Sheffield-based Ancon Building Products joins the Stainless Steel centenary celebrations and explains what makes this material ideal for structural applications.
2013 marks 100 years since Harry Brearley, a Sheffield metallurgist, discovered a super-steel that was to have an enduring impact on everyday life all over the world.
Today, the high strength, corrosion resistance and aesthetic qualities of Stainless Steel mean its use is widespread - from cutlery and kitchen sinks to surgical instruments and sculptures - with new applications being found all the time.
Like Harry Brearley, ANCON is an integral part of Sheffields industrial heritage. The company has been fabricating steel in the city for over 130 years and was one of the first companies to recognise the potential for Stainless Steel in building applications, when it began developing its range of construction fixings in the 1960s.
The Ancon range now includes Stainless Steel cavity wall ties, brick support systems, masonry reinforcement, tension bars and shear load connectors. Typically, the companys products provide a critical connection within a structure, are invisible once installed and are permanently under load.
Stainless Steel is often preferred to carbon or galvanised steels in these structural applications, where inspection, maintenance or replacement of the components is either impossible or impractical. Stainless Steel provides the necessary integrity and assurances required by designers and asset owners.
Stainless Steel is not a single material, but a group of corrosion-resistant steel alloys which contain a minimum of 10.5% chromium. Originally named rustless steel by Brearley, the term Stainless Steel was first used by the cutlery industry and quickly adopted as a generic name.
Stainless Steels have inherent corrosion-resistant properties. The chromium reacts with oxygen to produce a very thin, chromium-rich oxide film on the surface of the steel. This layer is unlike an applied coating, such as paint or galvanising, in that if it is damaged, it re-forms immediately and continues to protect the steel.
Luke Woollen, Ancon Technical Services Manager says,
The use of Stainless Steel in the Construction Industry continues to increase, especially as its sustainability benefits become more widely recognised. It comprises up to 90% recycled material, offers low thermal conductivity compared to other metals and is 100% recyclable at the end of a long, often maintenance-free, service life.
Whilst we continually consider other metals and new composite materials for structural applications, Stainless Steel still provides the platform for many of our latest new products. Last year we were awarded a Queens Award for Innovation for a unique stainless steel Lockable Dowel.
For more information on Ancons products and the types and grades of Stainless Steel used by the company call 0114 275 5224 or visit www.ancon.co.uk.
Ancon is a member of the British Stainless Steel Association (www.bssa.org.uk).