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Physical Properties of Vitreous Enamel Steel

Design Versatility:
Architects and designers can incorporate vitreous enamel steel designs of almost any shape, within their designs.

Variety of Colours and Finishes:
Vitreous enamels can be coloured in a vast range of hues and shades. In cladding applications the surface generally has a high gloss finish, however, semi-gloss, silky matt or matt finishes can be produced. A large range of standard colours is complemented by the possibility of creating special colours for specific applications, and logos, designs, patterns and signage can be permanently incorporated into the surface.

Colour Fastness:
Enamel colours are unique in appearance (brilliance), fade proof, resistant to light, ultra violet (UV) radiation, industrial pollutants, salt sea air and hail.

Resistance to Corrosion:
The absence of a finite boundary layer between the vitreous enamel coating and the steel base and the fact that the steel is encapsulated in glass; ensure that potential damage to the steel is avoided and the structural integrity of the steel is therefore maintained. Panels do not corrode even in extreme marine conditions. See also Dielectric Properties.

Dielectric Properties:
Enamel has a high degree of electrical resistance and acts as an excellent insulator; especially at room temperature. The ability to prevent or block stray currents enhances the ability of the enamel coating to protect the steel from corrosion.

Due to the absence of pores, the smooth, hard enamel surface eliminates the absorption of dirt and grease, reduces the presence and growth of bacteria and mould, therefore creating a more hygienic and healthy environment. Independent comparative studies have shown that in this respect enamel outperforms other materials and coatings, including stainless steel. Enamel does not absorb or transmit odours or flavours.

Resistance to Abrasion:
The surface hardness is very similar to that of glass. Vitreous enamel, using Mohs' scale, has a rating between 5 (apatite) to 7 (quartz), on average around 6.7. On the same scale marble has a rating of 3 and diamonds of 10. This property allows the surface to resist mechanical abrasion and prevent scratching, either accidental or intentional.

Resistance to Vandalism, Impacts and Chemicals:
The extreme hardness of the surface makes it very difficult to permanently mark with knives, keys or screwdrivers. Enamel is resistant to most alkali, all acids (at room temperature) except hydrofluoric acid, all organic solvents, normal detergents (pH > 7), all neutral saline solutions (pH = 7) and is unaffected by kerosene. Graffiti applied by means of markers and pens can be cleaned off with the use of an appropriate detergent and water. Only impacts of a certain force will chip the enamel.

Heat and Fire Resistance:
Vitreous enamel steel is resistant to heat, naked flames or fire up to 650 ºC and continuous temperatures up to 400 ºC, vitreous enamel steel does not support the spread of flames or smoke (incombustible) and does not give off any toxic gasses.

Resistance to Thermal Shock:
Resistant to extreme temperature differentials of between 450 ºC to - 40 ºC, vitreous enamel steel can withstand rapid cooling, when drenched with water spray, from 400 ºC to room temperature over a 30 second period.

Vitreous enamel steel is impervious to attack and damage by rodents and insects.

Acoustic and Thermal Insulation:
Vitreous enamel's acoustic and thermal characteristics are dependant on both the type and nature of the core materials used. Specific performance requirements can be accommodated and should be addressed at the design stage.

Low Maintenance:
The surface requires very simple and periodical maintenance. Enamel is extremely easy to clean. Increases in the cost of labour make it a sound approach to make a slightly higher initial investment and then benefit from lower maintenance and refurbishment costs.

Green Issues, Environmental Care and Positive Approaches:
Vitreous Enamelled Steel is a recyclable material. We are conscious of minimising or eliminating the use of any lead and lead-compound elements in the formulation of our enamels. We segregate all scrap and waste materials for purposes of recycling. Following the ISO 9001:2000 accreditation for our Quality Management System, management is investigating the implementation of an accredited ISO 14001 Environmental Management system for the company.

Sustainability Input during and after Construction Phases:
Vitreous Enamel Steel has an extremely long working life (30+ years), extending the life span of the cladding and of the building and therefore reducing the need for refurbishment; Vitreous Enamel Steel requires minimum maintenance and is easily cleaned with very basic detergents without the need for strong chemicals.