What Makes Stainless Steel Stock Stainless?

As a premier metal distributor in New England, Alliant Metals has provided its customers with the highest-quality materials since 1987. In fact, we have one of the most extensive inventories of stainless steel stock in the region! Our team of experts knows the inner workings of each material and machine needed to meet your demands. Because of our extensive knowledge, our team is taking the time to answer one of the most frequently asked questions. What exactly makes stainless steel what it is?


Stainless steel simplified.

One of the most significant characteristics of stainless steel is that it does not rust because of the unique elements that compose the medal. Together with the natural environment, these elements work to form a film that consists of corrosion products. Further, the film prevents additional corrosion (or rust) from occurring by becoming a barrier. By limiting oxygen and water access to the underlying layer of metal, the corrosion rate is reduced to extremely low levels.

Although every type of stainless steel contains at least ten elements, chromium is the most active and dominant of them all. Chromium reacts with oxygen at one of the highest levels enabling the protective layer to form. 

Here is a brief look into a few of the main elements: 

  • As a relatively soft element, iron is used in a wide range of steels and alloys.
  • As previously mentioned, chromium plays the dominant role in providing stainless steel with its rust-resistant properties.
  • Further, chromium is essential because of its ability to improve the workability of stainless steel at high temperatures.
  • Widely diverse in its application, carbon can provide strength and hardness through heat treating when combined with iron.
  • With 68% of its global production being used for stainless steel, nickel is another corrosion-resistant element.
  • Known for its high corrosion resistance and weldability properties, molybdenum can withstand extreme temperatures.


Can stainless steel rust?

Although stainless steel comprises several elements that are rust or corrosion-resistant, this does not mean the metal can’t rust. The key to maintaining your stainless steel stock is protecting the chromium oxide layer. With proper maintenance and cleaning, you can help keep your stainless products at optimal levels.



For more information on our vast selection of stainless steel stock, contact Alliant Metals. Known for efficiency and superior service, our team is here to assist you with all of your metal needs.

Call today for more information (800) 543-1453.


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