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IMOA’s »Stainless Solutions« e-newsletter covers a different stainless steel issue each month, with tips on design and specification, and links to technical resources.

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Stainless Steel in Architecture - Applications

Molybdenum-Containing Stainless Steel:
The Spectacular & Practical Architectural Metal Solution

Although stainless steel is a relatively new construction material, it has had a tremendous impact on international design. For about 80 years, stainless steel has been the preeminent material for projecting a progressive, modern image, helping to enhance security, and providing long-term durability and sustainability. There are many iconic forty to eighty years old stainless steel applications which illustrate that properly selected and maintained stainless steel will last the life of the structure, even if that life extends over hundreds of years. This makes stainless steel an attractive, cost-effective and environmentally friendly choice for any long-term design.

When a molybdenum addition is made to a stainless steel, the alloy’s resistance to corrosion caused by chlorides (coastal or deicing salts) and pollution is increased. This makes molybdenum containing stainless steels the ideal choice for buildings, structures, transit facilities, park facilities, sculptures and other applications designed to last forty or more years in corrosive locations. Not only can it last the life of the structure, but, if properly selected, an appropriate molybdenum-containing stainless steel and finish combination can also minimize maintenance requirements.

Today’s architects and designers can choose from a wide array of molybdenum-containing stainless steel products including structural components, roofing, curtain wall, handrails, swimming pool liners and accessories, doors, lighting and sunscreens. The many existing exceptional, practical and long-term installations highlighted in this section illustrate the exceptional performance and cost-effectiveness of stainless steel as an architectural design material.

Case studies, project design and other information has been provided for a wide range of applications. We encourage you to share your molybdenum containing stainless steel projects so that we can inspire and inform designers and fabricators about this versatile material. Please contact us at to share or discuss your project.

One Canada Square

One Canada Square at Canary Wharf in London was designed by Cesar Pelli & Associates and was completed in 1991. The exterior is molybdenum-containing Type 316 stainless steel with two finishes, Cambric and a fine No. 4.

Photo: Outokumpu

See also: Building Exteriors

Frederick R. Weissman Art Museum

Gehry Partners designed the Frederick R. Weissman Art Museum in Minneapolis, Minnesota and used molybdenum-containing Type 316 stainless steel with a fine No. 4 polish for its dramatic, low-maintenance exterior.

Photo: Catherine Houska for the Nickel Institute

Chrysler Building, New York City

Completed in 1930, the Chrysler Building in New York City was the first large high profile roof application for stainless steel. It is an attractive symbol of the longevity that stainless steel can provide.

Photo: Catherine Houska for the Nickel Institute

See also: Roofing