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What is Stainless Steel?


What is Stainless Steel?


Stainless steel is able to resist corrosion because of the additional alloying elements in its chemical makeup. While plain carbon steel consists of mostly iron and carbon, stainless steel has substantial additions of chromium to help it resist corrosion. The chromium, and sometimes other alloying elements, are added to the stainless steel during the initial melting process, prior to it being formed into any particular shape.


How Does Stainless Steel Resist Corrosion?


Stainless steel resists corrosion because of the added chromium (and sometimes other additional elements). Corrosion occurs on carbon steel when the iron from the steel is allowed to combine with oxygen in its surrounding environment. The chromium in stainless steel is able to prevent this as it combines with oxygen and forms a passive layer of chromium oxide. This layer of chromium oxide prevents the formation of iron oxide, (also known as rust), in many situations, so long as the chromium content of the steel is great enough. Different grades of stainless steel designate and dictate the required amounts of chromium and other alloying elements, which helps to indicate the level of corrosion resistance.


Applications of Stainless Steel


Stainless steel is typically used in applications where the risk of corrosion is a major concern and not permissible. Areas of use for stainless steel include:


Food processing equipment

Pharmaceutical manufacturing equipment

Aerospace engine components

Kitchen appliances

Certain types of fasteners

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