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Wire Types

Carbon Steel vs. Stainless Steel
Stainless Steel Wire Brushes

There is an increasing need for stainless steel wire brushes in a variety of industries, such as the nuclear, aircraft, electronics, chemical, shipbuilding and missile industries.

The Radnor line of stainless steel brushes is made using Type 302 stainless steel wire. This wire was developed to provide long brush life and corrosion resistance. Using a stainless steel brush when brushing aluminum, stainless steel and other high strength alloys eliminates the danger of “after rust”. When these alloys are brushed with carbon steel wire, a deposit of carbon material remains which can cause rust. Type 302 stainless steel brush wire is austenitic.

Once a stainless steel brush has been used on carbon steel, it should never be used on stainless steel since rusting can occur. To avoid contamination, all stainless brushes should be stored away from areas (such as steel work benches) where carbon steel particles might come in contact with the brush. It is recommended that a stainless steel surface be passivated with a solution of 10-20% nitric acid after brushing to ensure its resistance to corrosion.

Most stainless steel types look alike. How can you determine whether or not you really have Type 302 stainless steel wire in your brush? Stainless steel wire has magnetic properties as a result of the wire drawing process. Type 302 stainless steel will lose its magnetic properties if a wire strand is heated red with a match. If the wire strand retains its magnetic properties after heating, it is not Type 302.

Care of Stainless Steel Wire Brushes

For critical operations, stainless steel wire brushes should be degreased before beginning the operation. Brushes that are stored after use should also be degreased and stored in plastic wrapping. If stored unprotected for any length of time, the brush could collect foreign matter due to its magnetic properties and leave “after rust” when reused.

Wire Type Composition Feature
Carbon Steel Hard Drawn Wire Excellent Cutting Action, Good Fatigue Resistance
Stainless Steel Type 302 Stainless Steel Wire Eliminates the Danger of "After Rust" When Brushing Aluminum Stainless & Alloys

It is recommended to use:

Very Fine to Fine Wire for light-duty applications.
Medium to Coarse Wire for heavy-duty applications.
To maximize brush life, always use the finest wire which will accomplish the job.

Wire Coarse Medium to Coarse Medium Fine Very Fine
Gauge 20/24 25/30 330/34 35/38 43/47
Diameter(Inches) .035/.023 .020/.014 .0118/.0104 .0095/.008 .006/.005

Wire sizes in decimals of an inch are shown in all tables.

Tool Icons

These icons illustrate some of the common power tools that can be used to drive Radnor® brushes. Many of these products can also be used on other types of tools and machines.

Wire Brushes Page 3