Stainless steel, commonly referred to as V2A, V4A or INOX, is increasingly in demand on account of its corrosion resistance and its benefits in terms of hygiene and aesthetics.
Stainless steel is a general term for about 120 different types of steel. The following materials are the ones which we use most frequently:
Rust-resistant steels mainly owe their anti-corrosion properties to the alloying constituent of chromium which oxidises to form chromium oxide on the surface of the steel. The addition of molybdenum significantly improves the corrosion resistance further still, especially against pitting, and also increases the mechanical strength properties.
Corrosion is the term used to describe the changes brought about to the surface of the steel through chemical and electrochemical attacks. The ensuing corrosion produced through oxidation and distinguished by its colour is generally called rust. When corrosion appears it is not generally an evenly distributed deposit on the surface of the steel but can also be localised. Corrosion can also occur on stainless steels for a number of different reasons, caused for instance by aggressive media (especially the halogen compounds chlorine, bromine and iodine) or contact with baser metals. Corrosion is often caused by extraneous rust. Corrosion marks can appear due to extraneous iron deposits on the surface which can arise, for example, due to improper storage of stainless steel products with normal or cast steel products, where stainless steel comes into direct contact with normal steel or with metal work on normal steel in the immediate vicinity.
It is important to have as detailed a knowledge as possible of the reactive substances in order to identify the optimum material for applications where increased corrosion resistance is required. In some circumstances where demands on corrosion resistance are high, it can make more financial sense to coat stainless steel for some applications instead of using a special alloy.
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