On carbon vs. stainless steel in grills


A few days ago I asked about use of stainless steel in grills and barbeques. A common theme, mentioned by several people, was that a grill is a terribly corrosive environment because of heat, salt, acid and condensation, all combining to ruin any ferrous metal. They said that even stainless would rust.
This is a followup to that discussion. I found replacement parts for my grill (cast iron burners and stainless flame tamers, to replace ceramic flame tamers).
While replacing the old parts, I noticed that the stainless parts, in close proximity to carbon steel parts, DID NOT RUST AT ALL. At worst they were "discolored" after 8 years in the grill, if that, but had essentially no rust or pitting. All the while, the old burners completely rotted out and resembed a pile or rust flakes more than a solid piece of metal. Some fell apart when lifted out of the grill. The stainless pieces, however, looked almost like new.
So it is not true to say that stainless steel rusts in grills, it essentially does not.
i
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Similar story... I asked about passivating an SS weldament to be used for a chum ladle (chum is ground up fish bait) The consensus was no way could you prevent rusting in this application. Well, for at least one year of use, no rust at all. SS is good stuff Maynard!
Karl
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Yes, Sir, indeed stainless is good stuff.
i
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"Ignoramus17356" wrote: Yes, Sir, indeed stainless is good stuff. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ A rose is a rose is a rose--but stainless comes in a variety of alloys. From your experience, some are good in the barbecue, but others may not be.
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It looks like my barbecue is using the particular alloy that is good in barbecues.
i
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On Tue, 06 Apr 2010 14:08:19 -0500, Ignoramus17356

When I bought my grill, I used the "magnet test for stainless steel" * The magnet did not stick to the grill grates and have not rusted in the five years I've had it.
"If the magnet sticks, don't buy it."
http://bbq.about.com/od/gasgrills/a/aa052706a.htm
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Try walking through the IKEA kitchen section with a small magnet. Amazing how much of their "stainless steel" is magnetic. Surprised the hell out of me when I first noticed it.
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Many types of SS (I believe "alloy" is a word used in "castings") are good quality even if magnetic. It depends on the amount of chromium used. And IIRC, the non-magnetic is nickel stainless.
bob
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wrote:

Many types of SS (I believe "alloy" is a word used in "castings") are good quality even if magnetic. It depends on the amount of chromium used. And IIRC, the non-magnetic is nickel stainless.
bob
Isn't really the symmetry of the crystalline structure of the metal grains involved in whether the stuff is magnetic or not? The hexagonal symmetry grains being magnetic.
Fran
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It's something like that. The 300-series stainless steels are nonmagnetic, BUT that's by an 'as annealed' test; once you whack it with a hammer, the strained parts can magnetize.
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A single sample cannot be considered representative.
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I did some reading on the subject of stainless steel in grills: it seems that the cheap manufacturers use low grade and essentially inappropriate steels that they call "stainless", but which do rust in grills after the return period runs out.
Apparently, my grill is mostly made of proper stainless. It is not fully stainless, however, and there are iron screws in it that have rotted, as well as a few other minor pieces. This is a Sam's Club "Members Mark" grill.
i
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wrote:

use charcoal and it gets wet when it rains can't say I notice any corrosion on anything but the Weber plated steel round thing you put the food on. The only welding related thing is attaching a rotisserie device and then modifying the rotisserie basket to fit in the keg.
Fran
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I think cast iron has some qualities that make it better for cooking. From the experience I have had with mine the cast iron is going to last forever as long as I keep it properly seasoned and maintained. I have overheated mine a couple of times and this ruins the seasoning and it must be re-accomplished. I do this by oiling them up and baking them in the oven. I clean them using oven cleaner and a SS brush. Super heating them by turning up the gas ruins them although cleaning them in a self cleaning oven works well without ruining the seasoning provided they are removed from the oven as soon as the cycle is over and oiled. Jimmie
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Right, "stainless steel" is a broad and non technical term. It comes in many different alloys for different applications. A magnet isn't an accurate gage for determining the quality of a particular alloy for a particular application. I've installed hundreds of tons of stainless alloys that were magnetic (and incredibly expensive) that are now at the bottom of lakes. On intake structures for hydro plants. What's commonly called stainless is a large and somewhat complex field and you really can't boil it down into a small book.
JTMcC
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Given the proximity of the rusting carbon steel, wouldn't that provide some measure of cathodic protection?
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