Stainless steel is an expensive but popular choice for cleanroom equipment due to its durability, strength, and excellent chemical resistance. Modular cleanrooms can also be constructed of stainless steel but it is very expensive so less common. Another application of stainless steel cleanrooms is for radiation cleanrooms.
Examples of common stainless steel cleanroom equipment include cleanroom sinks, cleanroom tables, cleanroom chemical benches, and cleanroom laminar flow benches.
What is stainless steel?
Stainless steel is defined as steel with at least 10.5% chromium. It may also have other alloying ingredients like molybdenum, nickel, titanium, aluminum, copper, nitrogen, phosphorous or selenium.
Most stainless steel is Grade 304. It has excellent corrosion resistance, strength, and is easy to clean. 304 grade stainless steel is often compared to that of glass – it has no pores or cracks that might collect dirt, grime, or bacteria, and it can often be cleaned with soap and water, then disinfected. However, it can still rust if exposed to high humidity or salt water. It is 4x-5x more expensive than galvanized steel and is difficult to cut or weld.
Grade 316 stainless steel offers significantly better corrosion resistance to chlorides and acids than grade 304 stainless steel. It contains molybdenum and is more expensive than Grade 304 stainless steel.
For equipment going into cleanrooms for food or nutraceutical production stainless steel equipment is very common. The equipment must be certified by the NSF (National Sanitation Foundation) that food processing equipment is hygienically designed so it easily cleaned, does not difficult to clean areas and is constructed of material that will not leach into the food. Stainless steel is an excellent material choice to meet these requirements.
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