Stainless steel is a generic term for a family of corrosion resistant alloy steels containing 10.5% or more chromium.

All stainless steels have a high resistance to corrosion. This resistance to attack is due to the naturally occurring chromium-rich oxide film formed on the surface of the steel. Although extremely thin, this invisible, inert film is tightly adherent to the metal and extremely protective in a wide range of corrosive media. The film is rapidly self repairing in the presence of oxygen, and damage by abrasion, cutting or machining is quickly repaired.

Fig. 1 – In any normal oxidising environment a protective coating of passive chromium rich oxide film is automatically formed on stainless steel.

Fig. 2 – When scratched, damaged or machined this protective film is denuded exposing the steel to the atmosphere.

Fig. 3 – The protective coating is quickly restored through the rapid self-repairing quality of the chromium rich film.

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