Stainless Steel - 100 Not Out!

As 2013 commemorates 100 years since stainless steel was discovered by Harry Brearley in Sheffield, the BSSA is celebrating the centenary of this discovery that has changed the world we live in. We have selected 50 applications to run throughout 2013 demonstrating how this material has influenced our lives so far; leaving us unable to imagine a world without stainless steel.

In addition, the BSSA is collaborating with the SMEA to organise a major conference and exhibition in Sheffield from the 11th - 13th June 2013. Click here for more details about this event.

Campaign Emails

This is the list of emails that have been sent so far. Click on each link to open the email in a new browser window.

  1. 1.
    Quenching Our Thirst

    Quenching Our Thirst

    The Thames Gateway Water Treatment Works opened in 2010 as the UK's first water desalination plant. The £270 million investment is capable of supplying fresh drinking water during extended periods of low rainfall. A key part of the process involves saline water passing through large filters which are supported by 78 stainless steel I-beams.

  2. 2.
    Stainless Steel Makes the Cut

    Stainless Steel Makes the Cut

    Imagine a world without stainless steel... what we take for granted today was only discovered 100 years ago. In fact the discovery that changed the world was an accident – Harry Brearley, at Firth Brown's laboratory in Sheffield, was testing different steel alloys to try to improve the rifling in gun barrels and noticed that one cast did not corrode.

  3. 3.
    Protecting London

    Protecting London

    London is potentially vulnerable to flooding due to the rising high-water level and the risk of a surge tide during a severe storm. In order to protect the city, a flood barrier was built.

  4. 4.
    Something Old, Something New

    Something Old, Something New

    An early example of stainless steel in architecture can be seen in the Savoy, Britain’s first luxury hotel in London opening its doors on the 6th of August 1889. The Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff opened in 2004 and is a more modern example of how this material can be used.

  5. 5.
    Keeping a Roof Over Our Heads

    Keeping a Roof Over Our Heads

    Bricks and mortar aren't the only things keeping a roof over our heads… Wall Ties are essential to the stability of our homes and other masonry buildings. They are built into the walls during construction, tying the slender internal and external leaves together to give the masonry its strength.

  6. 6.
    Some Like it Hot

    Some Like it Hot

    Stainless steels are ideal materials for manufacturing pressurised cylinders for heating and storing water for use in the home. These modern systems are designed to deliver plentiful hot water to several outlet points simultaneously.

  7. 7.
    What does the Blackpool Seafront and a Buddhist Temple in Thailand have in common?

    What does the Blackpool Seafront and a Buddhist Temple in Thailand have in common?

    They both use stainless rebar! Rebar is a rod or bar commonly used for reinforcement in concrete. To ensure long life spans, stainless rebar has been used successfully in a variety of highly demanding structures.

  8. 8.
    Safe Food…Anytime, Anywhere

    Safe Food…Anytime, Anywhere

    Stainless Steel has long been used where food is being prepared as the kitchens on the Queen Mary, launched in 1934, demonstrate. Importantly, its corrosion resistance means it is perfectly neutral to foodstuffs so the taste and appearance of foods remain unchanged.

  9. 9.
    London Underground - Jubilee Line Extension

    London Underground - Jubilee Line Extension

    The last great public project in London of the 20th century; the Jubilee Line Extension was completed just in time for the millennium at a cost of £3.2 billion. The 16km extension was the result of half a century of strategic transport planning where stainless steel can be seen to play a vital role.

  10. 10.
    Stainless Steel Offshore

    Stainless Steel Offshore

    The Armada Platform is operated by BG Group and exploits three gas and condensate fields in the Central North Sea. In 2009, new accommodation modules were added to accommodate 59 personnel; the cladding of these modules was corrugated stainless steel.

  11. 11.
    Roll out the Barrel

    Roll out the Barrel

    More than 30% of all stainless steel produced goes into products related to the food and beverage sector. The first stainless steel fermenting vessel was used to brew beer in 1928 and is still the material used in breweries today.

  12. 12.
    From Rags to Riches...

    From Rags to Riches...

    Today, environmental issues such as recyclability are important criteria for material selection. Stainless steel objects should never become waste as they contain valuable raw materials such as chromium, nickel and molybdenum which make recycling stainless steel a valuable and worthwhile process.

  13. 13.
    Life Saving Technology

    Life Saving Technology

    Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is one of the most advanced medical imaging modalities in the world. At the heart of every system is a powerful magnet, which depends heavily on the stainless steel used in its construction.

  14. 14.
    Driving Down Pollution

    Driving Down Pollution

    The catalytic converter transforms harmful pollutants into less harmful emissions before leaving a vehicle's exhaust system. Catalytic converter shells are made from stainless steel due to its excellent thermal fatigue properties.

  15. 15.
    Strong Stuff...

    Strong Stuff...

    The single most important piece for weightlifting is the weightlifting bar. Stainless steel is often used, especially for higher quality bars in competitions where they are checked for their durability, bending resistance, and flexibility under heavy loading.

  16. 16.
    Light at the End of the...

    Light at the End of the...

    Tunnels need to function relatively maintenance-free for many decades. Stainless steel requires no added protection for corrosion resistance and its high strength and fire resistance provide a long and durable service life. Stainless steel is used in both visible applications, such as fire doors and barriers, and invisible applications such as reinforcing.

  17. 17.
    Giving You a Clean Shave

    Giving You a Clean Shave

    In 1956 the first stainless steel razor blades to be used in England were introduced by Wilkinson Sword, revolutionising the shaving products industry. Previously, carbon steel had been used to make the blades but this tended to rust easily and lasted only a short time in the humid environment of the bathroom.

  18. 18.
    From the Farm to the Table

    From the Farm to the Table

    The modern dairy industry relies upon stainless steel to efficiently meet the needs of its customers around the world. Dairy products contain significant amounts of protein and many of the micronutrients we need for a healthy and balanced diet.

  19. 19.
    Stainless Life Savers

    Stainless Life Savers

    Each year in Britain about 85,000 operations are performed to insert a metal tubular device called a stent. The most widely used material for stents is a high purity 316L grade (1.4404) of stainless steel.

  20. 20.
    How Does Your Garden Grow... ?

    How Does Your Garden Grow... ?

    With a little help from stainless steel spades, rakes, and shears! Stainless steel is the blossoming choice for garden tools because it is resistant to rust, long lasting and incredibly durable for those weeds that are a bit tough to dig out.

  21. 21.
    Conquering Mount Everest

    Conquering Mount Everest

    Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay became the first people to conquer the 8,848 metre high Mount Everest on May 29th 1953. The pair were helped by containers of oxygen which were crafted in stainless steel.

  22. 22.
    Spinning Around

    Spinning Around

    Grade 430 (1.4016) stainless steel is the standard material used for the washing machine drum. Its formability and corrosion resistance make it the ideal material to keep our clothes clean and spinning for longer.

  23. 23.
    Bridging the Gap...

    Bridging the Gap...

    Built completely from stainless steel, a unique £1.8 million, 200ft bridge links Bristol's Temple Quay harbour with the city centre. The bridge was part of a £200 million regeneration scheme in Bristol.

  24. 24.
    Lasting a Lifetime

    Lasting a Lifetime

    In the early 1900s the wristwatch, originally called a wristlet, was typically only worn by women and was considered a passing fashion rather than a serious timepiece. The vast majority of us own a watch and the chances are that the watch back is made from stainless steel, and in many cases, the face of the watch and the strap are too.

  25. 25.
    A Moment to Remember...

    A Moment to Remember...

    Stainless steel sculptures last decades, making this the perfect material for creating a lasting memory. A wide variety of surface finishes are available, which give stainless its stunning appearance.

  26. 26.
    On the Right Track...

    On the Right Track...

    By 1932 the first stainless steel railway carriages were put into service by the Budd Company. Stainless steel soon became a standard material for rail applications in the United States and Japan, a trend that has continued to the present day.

  27. 27.
    Lighting the Way

    Lighting the Way

    Road studs are now being replaced by solar versions to provide better lighting, thereby making roads safer and said to reduce casualties by 70%. The top covers for these road studs are made from marine grade stainless steel.

  28. 28.
    Sustainable Buildings

    Sustainable Buildings

    Corrosion resistance, durability and reduced maintenance costs are some of the reasons why stainless steel is used for architectural cladding. With the increasing emphasis being placed on sustainable building design, stainless steel is fully recyclable and contributes towards the longevity and reduced energy consumption of a building.

  29. 29.
    Stainless Steel Helps Clear the Air

    Stainless Steel Helps Clear the Air

    The airbag specified for use in vehicles traces its origins back as early as 1941. Dual front airbags are now an integral part of road safety and are mandatory in all cars from the 1998 model year onwards.

  30. 30.
    Blowing in the Wind

    Blowing in the Wind

    The European Transonic Windtunnel (ETW) is a test bed for new aircraft. It is normal to use scale models to test the aerodynamics of new designs, for example the Airbus A380. Wind tunnels operating at normal temperatures cannot fully simulate real flight.
  31. 31.
    Operation Stainless

    Operation Stainless

    The medical profession is extremely innovative, especially in the field of medical equipment and tools.
  32. 32.
    Here Comes the Sun

    Here Comes the Sun

    E = mc2 is perhaps the most famous equation proposed by arguably the most famous scientist – Albert Einstein. The destruction of a small amount of mass m gives rise to a huge amount of energy E because c, the speed of light is very large and even larger when you square it.

  33. 33.
    Burning Ambition

    Burning Ambition

    Just over a year ago, a worldwide audience saw the spectacular opening ceremony of the London Olympics. This culminated in the completion of the Olympic Cauldron
  34. 34.
    The Heat Is On

    The Heat Is On

    For many industrial products, the chances are that, at some point, they will need to be heated up.
  35. 35.
    Waste Not Want Not

    Waste Not Want Not

    The Anaerobic Digestion (AD) process takes animal manure, food waste and silage and produces biogas (a methane rich fuel). The biogas is fed to a combined heat and power plant, the outputs from which are electricity for the National Grid, heating and bio-fertilizer which is returned to the land. The process helps to reduce greenhouse gases, contributing towards renewable energy targets and reducing landfill.
  36. 36.
    Paper Round

    Paper Round

    The earliest production of paper (as a replacement for silk) is attributed to Cai Lun in China in 105 AD. Today, China is firmly established as the largest producer in the world, having overtaken the United States in 2009.
  37. 37.
    Plain Sailing

    Plain Sailing

    Stainless steels are used in many ways on board ships and boats. These range from general fittings for small yachts to tankers carrying aggressive chemicals.
  38. 38.
    Keep Taking the Tablets

    Keep Taking the Tablets

    The global pharmaceutical industry is worth about £600 billion per annum (2012). This ranges from over-the-counter paracetamol at a few pence per tablet to complex drugs costing thousands of pounds per treatment.
  39. 39.
    Chips With Everything

    Chips With Everything

    Almost certainly, the most revolutionary development in the last 30 years is the advent of the PC (and Mac of course). 80% of homes now have a computer and most businesses could not work without one.
  40. 40.
    Brake Lights and Breakfast

    Brake Lights and Breakfast

    Martensitic stainless steels, first discovered by Harry Brearley, have advanced a long way since 1913. The addition of 12 % Cr to give sufficient corrosion resistance to the material also imparts very high hardenability, so large sections can easily “through-harden” up to 500 mm thick. With additions of various alloying additions, for example, molybdenum, the analysis can be tailored to suit certain applications.
  41. 41.
    Space, The Final Frontier

    Space, The Final Frontier

    Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd has pioneered the use of commercial off-the-shelf optics for space imaging. They offer state-of-the art digital imagers for a range of remote sensing applications, producing stunning results at exceptionally low cost. The SSTL-300 S1 is the latest in the family of highly capable SSTL 300 platforms providing one-metre imagery.
  42. 42.
    Pilot Light

    Pilot Light

    CKT Aero Engineering has been designing and fabricating exhaust systems for light aircraft and microlights since 1999. Chris Piper, founder of CKT, was approached by the designer of the Europa light aircraft to design an exhaust system which suited the Rotax 912 engine and fitted within the Europa’s engine cowling. The system had to be robust, lightweight, tolerate a wide temperature range, satisfy stringent noise regulations, with no impairment of engine performance and be easy to assemble by the aircraft’s kit-builder
  43. 43.
    The Binman Cometh...

    The Binman Cometh...

    If you asked the average person what a refuse lorry was made of, the chances are that they wouldn’t say “stainless steel”. Yet, this is precisely what Dennis Eagle use for the cab of their state of the art refuse vehicles.
  44. 44.
    Lighting the Way Home

    Lighting the Way Home

    The Golden Age of lighthouse building is long since gone. So says Barry Phelan, an engineer with the Commissioner for Irish Lights (CIL). However, it is still necessary to look after the existing lights and, where necessary, bring them up to date. One such project concerned the lighthouse at Roancarrigmore on the coast of Cork.
  45. 45.
    Food Glorious Food

    Food Glorious Food

    In a competitive market, everything used in the construction of food processing machinery must be justified in the terms of commercial advantage. Stainless steels provide the advantages of aesthetic appearance, extended machine life and reliability, reduced cost of ownership and improved processing. Two examples show the range of grades required in this sector.
  46. 46.
    Tidal Power

    Tidal Power

    The recent announcement about the narrowing gap between capacity and demand for electrical power highlights the need to find new ways of generating this precious resource. Renewable energy will make increasingly important contributions to the energy mix as fossil fuels run out. One such source is tidal power.
  47. 47.
    Ups and Downs

    Ups and Downs

    The sheer variety of stainless steel product forms and surface finishes available lend themselves perfectly to the huge range of escalators and elevators we find in hotels, offices, transport interchanges, shopping centres, hospitals and the like.
  48. 48.
    The Kelpies

    The Kelpies

    Andy Scott's magnificent full sized Kelpies have been unveiled in Scotland and stand at 30m high, as opposed to his Kelpies on display at the Harry Brearley Conference in Sheffield which were a mere 3m! The huge horse's heads are made of 600 tonnes of steel including the cladding, which is made from 6mm hot rolled 316L stainless steel plates.
  49. 49.
    Cement Mixer

    Cement Mixer

    Stainless steel wire is available in various forms – coils, spools, lengths and semi-finished product.
  50. 50.
    Super Bowl

    Super Bowl

    Stainless steel sinks are ideal for a number of purposes and can be formed into many different shapes for many different applications.
  51. 51.
    Santa

    Santa's Little Helper

    Santa Claus has revealed to the BSSA that he relies on stainless steel every Christmas eve.

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