Stainless Steel: What it is Used For

When many people think of steel, they think of stainless-at least that is what I thought of before I came to work for a steel company. The reason behind this is that it is used in numerous applications.

What Stainless Steel is Used For

In a previous post we discussed how stainless steel is made. We discovered how it was mined, melted, hot rolled, cold rolled and, finally, finished. Today, we will find out what that finished stainless steel material is used for.

stainless steel foodservice equipmentKitchen Equipment

One of the most common places you will find stainless steel is in the kitchen. Whether that kitchen is in your home or the restaurant you are eating at it likely has stainless in it somewhere. For time’s sake, we will focus on commercial kitchens.

Kitchens in restaurants are typically 85% (rough estimate based on personal waitressing experience) stainless steel. From the dish line and prep tables, to the walk in coolers and the fryer everywhere you look in a commercial kitchen is shiny metal. This is due to the corrosion resistance to high temperatures and other elements as well as the sanitary properties the metal holds.

The next time you go out to eat, take a peak in the kitchen. You will likely see about 85% of the kitchen is shiny stainless steel.

OK so, you don’t go out to eat-no offense, but that is just weird. Well, there are other applications of stainless steel that might interest you.

distillery equipment

Photo Credit: Brent Rostad

Brewery & Distillery Equipment

Maybe you like to have a cold beer or refreshing Jack and Coke after a long day at work? I mean, am I right? In the event that I am, you may like to know that brewery and distillery equipment is largely made of stainless steel. Similar to foodservice equipment, stainless is use in beverage equipment due to the sanitation aspect, but also because of the strength of the material. Stainless 304 is largely used in beverage equipment.

The Bean, stainless steel architecture

Photo Credit: Vincent Desjardins

Architectural Components

You don’t drink. That is just fine! Did you know stainless is also used for architectural trim? Stairways, windows, doors and building accent pieces can all have stainless trim. I am a fan of beautiful and intriguing architecture, especially when it comes to unique ways to use stainless steel. Some of my personal favorites include “The Bean” in Chicago’s Millennium Park (by Anish Kapoor) and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles (by Frank Gehry).

These are just some of the applications stainless steel can be used for. It is also found in automotive trim, railway and subway cars, and many other applications.