Stainless steel ductwork may cost a little more than galvanized or aluminum but there are cases, both commercial and industrial, in which stainless steel is the best choice. More often these days, design engineers are requiring stainless steel ductwork in laboratories and research facilities due to the caustic or hazardous nature of the air being ventilated. Stainless steel’s extreme durability and longevity are among its cost saving benefits: it resists corrosion from harsh substances, such as salts used in food processing and can be used in both indoor and outdoor applications, providing years of use without necessitating replacement. Further, stainless steel has greater strength than aluminum with the added bonus of being abrasion resistant. Its rigidity makes it an excellent choice for moving high volumes of air. Using stainless steel can also reduce upfront costs – due to its high malleability, aluminum is a challenge to fabricate and install as ductwork and may require special welding techniques that often lead to prices higher than stainless.
Environmentally, stainless steel is the better choice because it resists moisture and condensation, both of which can lead to the accumulation of harmful mold or mildew. This is absolutely necessary in industries in which oil and other fine, “wet” mists are being drawn out of the air. Due to the high recycle/recapture rate, stainless steel is considered the “green” choice because you reduce energy consumption during production. And, stainless steel is 100% recyclable: it can be turned into new metal, either stainless or carbon steel, at an amazingly high rate. Keeping stainless steel out of landfills reduces the impact on natural resources.
Recycled stainless steel is used in the generation of solar, nuclear, geothermal, and wave power as well as the production of alternative energy equipment. It makes existing energy production technologies much cleaner; is used to store and transport potable water to minimize loss to the environment; to clean wastewater; in large public water and sewer treatment facilities; for small on-site water storage, treatment or filtration units that clean building waste and grey water so that potable water consumption is reduced; and as high reflective roof surfaces that reflect and dissipate heat so that air conditioning performs more effectively.
There are situations in which you would choose aluminum duct over stainless steel. In instances in which you need to cover exposed spiral duct; in applications in which you need a product with some flexibility to it; or as air duct in areas around indoor swimming pools or clean rooms in which industrial films are produced.
Let us know which application you require duct for, whether its oil or wet mist, dust, fumes, or exhaust. US Duct can help you decide whether stainless steel & galvanized ductwork, or aluminum is the best choice for your application and investment.