Stainless Steel: The 'Passive Layer'

It’s common knowledge that Stainless Steel is selected in the industry for its resistance to corrosion and cryogenic temperature performance.

As well as displaying excellent resistance to corrosion, stainless steel is regarded as being one of the most hygienic industrial materials on the planet. Both of these highly salient qualities of the ubiquitous metal arise because of the same component: the passive layer.

The passive layer is a thin layer of chromium oxide which, due to the chromium reacting with oxygen in the surrounding environment, develops on the surface layer of stainless steels with a chromium content of above 11%.

Unlike rust or iron oxide, the passive layer is inert: this 'passive' quality means that it is extremely unwilling to react with other chemical elements, giving it both its hygienic and anti-corrosive properties.

Due to the recent Corona Virus outbreak, the fear of germs is more heightened than ever. Although stainless steel has long been used in medical practice, the use of an easily sanitised product has become an important necessity to tackle the outbreak. Medical devices must possess appropriate mechanical and physical properties to meet their design criteria, as well as remain unreactive with bodily fluids, cleaning agents and disin­fec­tants.

Stainless Steel is an easily cleaned substance with general cleaning often only requiring warm, soapy water. However, sometimes more rigorous cleaning is needed for such environments as medical, even then many commercial cleaners and polishers on the market are best used in conjunction with soap and water. 

BS Stainless understand that the growing demand for a Stainless Steel material that is effective against most germs is a rising issue with viruses like Corona Virus quickly spreading. In addition to standard stainless steel materials we can offer further enhanced material with microbial resistance.­  Our stainless steel provides anti­mic­ro­bial resistance and avoids the visibility of finger prints on brushed stainless steel using silver coating. This makes stainless steel easy to clean and helps increase its durability and hygiene.

With integrated Silver technology in the coating, our stainless steel provides bio-enhanced surfaces that help reduce bacteria prolife­ration so this can only enhance the safety. We can even supply with a PVDF paint like our ColorMet product but again including the silver coating to prevent the spread of germs.

The material is not affected by cleaning agents and is stain resistant, making it ideal for use in medical envi­ron­ments, kitchens and gyms; or any environment that risks stains or the spreading of infections. As the desire to eradicate germs grows with outbreaks like the Corona Virus creating rising anxiety, the need for a hygienic surfaces increases.

The Stainless Steel BS Stainless offer can be supplied in sheet or blank form to your requirements in various grades, although minimum quantities may apply.  If you’re interested, leave an enquiry.­ 

Check out the BS Stainless website to find out more about how stainless steel's hygienic qualities make it such an important material in the world today. Or our ask about our stainless steel with anti-bacterial coating.

Posted in Company news, Case studies, Product news on