January 2016

Welcome to ‘Stainless Solutions’ from IMOA. Each month, we will cover a different stainless steel issue with tips on design and specification, and links to technical resources.  This month we are discussing green or living walls and the need to use stainless steel to achieve longevity, amongst other performance requirements.
Green or Living Walls

Green or living walls are not a new concept but they are increasing in popularity. They can be found insulating and shading building exterior walls, making interior atria come alive and bringing urban spaces such as parks closer to nature. Added vegetation in urban areas not only creates a more pleasant environment but also helps clean the air, reduce noise and can even be used to grow food.

Read EuroInox’s Green Walls in Stainless Steel for project examples.

Green or living walls contain soil with fertilizer, which is corrosive even when organic. Additionally, they are kept moist and the soil is aerated (i.e. contains oxygen), which increases its corrosiveness. As is necessary when selecting plants, the presence of coastal and deicing salt must also be considered in the selection of the planter and structural support materials because it will increase soil corrosiveness. Neither carbon steel nor aluminum is suitable for planters because of their high corrosion rates in soil, which are well documented. Plastic planters provide short-term life and must be repeatedly replaced.

This beautiful green wall was installed a few years ago on a hotel in Santiago, Chile. Unfortunately, close examination shows that coating failure and corrosion of the carbon steel planters and structural supports is causing premature deterioration.  Photo credit Catherine Houska, TMR Consulting.

The only material that can fulfill the goals of Whole Building Life Cycle Assessment to minimize or eliminate replacement, maintenance and waste in green walls is a molybdenum-containing stainless steel like Type 316/316L. In addition to its documented soil corrosion performance, it has the corrosion resistance necessary for supporting the planters in the damp cavity behind the green wall. Several resources are available in our downloadable library to assist in selecting an appropriate stainless steel alloy including:


Stainless Steel Library

Download a free Stainless Steel Library (zip file, 559 MB) with over 360 pdfs covering building and construction applications, selection, specification, fabrication, sustainability and other common questions.

Stainless Solutions e-newsletter archive

For previous issues or to subscibe to the e-newsletter, please visit the archive page.

Continuing Education – American Institute of Architects (AIA)

IMOA is an AIA continuing education system approved provider with eight 1-hour programs that are registered for both live face-to-face and distance learning credit.

1. Stainless Steel Sustainable Design
2. Bioclimatic Design With Stainless Steel Weather Screens
3. Stainless Steel Structural Design
4. Stainless Steel Specification For Corrosive Applications
5. Deicing Salt: Stainless Steel Selection to Avoid Corrosion
6. Stainless Steel Finish Specification
7. Advanced Stainless Steel Specification and Problem Avoidance
8. Specification of Stainless Steel Finishes and Grades For Corrosive Applications

For more information or to schedule a workshop contact Catherine Houska, 412-369-0377 or email chouska@tmr-inc.com.

What is IMOA?

IMOA (International Molybdenum Association) is a non-profit industry association, which provides technical information to assist with successful specification of molybdenum-containing materials. Molybdenum is an element. When it is added to stainless steel, molybdenum increases its resistance to corrosion caused by deicing salts, coastal atmosphere and pollution.

If you have a topic suggestion for a future issue of Stainless Solutions or need additional technical advice on stainless steel specification and selection, please get in touch here.

Forwarded by a colleague? To receive the next issue of Stainless Solutions automatically, please go to our archive and subscription page.


In providing consultation or other assistance with respect to technical issues, any consultation, assistance or material is provided for the general information of the recipient and should not be used or relied upon for any specific application without first securing competent advice. IMOA and their respective employees, consultants and members (i) make no representation or warranty, express or implied, of any kind with regard to such consultation, assistance or material including no representation or warranty of  suitability for any general or specific use; (ii) assume no liability or responsibility of any kind in connection  therewith; and (iii) disclaim any and all liability for any claim that arises therefrom. 

Copyright © 2023 IMOA International Molybdenum Association