What is stainless steel?

What is a stainless steel?

Stainless steel is a generic term for a family of corrosion resistant alloy steels containing 10/ 5% or more chromium. All stainless steels have a high resistance to corrosion. This resistance to attack is due to the naturally occurring chromium-rich oxide film formed on the surface of the steel. Although extremely thin, this invisible, inert film is tightly adherent to the metal and extremely protective in a wide range of corrosive media. The film is rapidly self-repairing in the presence of oxygen, and damage by abrasion, cutting or machining is quickly repaired.

Corrosion resistance

molybdenum and chromium increase resistance to chloride penetration; and nickel improves film resistance in some acid environments.

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Stainless Steel Selection Guide

Guideline for Selection Stainless Steels are engineering materials with good corrosion resistance strength, and fabrication characteristics. They can readily meet a wide range of design criteria load, service life, low maintenance, etc. Selecting the proper stainless steel essentially means weighing four elements. In order of importance, they are:

1. Corrosion or Heat Resistance: the primary reason for specifying stainless. The specifier needs to know the nature of the environment and the degree of corrosion or heat resistance required.
2. Mechanical Properties: with particular emphasis on strength at room, elevated, or low temperature. Generally speaking, the combination of corrosion resistance and strength is the basis for selection.
3. Fabrication Operations: how the product is to be made is a third level consideration. This includes forging, machining, forming, welding, etc.
4. Total Cost: in considering total cost, it is appropriate to consider not only material and production costs, but the life cycle cost including the cost-saving benefits of a maintenance-free product having a long life expectancy.

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