Starting off strong for this Tech Tuesday!
316 Stainless Steel: Why do we use it? Why not 304 stainless or aluminum?
The simple answer is: Strength * Durability * Corrosion Resistance
The key difference with 316 stainless is the addition of molybdenum, an alloy which drastically enhances corrosion resistance, especially for more saline or chloride exposed environments.
316 is durable, easy-to-fabricate, clean, weld and finish. It is considerably more resistant to solutions of sulfuric acid, chlorides, bromides, iodides and fatty acids at high temperature.
It is the preferred steel for use in marine environments because of its greater resistance to pitting corrosion than other grades of steel without molybdenum. The fact that it is negligibly responsive to magnetic fields means that it can be used in applications where a non-magnetic metal is required. It yields high creep strength at elevated temperatures and good heat resistance. Fabrication characteristics are similar to 302 and 304 Stainless Steel yet has superior corrosion resistance.
So why not 304 Stainless? While it has excellent resistance to a wide range of atmospheric environments and many corrosive media, it is subject to pitting and crevice corrosion in warm chloride environments and to stress corrosion cracking above about 60 °C. It is also very sensitive at room temperature to the thiosulfate anions released by the oxidation of pyrite (as encountered in acid mine drainage) and can undergo severe pitting corrosion problems when in close contact with pyrite- or sulfide-rich clay materials exposed to oxidation. *
And why not Aluminum for our bases and mounts? Well, corrosion concerns are an issue for our customers in various parts the world. They are subjected to harsh elements and we know they need a product that will not cloud or degrade. Aluminum lacks in strength and corrodes quicker. The base and the mount of the Whip must be strong enough to endure high speeds, along with impact and environmental influences.
Industrial applications, like mining and construction sites, must have a product that can stand up in the heat, cold, salt, chemicals and grime. The safety of their team members and equipment is imperative, as the sites have massively large vehicles that are continually on the move.
Race cars exceed speeds of 150 mph. Our safety antennas must stand up to keep them visible in the dust. The pit crews need to be able to see their driver. The driver must be able to locate their pit. Races that continue throughout the night, like the Baja 500 and Baja 1000, have proven the need for safety visibility. Our race teams put their trust in our components.
We choose 316 Stainless Steel because of its strength and necessary properties for various applications. When your job depends upon safety, you need the best of the best!
*explanation borrowed from Wikipedia
Buggy Whip product photo credit: LA Horstman