4 Key Characteristics of Stainless Steel

Characteristics of Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is not like ordinary steel in that it does not rust or stain, although it is not completely stain resistant. Here are 4 characteristics of stainless steel.

1. Stainless Steel

This term does not mean one specific metal; it is the name of a group of corrosion resistant steels that have a chromium content of at least 11%. There are varying additions of nitrogen, copper, manganese, nickel, and many other components present in the stainless steel. The characteristics of stainless steel also vary depending on the grade, both austenitic and duplex. The nitrogen combined with molybdenum improves the resistance of pitting corrosion. It also increases the yield strength.


2. Corrosion Resistance

Characteristics of stainless steel include the fact that they contain chromium and possess the resistance to corrosion. A chromium-rich oxide film is always present on the surface of stainless steel. The oxide steels have the unique property to repair themselves. Should the oxide film be removed or damaged due to abrasion a new oxide film is immediately formed.

stainless steel characteristics

3. Formability and Strength

Other characteristics of stainless steel revolve around the formability and strength of the steel. The strength of stainless steel is remarkable even in a fully soft state; the strength is greater than that of mild steel. The hardness varies from relatively soft to extremely martensitic. The soft stainless steels have excellent ductility and elongation. They can be worked cold and adjusted to give extensive range. Ferritic stainless steels have great strength and ductility. Martensitic steels are formed in the annealed condition and are heat treated to give them high strength and hardness.

4. Low and High Temperature Service

The characteristics of stainless steel include the reaction to high and low temperatures. Stainless steel will discolor if heated to a very high temperature. It will not deteriorate by scaling like carbon steel is known to. Stainless steel retains its high proportion of strength when it is heated. It is used in several different industries. There are certain stainless steels that are resistant to dangerous elongation under stress at very high temperatures.

Low temperatures are also used for numerous processes and stainless steel is excellent for these as well. Many materials will lose their ductility and toughness at extremely low temperatures. Stainless steels maintain their strength and ductility at temperatures below -196 degrees Celsius.

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