding, polishing and grinding. In addition, if given time to develop in a stable atmosphere, stainless steel will develop a degree of its own protection. So if not given that time and also if the steel is not treated with the right processes in the creation of a product such as a handrail, it will inevitably go on to develop unsightly signs of corrosion - and often in a relatively short period of time.
With the stainless steel we use at Procter, there are two treatments we can apply as part of the production process to ensure that corrosion is avoided and the handrail remains looking as it should:
- Passivation. This involves a relatively simple chemical process that instantly restores the protective oxide layer to the surfaces of the stainless steel after it has gone through a manufacturing process such as welding or grinding. The process does not negatively change the appearance of the steel and is also fully compliant to the ASATM A 967specification.
- Electro-polishing. This is a process which provides the ultimate protection to stainless steel surfaces, and results in the material being up to thirty times more corrosion-resistant than other processes. As the name suggests, the method is carried out by electrolysis and removes a very small amount of material, with the resulting chemical reaction creating an extremely to ISO 15730, and is certainly what we would recommend for marine applications where salt water would be a problem without the treatment.
The latter process does make the appearance of the stainless steel somewhat brighter, though the degree of this can be controlled during the procedure.
So stainless steel handrails from Procter can be used on projects with complete confidence that they will not show signs of corrosions, and instead will remain looking just as they should do.