The Stainless Steel Research - Fontana

There are no more than 5 main materials commonly used in the fountain industry. One of them though, outstands: Stainless Steel. Fontana was the first company to introduce the extensive use of Stainless Steel in the construction of fountain components, nozzles and luminaires.

It took us time and effort to master the process of Stainless Steel but the remarkable advantages of this alloy in fountains definitely worth it. Stainless Steel is a unique alloy that allows for less material used in every product as it is exceptionally strong compared to its weight, it offers remarkable corrosion and impact resistance, it is beautiful and it offers significantly improved flow performance compared to competitive cast products.

We have developed specialized, in-house manufacturing techniques to process stainless steel and a series of cutting-edge technology machines like Laser cutters, CNCs, presses and welding machines are responsible for the flawless, made of stainless steel, Fontana fountain equipment.

So, Why Stainless Steel?

Stainless Steel in the Modern World

The most common materials used in the fountain industry:

Stainless Steel

Stainless Steel (also commonly referred to as “Inox”) is an alloy of the metal Iron, the metal Chromium (~11%) and some other metals in lower percentages. It is the chromium that makes Stainless Steel… Stainless. Chromium forms a very thin layer of 10-100nm on the surface of the steel, giving it exceptional corrosion, rusting and tarnishing resistance. The even more amazing effect is that in case of damage or impact, this layer is instantly reformed through a process called “Self-Passivation”, making Stainless Steel nearly impossible to rust or corrode.
Stainless Steel is considered to be the ultimate alloy by specialists and specifiers, and the reason of that is its extreme mechanical properties (112.000psi Transverse Rapture, 89.900psi Ultimate Tensile Strength) combined with the absolute corrosion resistance and the aesthetic appearance of it. In fountain industry, this alloy is the only option when seeking for quality, longevity, absolutely perfect performance, easy maintenance & cleaning while keeping the nearby environment clean and healthy (as it does not attract bacteria and algae nor corrodes).

A Little Bit of Science

Stainless steel was invented early in the 20th century when it was discovered that a certain amount of the metal chromium (usually a minimum of 11%) added to ordinary steel gave it a bright shiny gloss and made it highly resistant to tarnishing and rust.

This rust-resisting property which we call “corrosion resistance” is what sets stainless steel apart from most other forms of steel and alloys. The chromium content of the steel allows the formation of a rough, adherent, invisible, corrosion-resisting chromium oxide film on the steel surface.

If damaged mechanically or chemically, this film is rapidly self-healed through a process called “Self-Passivation”, making Stainless Steel nearly impossible to corrode or rust.

The Coarse Flow Phenomenon 
How tremendous amounts of energy are wasted due to imperfect nozzles.

A major performance killer of cast fountain nozzles is the bumpy inner surface which is responsible for the so-called Coarse Flow Phenomenon. Imagine water as myriads of little water particles coming into a nozzle, moving in one direction. The ones near the nozzle’s inner wall encounter tremendous friction and bounce on the small bumps. As a result, these particles are diverted and start hitting one another, diverting more and more water particles, leading to even more collisions and inevitably affect the overall flow performance of the nozzle. Fontana nozzles are made of pure stainless steel and are precisely manufactured to offer a frictionless, bump-less inner surface for water to flow and consequently Fontana nozzles provide significantly better flow performance compared to other cast nozzles. In other words, stainless steel nozzles require less powerful pumps to achieve the same water effect compared to inefficient cast bronze, brass or tombac ones.

Actual photo of the inner surface of a cast Cascade nozzle.

You can notice the bumpy surface that is held responsible for the water height loss and the overall inefficiency of cast nozzles.

Actual photo of the inner surface of a Fontana Cascade nozzle.

You can notice the smoother, cleaner surface. Water molecules flowing through this nozzle, face significantly less friction on their way compared to the bumpy surface of cast nozzles.

Comparison Charts

Stainless Steel

The “Greenest” Material

Stainless Steel’s superior mechanical properties and advantages definitely make it the “Value Option” as frequently mentioned by engineers and specialists, but its benefits go far beyond the obvious. The key-role for Stainless Steel being the most “green” material takes place long before the end-product. It all starts in the furnaces where Stainless Steel is melted and alloyed. These furnaces (or at least, the ones Fontana cooperates with) use state-of-the-art technology providing the best results with minimum power consumption, minimum air pollution and minimum waste. It is an important fact that Stainless Steel is 100% Recyclable. This means nothing goes unexploited. Every ounce of scrap, used or unused consumer products (of Stainless Steel) can and are recycled, resulting to resource minimization, since new resources are not needed as often to replace corroded or failed products. The recycled Stainless Steel is of the exact same quality as the original and is not “downgraded” as is the case with some other so-called recycled materials. Moreover, it is essential to appreciate that Stainless Steel fountain products do not affect by any means the water environment surrounding them like other materials and coatings, as they do not corrode nor stain. These facts certainly are of prime consideration when seeking respect to the environment.