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Stainless Solutions

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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Molybdenum Stainless Steel Finish Possibilities

The surface color and texture options for molybdenum-containing stainless steels is practically limitless. There are hundreds of stock and custom surface treatments available, and many can be combined to create an even broader design palate. In addition to the traditional linear and mirror-like polished finishes, natural stainless steel can be obtained with mechanically abraded, embossed, and abrasive blasted surface treatments.

If color is preferred, both opaque (e.g. terne and other coatings) and translucent (e.g. electrochemical and PVD) colors provide considerable design flexibility. Practically every color in the rainbow is possible including charcoal grey, black, gold, bronze, blue, green and red. If they are used appropriately and well maintained, many of the coloring processes for stainless steel will last the life of the building.

Colored 444 shingles, Federal Center South, Seattle.
Photo: C. Kovach

Read our article about the award winning, environmentally friendly, electrochemically colored grey toned Type 444 fish scale exterior of Federal Building South, Seattle:

Stainless steel fish scale façade
Molybdenum-containing ferritic stainless steel plays an important role in sustainable construction at the new headquarters of the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers in Seattle, Washington. The material was utilized in the innovative façade, which helped the building win many awards for its cost- and energy-saving features.

Mirror polished Type 316L plate Cloud Gate, Millennium Park, Chicago
Photo: C. Houska, TMR Consulting

Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco, blue electrochemically colored Type 316
Photo: C. Houska, TMR Consulting

The broadest range of finish textures and colors are available on austenitic stainless steels (e.g. Type 316). The finish options for ferritic (e.g. 444 and 447) and duplex (e.g. 2205) stainless steels are more limited. There is a slight difference in the silver color of stainless steel alloy families (e.g. austenitic, ferritic, duplex), but this can often be masked by applying different finishes to adjoining components.

The higher corrosion rates of other metals can result in finish deterioration and eventual aesthetic failure. The superior corrosion resistance of properly selected and maintained molybdenum stainless steels makes them an excellent sustainable material choice for demanding long-term applications. Industry designations and standards for finishes can vary around the world, and there are many proprietary products not covered by them. The brochures below provide information about some of these finish options.

Photo: Outokumpu
Type 316 with a coined HyClad® Cambric finish was used for the exterior of One Canada Square (completed in 1991), Canary Wharf, London because of coastal salt exposure. It has provided excellent performance.