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Why Is Stainless Steel Incredible?

Stainless Steel is Incredible! Why?

Because it has a naturally occurring protective layer on its surface that protects it from corrosion. This is due to the chromium it contains – any steel alloy that contains a minimum of 10.5% chromium is considered to be stainless steel.
Stainless Steel Gears

Why is Stainless Corrosion Resistant?
Stainless Repair Diagram

Stainless steel is a solid metal and not just a coating applied to steel. The chromium in the stainless steel combines with oxygen in the normal environment to form a ‘chromium oxide’ or a ‘passive film’ layer on the surface. This protects the iron in the steel from being attacked by corrosive agents (e.g. salt) and creating rust.

When the chromium oxide layer is damaged mechanically or chemically... repairs itself – assuming oxygen (even in very small amounts) is present.

NB: that’s why most stainless steels (except super duplex 2507) don’t perform when submersed in salt water because there isn’t enough oxygen to generate the chromium oxide layer.

Qualities of Stainless Steel
Rust/Stain Resistant Rust/Stain Resistant - If the chromium oxide layer is maintained and not under regular mechanical vibration, it should probably last forever.
Maintains Looks over time Maintains looks over time - Depending on a range of factors (finish, grade, environment, cleaning) stainless should maintain its appearance over time.
Value for Money Delivers value for money - In general, it outlasts steel coatings (e.g. zinc or galvanizing), so overall delivers a lower cost over the entire life-cycle.
Relatively strong Relatively strong - In terms of tensile strength, it can range from 500 to 1000 MPa.
Recyclable Recyclable - Stainless steel is 100% recyclable and non-toxic.


Stainless steel is also known as ‘inox steel’ or ‘inox’ from French ‘inoxydable’

How is the Performance of Stainless Steel Improved?

Improved Performance of Stainless Steel

NB: This is provided as a guide only. Anzor does not accept liability for the application of this informaiton. For advice about stainless steel, contact the Nickel Institute.

Types of Stainless Steel

There are more than 60 grades of stainless steel. However, all stainless steels can be divided into one of five types identified by their main crystal structures:

Austenitic Stainless


  • The most commonly used stainless steels (e.g. 304 and 316) accounting for more than 70% of stainless fastener production.
  • It has excellent corrosion resistance, weldability and formability.
Ferritic Stainless


  • These are plain chromium stainless steels (e.g. 430) with very little or no nickel and therefore have a lower cost.
  • However, they have low corrosion resistance and are not often used to make stainless steel fasteners.
Duplex Stainless


Martensitic Stainless


  • Used in the first stainless steels commercially developed (such as cutlery), and have relatively high carbon content.
  • They have moderate corrosion resistance with the benefit that they can be hardened by heat treatment.
  • Examples include 410 and 420.
Precipitation Hardening (PH)

Precipitation Hardening (PH)

  • Supplied in a solution treated condition (in which they are machinable).
  • They are hardened after fabrication to achieve very high strength.
  • A common grade is 17-4PH.

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