What Makes Stainless Steel Stainless?

What Makes Stainless Steel Stainless?

Have you been wondering what made of stainless steel?

Stainless steel is an alloy of iron, chromium and nickel.  To be stainless steel, the chromium content needs to be at least 10.5%.  The higher content of chromium enhanced the corrosion resistance.  At 10.5% or higher level, the chromium forms a passivation layer (a shielding outer layer of corrosion which spontaneously occurred in nature) when exposed to oxygen.  Because the layer is extremely thin, it is invisible and the steel remains radiant.  The layer is resistant to water and air, thus protecting the steel beneath.  This layer also is rapidly reformed when the surface is scratched.  This process explains why stainless steel stainless.

How to choose a high quality stainless steel cookware?

Stainless steel cookware often contains 18% of chromium with either 8% or 10% of nickel.  The percentage of chromium and nickel in the cookware also refers as 18/10 or 18/8.  The lower percentage of nickel content reflects the higher corrosive rate.  A cookware set labeled with premium stainless steel 18/10 is considered more resilient than the set labeled with 18/8.  It is important to understand that high quality stainless steel cookware endure high heat.  In order to have the best heat conduction, look for stainless steel pots and pans with aluminium or copper-coated bottoms.  With aluminium or copper-based feature, the cookware will increase its performance in spreading the heat evenly.

Will stainless steel corrode?

The high percentage of chromium will enhance the corrosion resistant of the steel but it does not mean that it can prevent rust.  The steel will corrode with the presence of chlorides as chlorides will significantly aggravate its conditions for fighting corrosion.  Chloride is also used to form salts that can preserve food such as sodium chloride.  Salt can eat through and destroy the protective layer of passivation that protects stainless steel from corrosion.  Leaving salt in stainless steel cookware unintentionally after a period of time would damage it eventually as salt will spread and destroy the stainless steel.  The pot or pan will ultimately stain thus not stainless as it supposed to.  In order to prevent corrosion in stainless cookware, make sure to clean the pot or pan after each use.

With proper care, stainless steel cookware will maintain its durable feature and last for a long period of time.  If you’re thinking to look for a stainless cookware set, browse stainless steel cookware.


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