What Makes Stainless Steel Stainless?

Specializing in stainless steel products means that the experts at Alliant Metals know nearly all there is about the metal. Sometimes, we can forget that not everyone knows everything there is to know about it. Some of our favorite questions to answer are the most obvious, including, “What makes stainless steel stainless?”

Making steel stainless, or what many would call rust-proof, means understanding what mills do to alter steel. Steel is made up a foundation of iron and up to 2% of carbon to create this ideal metal. Adding the carbon improves the hardness and durability of iron, which makes it perfect for a variety of industry settings. Though steel is a large improvement to soft and brittle iron, it still faces its challenges.

Outside elements, such as water, having a lasting impact on steel because it contains oxygen affects all elements. When oxygen joins with iron, it creates a new compound called rust. This kind of corrosion can impact the integrity and aesthetic of metal but it can be prevented. That’s where stainless steel comes into play.

To prevent rust, we must prevent oxygen from joining with iron. Through much research by professionals, they found that adding at least 10% of chromium to steel can provide a new alloy that is rust-free called  “stainless”. In some cases, stainless steel is not a strong as other forms of steel but offers some unique characteristics, such as the impacts of water and other chemicals.

With stainless steel, we’re able to provide a variety of industries the metals they need to create tools and products. For example, culinary and medical professionals often utilize grades such as 420 or 420F stainless steel to create durable utensils for their daily work.

Fortunately, Alliant Metals can provide a number of stainless steel grades to meet the needs of our customers’ projects. We would love to help you choose the right metal for your business or industry. With more questions, please contact us today by calling (800) 543-1453.

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