Weathering Steel, Preweathered
Solanum Steel is a pre-oxidized weathering steel surface developed by Zahner. The surface is produced by accelerating the natural weathering process and stabilizing the result. Solanum Steel provides artists, architects and designers with a range of resonant tones on an enduring surface.
One of the well recognized challenges of using steel in architecture is its propensity for the material to rust or oxidize. Although there are many people who appreciate the visual nature of the warm hues of weathering steel, nobody likes it when the material's color bleeds onto other surfaces. The Solanum Steel process reduces the material's tendency to stain adjacent surfaces.
Solanum Steel: The next stage of Weathering Steel
The innovation of adding copper to the steel alloy was the first step towards resolving this challenge. Copper-bearing steel, also known as weathering steel or CORTEN, has a unique design feature. As the material oxidizes, the oxidized layer becomes a protective layer, meaning that the surface won't corrode further. The problem is that manufacturers sell the sheet as a bare surface, and to get the material to a stable state where its no longer rusting will take many years.
This final challenge is what Solanum Steel has achieved, by bringing the natural weathering steel alloy into an insoluble and stable state. Solanum Steel provides a preweathered surface made by using an industrial process to limit bleeding onto adjacent surfaces.
Sealing Solanum Steel
In some circumstances, the Solanum Steel material can be sealed. This is often desired for trafficked environments where people will touch the surface. For interior applications of Solanum Steel, the material can be sealed with a clear coating to provide a softer touch.
However, for exterior applications, it is recommended to leave the material unsealed. Sealing is not recommended for outdoor applications because the coating will require further maintenance over time, and may change appearance as the sealant interacts with the changing environmental conditions.