Ladder Fabrication Materials Explained
Here at Safety Fabrications we offer our products in a range of materials with optional finishes. All of our products are fabricated in accordance with BS EN ISO 3834-2:2005 and BS EN 1090-2:2008. Each item also carries the CE marking that demonstrates that they meet European Union health, safety and environmental standards. We’re taking a look today at the different materials that our products are made from – mild steel, stainless steel and aluminium.
Mild steel is also known as low carbon steel or plain carbon steel and is the most common form of steel due to its relatively low price. However, its material properties are acceptable for many applications (more so than iron) and it is malleable and ductile. It has a relatively low tensile strength but its surface hardness can be increased through carburizing. Mild steel is often used when large quantities of steel are needed for example as structural steel. Mild steel contains less carbon than other steels and is easier to cold form and handle. Mild steel can be case hardened which hardens the exterior part of the steel, creating a hard, wear resistant skin.
Stainless steel (also known as inox steel from French “inoxydable”) is a steel alloy with a minimum of 10.5% chromium content by mass. It differs from carbon steel (or mild steel) by the amount of chromium present. Stainless steel comes in different grades and surface finishes to suit the environment the alloy will need to endure. It contains sufficient chromium to form a passive film of chromium oxide which prevents surface corrosion by blocking oxygen diffusion to the steel surface. This prevents corrosion from spreading into the metal’s internal structure. There are more than 150 grades of stainless steel but only 15 of these are in common use. Because of its strength and durability, stainless steel is often used in architectural construction projects such as bridges and buildings. Stainless steel increased in popularity during the art deco period with the most famous example being the upper portion of the Chrysler Building in New York.
Aluminium is a chemical element in the boron group – it’s a silvery white, soft, ductile metal and is the third most abundant elements in the Earth’s crust. Aluminium is remarkable for its low density and its ability to resist corrosion. It is non magnetic and does not ignite easily. It has about one third of the density and stiffness of steel and can be easily machined, cast and extruded. Aluminium is a good thermal and electrical conductor and is capable of being a super conductor. Corrosion resistance is considered excellent due to a thin surface layer of aluminium oxide that is formed when the metal is exposed to air. Theoretically, aluminium is 100% recyclable without any loss of its natural qualities. Aluminium is usually alloyed to improve its mechanical properties.