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Thread: Stainless Steel and Heat

  1. #1 Stainless Steel and Heat 
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    Hello,
    I use a herbal vaporizer with a 316 stainless steel screen which the manufacturer says to be inert up to 800F. This screen often needs replacement, and the replacement screens which I find in local shops do not specify which alloy of stainless steel they are. The temperature of this herbal vaporizer will definitely stay below 500F. Can I assume that any type of stainless steel screen I purchase will be inert up to 500F? I appreciate your help.


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  3. #2  
    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
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    Cutlery steel is type 304 usually. 304 or 316 will not be affected by heat in air up to 800F. However, the chemicals you are vaporizing might have some effect. Unless it's an inhibited or low carbon grade chlorides will attack both types.


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  4. #3  
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    I do not think it is inhibited or low carbon grade steel, but if i understood correctly you are saying chloride is the only likely way the steel will react? Am I safe in assuming that any small amount of chloride that might be present in the vapor stream will create insignificant toxic fumes when pulled through the steel screen?
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  5. #4  
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    well now I am wondering if the stainless steel cookware (or any metal for that matter) most people use gives off toxic fumes when heated over a fire (which I am pretty sure is above 800F). In fact, come to think of it, the intake of the vaporizer I use is stainless steel and it is exposed to a flame as well, will it give off toxic fumes after touching a heat source above 800F or does the relative thickness (vs the metal screen) increase its resistance to corrosion? Any ideas?
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  6. #5  
    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
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    I didn't say anything about toxic fumes - where are you getting that from? Stainless steels can be subject to pitting and stress corrosion cracking in the presence of chlorides. This is unlikely to be a problem for you. I would be more concerned about the fumes from whatever it is you are vaporizing.
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  7. #6  
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    By toxic fumes I guess I meant whatever byproduct might be produced by an oxidizing steel that might enter the vapor stream.

    I was told by the manufacturer that although the heat source is indeed above 800F the metal intake itself will never get that hot. That seems to make sense but my scientifically uneducated mind seems to think that at least some of the surface of the stainless steel may transiently get that hot, i guess not because the heat would distribute too fast for even that to happen.

    here is an image of the vaporizer so my questions can be better understood.

    (alt+p)

    Does the chloride need to be in an aqueous solution to corrode the screen. If so then I dont believe that condition is met in this situation.

    Please correct me where I am wrong.

    Thanks again
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  8. #7  
    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
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    Water is not necessary, but I wouldn't worry. The piece looks to be small and cheap and easily replceable. Presumably you have to replace it because it becomes plugged with some of the crud that doesn't go into your lungs.
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  9. #8  
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    Chlorine is most likely present in plant material, so in the case that it might actually oxidize the metal screen will any amount of chromium VI or anything like that enter my lungs, or will the screen simply react without contributing to the vapors toxicity.

    Thanks for reasoning this out with me Bunbury, I know its kind of trivial.
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  10. #9  
    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
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    I believe that when pitting of stainless steels occurs it is the iron that is lost as a corrosion product, not the chromium or the nickel.
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  11. #10  
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    I see, but is the corrosion product bound to the metal screen or is it possible it would fall off and enter my lungs through the vapor stream?
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  12. #11  
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    Everybody needs iron. I really wouldn't worry about it. As I said before, if it was me I'd be far more concerned with the fumes from whatever it is you're smoking.
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