Understanding Stainless Steel

Understanding Stainless Steel
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In the previous article we talked about safe cookware and the materials they are made of. Do your know that there are several different types of Stainless Steel?
Sometimes when you see the words ‘stainless steel’, they are accompanied by some numbers.
If you were wondering what these number mean, read on.

What is Stainless Steel?

Stainless steel is basically a low carbon steel which contains chromium at 10% or more by weight.
It is this addition of chromium that gives the steel its unique stainless, corrosion resisting properties. The chromium content of the steel allows the formation of a rough, adherent, invisible, corrosionresisting chromium oxide film on the steel surface. If damaged mechanically or chemically, this film is self-healing, providing that oxygen, even in very small amounts, is present.
The corrosion resistance and other useful properties of the steel are enhanced by increased chromium content and the addition of other elements such as molybdenum, nickel and nitrogen.

There are more than 60 grades of stainless steel.
But not all of them are commonly used. We’ll take a look at the more popular grades here to give you a brief understanding of this important metal.

Different Grades of Stainless Steel

304 and 308 stainless is the steel used in fast food restaurants.
304 and 308 is usually welded together with 308, 309, or 316 stainless steel grades.
But the grades 304 and 316 are the grades that are most widely used for kitchen purposes because it is easy to clean, corrosion resistant and hard.

410 stainless steel is typical surgical grade stainless.
But sometimes 316 is also widely used in laboratories and in areas where a higher grade is called for.

The numbers 18/10 is an expression of the amount of metals namely(chromium to nickel ratio) the stainless formulation contains.
Those are the 2 chief metals in the most used stainless steels. 

304  Stainless  Steel  could  be  the  expressed  as  18/10 .
Used in sanitary, cryogenic, and  pressure-containing applications, home and commercial  appliances, itis also used in tank structural parts and processing equipment.

316 Stainless Steel could also fall into this category; but 316 also contains 2 to 3 % molybdenum, which is used to harden steels.

316 stainless is used widely in handling hot organic and fatty acids, boat rails, hardware and facades of buildings near the ocean because of its resistence to corrosion.

Uses of 410  Stainless Steel

End uses if grade 410 include cutlery, scissors, surgical instruments, wear plates, garbage disposal shredder lugs, and industrial knives, nozzles, valve parts, hardened steel balls and seats for oil well pumps, separating screens and strainers, springs, shears, and wear surfaces.

These grades of stainless steel have chromium in the range of 11 to 17% as the major alloying addition, but the carbon levels are in amounts from .10 to .65%.
The high carbon content enables the material to be hardened by heating to a high temperature, followed by rapid cooling (quenching). 

This type offers the ideal combination of corrosion resistance and superior mechanical properties, as produced by heat treatment to develop maximum hardness, strength and resistance to abrasion and erosion.

So there you have it.

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