What’s Stainless Steel?

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Stainless steel is a corrosion-resistant material made with chromium and other elements. It has four main types, including austenitic, ferritic, martensitic, and duplex steel, with various properties for different applications. Stainless steel is durable, low-maintenance, and recyclable.

Stainless steel is the universal name for a number of different steels mainly used for their anti-corrosion element. This steel was developed to withstand a variety of corrosive environments. It ensures our workplaces are safe, buildings last longer and our food preparation surfaces are hygienic. It is also an earth friendly material; it can be melted down, recycled and made into something else.

Stainless steel is always made using chromium. The minimum amount of chromium used is 10.5%; it is the chromium that makes the stainless steel. Chromium also improves corrosion resistance by forming a chromium oxide film on the steel. This very thin layer, if placed in the right conditions, can also be self-healing.

There are other elements used to make this steel as well, including nickel, nitrogen, and molybdenum. The union of these elements forms different crystalline structures that allow for a variety of properties in machining, welding and forming.

There are four main types of stainless steel. Of these, austenitic is the most widely used type. It has a nickel content of at least 7%, making it very flexible. It is used in a range of household products, industrial piping and vessels, building structures and architectural facades.

Ferritic stainless steel has similar properties to mild steel, but better corrosion resistance. This type of steel is commonly used in washing machines, boilers and interior architecture. Martensitic stainless steel is a very hard and resistant steel. It contains about 13% chromium and is used to make blades and turbine blades.

There is also a duplex steel which is a compound of austenitic and ferritic steels. This steel is both strong and flexible. Duplex steels are most commonly used in the paper, pulp and shipbuilding industries. They are also widely used in the petrochemical industry.

Stainless steel is a very versatile material. It can literally be used for years and remain stainless. Products made from it have a significantly longer service life than products made from other materials. Maintenance costs are lower and stainless steel also has a very high scrap value.

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