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Product Information

 

What is 316L Stainless Steel ?

 

316L stainless steel is a type of stainless steel that is highly popular and widely used in various industries due to its exceptional properties. The "L" in 316L stands for "low carbon," indicating that this particular grade of stainless steel contains a lower carbon content compared to other variants.

Key characteristics of 316L stainless steel include:

  • Corrosion Resistance:

316L stainless steel offers excellent resistance to corrosion and oxidation, making it suitable for use      in various environments, including marine and industrial settings. This resistance is due to the presence of chromium, which forms a protective layer on the surface of the steel, known as a passive film.

  • High Strength: 

It has good tensile strength and retains its mechanical properties even at elevated temperatures.

  • Low Carbon Content: 

The low carbon content in 316L stainless steel helps prevent carbide precipitation, which can occur in high-carbon stainless steels, leading to reduced corrosion resistance in certain conditions.

  • Biocompatibility: 

Because of its low carbon content and excellent corrosion resistance, 316L stainless steel is often used in medical implants and surgical instruments, as it is biocompatible and less likely to cause adverse reactions in the body.

  • Aesthetic Appeal: 

316L stainless steel is known for its attractive appearance and is commonly used in jewellery and watches due to its lustre and durability.

 

Due to its wide range of benefits, 316L stainless steel is employed in various applications, such as:

  • Medical and surgical instruments

  • Marine equipment

  • Chemical processing equipment

  • Jewellery and watches

  • Food processing equipment

  • Aerospace components

  • Pharmaceutical equipment

  • Architectural applications

 

Why use 316L for the Jewellery ?

Overall, 316L stainless steel is a versatile and reliable material that is favoured for its corrosion resistance, strength, and aesthetic appeal in numerous industries and everyday products.

316L is a type of stainless steel commonly used in jewellery making. It is preferred for various reasons:

  • Corrosion resistance:

316L stainless steel contains molybdenum, which enhances its corrosion resistance. This makes it highly resistant to rust, tarnish, and discoluration, making it suitable for long-term wear and exposure to various environments.

  • Durability:

Stainless steel, including 316L, is known for its strength and durability. It is more robust than many other materials used in jewellery, such as silver or gold, making it less prone to scratches, dents, or deformation.

  • Hypoallergenic:

316L stainless steel is hypoallergenic, which means it is unlikely to cause allergic reactions or skin irritations, making it a safe choice for people with sensitive skin or metal allergies.

  • Cost-effective:

Compared to precious metals like gold or platinum, stainless steel is more affordable, allowing jewellery makers to offer stylish and durable pieces at a more accessible price point.

  • Design versatility:

Stainless steel is easily malleable, allowing jewelry designers to create intricate and complex designs. It can also be plated or coated with various finishes to achieve different looks, further expanding its design possibilities.

  • Low maintenance:

Stainless steel jewellery is relatively low maintenance, requiring minimal cleaning and care to maintain its appearance and integrity.

  • Eco-friendly:

Choosing stainless steel for jewellery over materials like gold or silver can be considered more environmentally friendly, as it is a highly recyclable material.

It's essential to note that while 316L stainless steel has many advantages for jewellery, personal preferences and style choices play a significant role in the selection of materials for jewellery pieces. Some people may prefer precious metals for their value and aesthetic appeal, while others may appreciate the practicality and modern look of stainless steel.

Can 316L Stainless Steel be different colours?

316L stainless steel can be modified to have different colours through various processes. The most common methods to achieve different colours on stainless steel jewellery include:

  • Physical Vapour Deposition (PVD) Coating:

PVD is a process where a thin layer of metal or metal compounds is deposited onto the stainless steel surface using a vacuum chamber. This method allows for a range of colours, including gold, rose gold, black, blue, and more. The coating is durable and adds an extra layer of protection to the jewellery.

  • Ion Plating:

Ion plating is another technique that can deposit various metal coatings onto the stainless steel surface. It produces a thin, durable layer of metal that can achieve different colours and finishes.

  • Anodising:

Anodising is a surface treatment that creates a protective oxide layer on the stainless steel, which can be dyed to produce different colours. It is commonly used to achieve vibrant colours like blue, green, and purple.

  • Physical Colouring:

Some manufacturers use heat and other chemical processes to create an oxide layer on the stainless steel's surface, resulting in colours like bronze or black.

It's important to note that while these processes can create various colours on the surface of the stainless steel, the base metal will still be 316L stainless steel with its inherent properties. The coloured coatings can add visual appeal and versatility to the jewellery without compromising the material's durability or hypoallergenic properties. Custom Kool Gifts will ensure that the coloured coatings are well-bonded to the stainless steel to minimise fading or chipping.

What is PVD coating in stainless steel ?

PVD (Physical Vapour Deposition) coating is a thin film deposition process used to apply a decorative or functional coating to stainless steel and various other materials. It is a popular method for enhancing the surface properties of stainless steel, providing it with improved durability, wear resistance, and aesthetic appeal.

During the PVD coating process, the stainless steel object is placed in a vacuum chamber, and a solid coating material, typically in the form of a target or evaporated material, is vaporised and ionised within the chamber. This creates a plasma of highly energised particles. These energised particles then condense and adhere to the surface of the stainless steel object, forming a thin, durable coating.

Common coating materials used in PVD coating of stainless steel include titanium nitride (TiN), titanium carbon nitride (TiCN), titanium aluminium nitride (TiAlN), chromium nitride (CrN), and zirconium nitride (ZrN), among others. Each coating material imparts specific properties to the stainless steel, such as hardness, corrosion resistance, and colour.

Benefits of PVD coating in stainless steel include:

  • Enhanced Hardness and Wear Resistance: PVD coatings can significantly increase the surface hardness of stainless steel, making it more resistant to wear, abrasion, and scratches.

  • Corrosion Resistance: PVD coatings can improve the stainless steel's natural corrosion resistance, making it more durable and suitable for use in harsh environments.

  • Aesthetic Appeal: PVD coatings allow for a wide range of colours and finishes, giving stainless steel products a decorative and attractive appearance.

  • Chemical and Thermal Stability: PVD coatings maintain their properties even under high-temperature and chemically aggressive conditions.

  • Biocompatibility: Depending on the coating material, PVD-coated stainless steel can retain its biocompatibility, making it suitable for medical and surgical applications.

Applications of PVD-coated stainless steel include:

  • Decorative hardware, such as door handles, faucets, and bathroom fixtures.

  • Architectural applications, including building facades and interior design elements.

  • Watch and jewellery industry for coloured and scratch-resistant coatings.

  • Medical instruments and implants.

  • CuPVD coating is a versatile technology that allows for the customisation of stainless steel surfaces to meet specific requirements, making it a popular choice in various industries where improved surface properties and aesthetics are desired.

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