Why stainless?

Why use stainless steel for architectural building and construction purposes? For one, it is a beautiful building material with a high aesthetic appeal easily shaped in all kinds of forms because of its excellent ductility. Shortly after its development the material found its first large-scale use in buildings that remain among the most famous in the world, such as the Chrysler and the Empire State building. From then on the popularity of stainless steels for architectural usage grew rapidly. Today architects can choose from a wide variety of surface finishes, colours and product forms to suit their particular needs.
Another major reason for the success of stainless steels is the fact that they are among the most durable building materials ever invented. Because of their self-repairing characteristics, properly selected and fabricated stainless steels constructions will last for a lifetime. Even where environments are more aggressive, such as in heavily polluted areas and close to the sea, properly selected stainless steels will remain untouched.
Today stainless steels are used for much more than the roofing and facades for which they were first applied back in the 1920s. For example, because of their hygienic characteristics they have become standard for handrails – and who can imagine a world without stainless steel sinks? Moreover stainless steels have found their way into structural applications owing to their excellent corrosion- and fire-resistant characteristics.
Issues that might very well make stainless steels the preferred material of construction for the 21st century area include life-cycle costing and sustainability. Although initial design costs might in some cases be higher, stainless steels do not require painting, cleaning, and the savings on maintenance generally more than compensate for the initial higher investment. After its use the stainless steels are 100% recyclable, and there are no limits to the amount of recyclable scrap that can be used to produce new stainless steels, significantly reducing the environmental impact.
All in all stainless steels have become a well-established building material in the century since its invention thanks to their excellent characteristics. However, their full potential has definitely not been reached, so stainless steels look set to push ahead in the architectural, building and construction market stronger then ever.

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