If you have visited the Material page on our website, you may have noticed that we describe 302/304 and 316 stainless material as having “good corrosion resistance.” Conversely, we describe galvanized material as having “minimal corrosion resistance.” While we have already compared the differences between stainless steel and galvanized steel when selecting the proper material for your aircraft cable, we would like to use this blog to discuss the importance of corrosion resistance, and help you determine whether a corrosion resistant cable is right for your application.
Corrosion is created when moisture and oxygen in the air react with the iron content in metal, forming a flaky red texture commonly known as rust. Cable that is used outdoors is significantly more likely to corrode than cable that is protected indoors, and catalysts such as salt and acid expedite the process further. With time, rust creates weak spots in the cable, reducing its overall breaking strength and putting it at risk for premature, and even unexpected failure. If corrosion prevention is one of your primary concerns when specifying an aircraft cable, we recommend using a stainless steel option, such as 302/304 or 316.
As its name implies, stainless steel does not rust or discolor like regular steel. It is protected by a thin layer of chromium oxide that shields the material from water and oxygen and protects it from the elements. 302/304 stainless steel is one of the most common grades of stainless steel, but it is marginally less corrosive resistant than 316. 316 stainless steel features the addition of molybdenum, which reduces pitting caused by chemical exposure or other harsh environmental factors, such as salt. Galvanized steel, which is zinc coated carbon steel, offers minimal corrosion resistance compared to the aforementioned stainless options. However, if your application does not require extra protection, galvanized steel may be a sufficient alternative for you.
Our wire rope craftsmen are always available to help you choose the most effective material for your application. Visit https://strandcore.com/resources/materials/ for our full range of options, or contact us today for more information.