Why Stainless Steel Shims are Your Best Bet
Shims are available in a wide selection of materials, from brass and copper, to PTFE and even paper. They are a thin strip of material often used for aligning parts to make them fit. Shims are also great for reducing wear. But why choose stainless steel? Depending on the type of project you are working on, stainless steel may be the best option for several reasons.
About Stainless Steel
First, a quick introduction is in order. In a nutshell, stainless steel is the name given to a family of special-grade steel alloys that contain a minimum of 10.5% chromium. Stainless steels are categorized into 5 different compositions based on their microstructure. Here at Phoenix Specialty Manufacturing, we carry a wide range of the popular 300 series grades (austenitic) and 400-430 series (martensitic).
Less Wear and Tear
There are several perks to choosing stainless steel shims. One is the fact that stainless steel does not easily corrode or rust. The alloying elements in stainless steel react with oxygen from water and air to create a thin but stable film that consists of corrosion products like metal oxides and hydroxides. This film then acts as a barrier against attacks by surface corrosion.
Also, stainless steel is oftentimes more durable than other metals. With brass shims, for example, the metal is a copper-zinc alloy which is softer and may dent and scratch over time. This would be a poor option in the building industry, where small details like stainless steel shims make a huge difference in the end result. Brass and other metals are also more susceptible to tarnishing and water stains, whereas stainless steel maintains an eye-catching, aesthetic appeal, making it a popular choice. Buildings such as the famous Petronas Twin Towers and the Chrysler Building have a lasting, stainless steel surface finish to give that enticing shine.
Stainless Steel in the Industries
High-strength stainless steel is increasingly popular for use in the aerospace industry. It’s resistance to corrosion is of paramount importance. In order to keep an aircraft flying for 30 or more years in harsh aerospace environments, it is crucial that high-strength stainless steel be used with landing gear hardware, wing assemblies, and more. Something as simple as a stainless steel shim placed where the torque links couple in a shock strut aircraft will make all the difference in the world.
And in the auto industry, shims are used for a variety of needs. For example, a shim can be inserted between the car axle and the wheel hub to correct an alignment issue. This will push the hub and wheel forward to correct any metal breakdown caused by age. It may be tempting to use a cheaper, plastic shim here, but rest assured it will wear out over time due to the friction. However, a stainless steel shim, like the ones we offer at Phoenix Specialty Manufacturing, will withstand common wear and tear. Also, should you ever decide to change the suspension track, the stainless steel shim can be removed and cleaned and used in another vehicle.
Stainless Steel Is Eco-Friendly
Stainless steel is 100% recyclable. You can feel good knowing that in using stainless steel, you are supporting a healthy environment. It’s made from 60% recycled content, and when a product reaches the end of its long life, it can be recycled for many years to come. Its main alloying elements—chromium, molybdenum and nickel—retain their value and can be separated from the other materials and re-used over and over again.
Here at Phoenix, we are committed to providing you with quality, American-made products in a snap. With over 400 million parts ready for same day shipping, we can quickly get you your much-needed shims. We are proud to say that we have the largest inventory of finished goods in the industry. And if we don’t have what you’re looking for, we can create a custom piece for you and have it shipped typically within 2 weeks—the fastest delivery time available in the industry.
Stainless steel is a high-quality alloy. Its durability, resistance to corrosion, and environmentally friendly properties make it a premier choice when it comes to giving a project that professional, custom fit.
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