Stainless steel applications are gradually expanding.During the period 1960 – 1999 about 40 years, the production of stainless steel in Western countries jumped from 2.15 million tons to 17.28 million tons, an increase of about 8 times, with an average annual growth rate of about 5.5%. Stainless steel is mainly used in the kitchen, home appliances, transportation, construction, civil engineering fields. In the kitchen appliances are mainly sinks and electrical and gas water heaters, home appliances are mainly automatic washing machine drums. From the point of view of energy saving and recycling and other environmental protection, the demand for stainless steel is expected to expand further.
In the transport sector there are mainly exhaust systems for railway vehicles and cars, the stainless steel used for exhaust systems is about 20-30 kg in each vehicle and the annual demand worldwide is about 1 million tonnes, which is the largest application area for stainless steel.
In the construction sector, demand has recently increased dramatically, for example: the protection of the Singapore underground stations, using about 5,000 tons of stainless steel exterior decorative material. Then in Japan after 1980, stainless steel for the construction industry has grown by about four times, mainly used as roofing, building interior and exterior decoration and structural materials. 80s, in coastal areas of Japan using 304-type unpainted material as roofing materials, from rust considerations, gradually transformed into the use of painted stainless steel. In the 1990s, the development of a high corrosion resistance of more than 20% high Cr ferritic stainless steel, is used as a roofing material, while for aesthetic purposes, the development of a variety of surface finishing technology.
In the civil engineering sector, stainless steel is used for dam suction towers in Japan. Cold areas in Europe and America, to prevent the freezing of highways and bridges need to be salted, which accelerates the corrosion of steel reinforcement, so the use of stainless steel reinforcement. In North America’s roads, in the last three years about 40 places have used stainless steel reinforcement, the use of 200-1000 tons per place, the future of stainless steel in this area of the market will make a difference.
With regard to environmental protection, firstly, from the point of view of atmospheric protection, the demand for heat-resistant and high-temperature corrosion-resistant stainless steel will expand for high-temperature waste incineration units, LNG power generation units and high-efficiency power generation units using coal, which are used to suppress the occurrence of dioxins. It is also estimated that in the early 21st century will be put into practical application of the fuel cell car battery housing will also use stainless steel. From the point of view of water quality and environmental protection, in water supply and drainage treatment devices, stainless steel with excellent corrosion resistance will also expand demand.
the use of stainless steel is increasing in bridges, motorways, tunnels and other facilities already in Europe, and it is expected that this trend will spread throughout the world. There is also a particularly short life span of 20-30 years for general residential buildings in Japan, and disposal of waste material has become a major problem. Recently, buildings with a life expectancy of 100 years have begun to appear, so the demand for materials with excellent durability will grow. From an environmental point of view, it is necessary to explore ways to reduce maintenance costs from the design stage, when new concepts are introduced, while reducing civil engineering and building waste materials for a long life.
With regard to the popularity of IT, functional materials play a large role in the development and popularity of IT in terms of equipment hardware, and there is a great demand for high precision and functional materials. For example, in mobile phones and microcomputer components, the flexible application of high strength, elasticity and non-magnetic properties of stainless steel, making the expansion of stainless steel applications. There are also in the semiconductor and various substrate manufacturing equipment, with good cleanliness and durability of stainless steel plays an important role.
Stainless steel has many excellent properties not found in other metals and is a material with excellent durability and recyclability, and will be used in a wide range of applications in the future in response to changing times.