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Stainless steel can provide an outstanding combination of aesthetic appeal, corrosion resistance, strength, durability and cleanability. It is commonly used for a wide range of indoor and outdoor applications. Although the vast majority of stainless steel applications work perfectly as intended by the designer and fabricator, there are a significant number of instances where someone, often the end-user, is disappointed by the performance of the material. To sum it up, it’s all in the name:
Remember it is Stainless Steel, not Stainfree Steel.
Stainless steel depends on its passive layer for its corrosion resistance. This is a very thin chromium oxide layer formed on its surface when chromium is present at 10.5% or above. The underlying metal is not corrosion resistant. The passive layer forms spontaneously on a clean surface but can be damaged by iron contamination, airborne particles and particularly chlorides.
The following downloadable document focuses on applications where the key issue is ensuring the product retains its initial finish throughout its life, rather than stress corrosion cracking.