Why choose stainless steel for bridges?
High strength allowing low weight designs
Demands on bridges can vary immensely. Outokumpu’s Forta duplex stainless steel is suitable for all types of bridges from pedestrian to heavy load road and rail bridges. Often, outstanding strength correlates with increased weight, but duplex stainless steel enables lightweight bridge design without compromising on strength or safety. The high strength allows less material to be used, reducing the weight of the bridge.
Superior corrosion resistance
From harsh cold climates to coastal areas, bridges need to withstand all types of weather and other corrosive elements. De-icing salts used in cold and icy conditions, salty air in coastal areas and pollutants such as sulphur dioxide pose significant threats to the long-term integrity of bridges. Stainless steel stands up to salty air and pollutants without the need for a protective coating. It offers unbeatable durability where other materials might require frequent maintenance or risk of structural failure.
Excellent ductility, formability and weldability to fit any design
Stainless steel enables attractive designs that seamlessly blend in with contemporary urban environments as well as historic settings. Structural engineers and architects have turned to stainless steel as a durable and visually striking alternative to traditional carbon steel. Since Forta Duplex stainless steel offers an attractive combination of high strength, ductility, formability and weldability, it is ideal for lightweight structures with aesthetic designs.
The most durable and cost-effective option
Stainless steel does not only have to be perceived as a premium material, but it can bring significant savings in overall lifecycle costs. In fact, based on a study conducted by Arup, lean duplex stainless steel in a composite steel-concrete bridge offered the lowest LCC for bridges over minor or major roads, marine and railway bridges. Especially for bridges in corrosive environments, maintenance budgets can overshadow the original capital cost. Designed to last for over 100 years, the right grade of stainless steel will provide a lower cost option than using carbon steel due to savings in maintenance, repainting and repairs. The high strength of duplex stainless steel can also lead to material savings. It allows designers to reduce the weight of the structure, which saves material, transportation and installation costs.
The sustainable choice
Not only does stainless steel enable long-lasting designs, it is also 100% recyclable once the structure has reached the end of its service life. Stainless steel does not require coating nor frequent repainting and maintenance that can be disruptive to users and damaging to the environment. Additionally, modular design of stainless steel bridges allows a high degree of prefabrication, which minimizes the environmental impact on site as a large part of the production can take place in a controlled and safe environment. In our world today, it is not sustainable to continue spending money on bridges that have high maintenance costs. Stainless steel is the environmentally friendly choice for modern bridges and Outokumpu is the most sustainable supplier of stainless steel.