A stainless steel is defined as a steel which contains more than 10.5% of chromium. The added chromium content keeps the iron components of the steel from rusting and improves the heat resistant properties of the steel.
As with many developments, this level of chromium was identified over a series of ad-hoc experiments that took place over a number of years. According to history, Harry Brearley was investigating steels with improved wear resistance for use as gun barrels, working for Firth Rixson in Sheffield, UK.
Adding more chromium not only improved his sample’s wear resistance, but improved their resistance to attack by numerous chemical solutions. He subsequently refined his experiments with the help of a friend, who happened to be operating a cutlery factory. When completing tests which were normally reserved for cutlery, they found that their alloys were very resistant to corrosion and staining — hence the nomenclature of the alloy.
Today, Stainless Steel has numerous uses in dozens of industry. In the architectural field, it is prized because of its strength, rigidness and flexibility — characteristics which make it an ideal material to build large buildings from. Numerous world famous building, including One World Trade Centre in New York City and Waterloo Station in London. It is also widely used by doctors and other medical professionals because of its anti-bacterial properties.
If you have any more questions about stainless steels, including our comprehensive range of duplex and super duplex stainless steels, please contact us today. A member of our team will be more than happy to help and can also advise you on the best option for your application.