Stainless steel is one of the most important materials on the planet, and it is used in almost everything, from gold clubs to countertops to pots and pants. Did you know that Saint Louis, Missouri’s Gateway Arch (630 foot) is made of stainless steel? Stainless steel is incredibly hygienic, as well as being smooth and corrosion resistant. This is why it is often used on mayo stands, as well as the surgical instruments placed on it. There are many different classes of steel, with each class refined to meet the purpose for which it was designed. Stainless steel is an alloy of steel and various levels of nickel, iron, carbon, and chromium. Just how much of each of these materials is used to make the alloy depends on the specific quality requirements of the instrument in which it is used. For instance, surgical scalpels need a specific type of finish, and they also have to be able to stay sharp longer and deal with greater temperatures than a kitchen knife. So, while both knives, they are very different.
The Grades and Classes of Stainless Steel Found in Mayo Stands
There are three accepted classes of stainless steel:
- Austenitic, which contains iron, nickel, and chromium. The carbon content is very low. It is tough and strong, can withstand high temperatures, and is resistant to scaling. Most stainless steel products are austenitic products, which includes kitchen utensils and cutlery. The most common grade within this class is Type 304, which is corrosion resistant and incredibly tough.
- Martensitic, which contains iron and chromium, as well as a very specific carbon content. This has some magnetic properties and is incredibly strong. It is often used in straight utensils like knives, but doesn’t do well in more complex forms or shapes. The most common grade within this class is Type 410, which is best for sharp, hard surfaces.
- Ferritic, which contains iron and chromium, and a low amount of carbon. It is not corrosion resistant like the higher grades are, but it is still a very common type of steel. This is because it is very resistant to heat, although it is not very strong. This is why it is found in cheaper cutlery, but also in various automotive parts.
Steel has been incredibly beneficial to the health care system as a whole. There are thousands of uses for the material, but the medical use is perhaps the greatest of all. Stainless steel has been used in this industry for over a century, enabling surgeons to complete complex medical procedures. It is resistant to corrosion and is able to remain sharp even after prolonged use, so long as it is surgical grade steel. This type is perfect for various medical procedures. Additionally, it is smooth and can withstand very high temperatures. Hence, it is less likely for microorganisms to become trapped in grooves, and it is reasonably easy to sterilize the material. Naturally, health care workers do need to make sure that they look after the tools properly, so that they can last for years.