Some theory about honey flow and honey extractors:
Honey is very viscous, or resistant to flow. Honey forms a thin film on the surfaces of the honey extractor and its gate, etc. (By the way, most stainless steel honey extractors have plastic honey gates.) In fluid flow dynamics, fluid particles closest to the surface flow the least; in theory, there is zero flow/ velocity of the fluid at the surface. This zero flow of fluid next to the surfaces of the extractor means: if there is contamination of the honey by leached substances, the contamination will stay in the thin film next to the surfaces. And when you wash the stainless steel extractor, the leached heavy metals, etc. will be in the wash water, not the honey you bottled. The same theory applies to plastic extractors. When using low viscosity fluids, like water and alcohol and solvents, the fluid layer next to the surfaces is replaced more often and leached substances from the surfaces can be carried more readily into the larger mixture. Theory indicates risk of leach contamination is less with high-viscosity fluids like honey.
(Honey flow velocity increases with distance from the surface; theoretical velocity at surface is zero.)
Facts about Stainless Steel:
Sometimes beekeepers buy stainless steel extractors because they think plastic is not safe and stainless steel is safe. Here are some diverse topics that you might consider if you are making a decision based solely on extractor material:
Here are the major elements in SS:
A research article: Leaching of heavy metals (Cr, Fe, and Ni) from stainless steel utensils in food simulants and food materials
Stainless steel carries health risks and so does plastic. Most people believe the risk is minimal or negligible for both. And concerning honey flavor, many people can't tell the difference between metal-processed honey and plastic-processed honey. In the end, a lot of it is stored and transported in plastic anyway.
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