Stainless Steel

Image result for Stainless steelStainless Steel

In metallurgy, stainless steel, also known as inox steel or inox from French “inoxydable”, is a steel alloy with a minimum of 10.5% chromium content by mass.

Stainless steel does not readily corrode, rust or stain with water as ordinary steel does. However, it is not fully stain-proof in low-oxygen, high-salinity, or poor air-circulation environments.There are different grades and surface finishes of stainless steel to suit the environment the alloy must endure. Stainless steel is used where both the properties of steel and corrosion resistance are required.

Stainless steel differs from carbon steel by the amount of chromium present. Unprotected carbon steel rusts readily when exposed to air and moisture. Thisiron oxide film (the rust) is active and accelerates corrosion by forming more iron oxide; and, because of the greater volume of the iron oxide, this tends to flake and fall away. Stainless steels contain sufficient chromium to form a passive film of chromium oxide, which prevents further surface corrosion by blocking oxygen diffusion to the steel surface and blocks corrosion from spreading into the metal’s internal structure, and, due to the similar size of the steel and oxide ions, they bond very strongly and remain attached to the surface.

Passivation occurs only if the proportion of chromium is high enough and oxygen is present.

What is stainless steel?

‘Stainless’ is a term coined early in the development of these steels for cutlery applications. It was adopted as a generic name for these steels and now covers a wide range of steel types and grades for corrosion or oxidation resistant applications.

Stainless steels are iron alloys with a minimum of 10.5% chromium. Other alloying elements are added to enhance their structure and properties such as formability, strength and cryogenic toughness. These include metals such as:

  • Nickel
  • Molybdenum
  • Titanium
  • Copper

Non-metal additions are also made, the main ones being:

  • Carbon
  • Nitrogen

The main requirement for stainless steels is that they should be corrosion resistant for a specified application or environment. The selection of a particular “type” and “grade” of stainless steel must initially meet the corrosion resistance requirements. Additional mechanical or physical properties may also need to be considered to achieve the overall service performance requirements.

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