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Stainless Steel in Swimming Pools

02 Aug 2013

Stainless steel has been successfully used in swimming pools for many years due to its combination of corrosion resistance and strength. Grade 1.4401 (316) with a mirror polish is the default selection for components immersed in the pool and at the poolside, where regular maintenance is possible.

For components away from the pool which are load-bearing, it is important to recognise that the standard grades like 1.4401 (316) are not suitable. This is due to the phenomenon of stress corrosion cracking which, although rare, can have fatal consequences, as was the case in swimming pools in Uster Switzerland (1985) and in Tilburg Netherlands (2011). Much work has been done by corrosion scientists over the last 30 years and the resultant advice for avoiding the problem is well-known in the stainless steel industry. However, much remains to be done in communicating this information to architects, fabricators, consulting engineers, pool builders and pool operators.    

The advice to this range of interested parties is contained in a European standard BS EN 13451-1:2011 (available on-line from the BSI). Essentially the advice is to use high alloy grades of stainless steel for load bearing components. These grades are 1.4529 and 1.4547, both 6% Mo grades, and 1.4565, a 4.5% Mo high N grade.

From enquiries to the Stainless Steel Advisory Service, it is clear that there is still a knowledge gap which needs to be filled. The BSSA will continue to work with the Swimming Pool and Allied Trade Association (SPATA) to “get the message out”.

The BSSA also has a CPD Module designed for architects and engineers on this subject.


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