A plain carbon steel, with negligible corrosion resistance, would suffer from uniform or general corrosion across most of its surface. Although stainless steels are much more resistant to corrosion when compared to ordinary alloy steels, over time corrosion can occur. Within normal water-based environments, stainless steel objects will not corrode easily, as demonstrated by items found within the home (cutlery, saucepans and work-surfaces). Within demanding applications, however, corrosion can take place over a prolonged period. As stainless steels will form a passive protective layer when exposed to oxygen, corrosion will typically only occur when this passive layer becomes damaged or is missing. Therefore, pitting corrosion is the most common form of corrosion that can occur on stainless steels.
There are multiple different forms of corrosion, depending upon the corrosive environment, component geometry and operating conditions. These include:
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