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Stainless, inox, corrosion resistant, medical grade steel

What is the difference between different names of steel?

Stainless steel ha many names, but most of them means the same. The most popular name is stainless steel which is actually corrosion resistant steel, not just stain resistant. Stainless steel is a type of carbon steel that contains high amounts of nickel and chrome, which makes the material resistant to corrosion. This means, that the material is not just treated with a corrosion resistant outer layer, but that it is corrosion resistant even if the surface is somehow damaged. This all around resistance is present when chrome exceeds 10-12 percent. The stainless steel material called 304 (or 1.4301) contains 18% of chrome – this is the type that we use in most of our products. Even higher chrome content grants even acid resistance to the steel. In construction and kitchen equipments 304 steel is used widely.

There is an important distinction already mentioned above in differentiating stainless materials: true stainless steel is corrosion resistant even if the surface is damaged, or cut, but surface treated materials also exist. One notable example is nickel plated copper that will rust if the nickel outer layer is damaged and the copper insides are exposed to air. Copper shines when used as a conductive material, but in kitchen equipment manufacturing or in construction, it is inferior to stainless steel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first notable instance of stainless steel was the Iron Pillar of Delhi, that stands corrosion free since 1600 years. It is a special kind of stainless material, because it was coated with phosphor, that is not used in modern metallurgy. Modern stainless steel was invented about 100 years ago by Pierre Berthier and further developed by Harry Brearly – at that time the popular name for stainless steel was “nirosta”.

Later, the french mosaic word “inox” became prominent (from inoxydable, meaning corrosion resistant). Medical grade metals are a branch that contains different stainless steels, titanium, and other materials. There are also nickel-free stainless steels because nickel allergy can be quite common in some people.