Modern stainless steel contains nickel along with other elements, such as molybdenum, niobium and chromium, that help the metal resist corrosion. Nickel is merely one of the key elements that adds to the rust-resistance of steel.Know More
When English metallurgist Harry Brearley first added chromium to low-carbon steel in the early 20th century, he discovered the metal became more stain resistant and avoided rust and corrosion at a better rate than steel alone. Over time, elements like nickel and molybdenum were added along with chromium to increase rust-resistance.
Nickel is a silvery white metal that occurs naturally in minerals, including the earth's core. Its slow oxidation rate makes it particularly resistant to corrosion, and it is very viable as a commercial manufacturing component. However, it is not the primary element that enhances the corrosion resistance of stainless steel. That honor goes to chromium.
Chromium is actually the element that gives stainless steel its greatest boost for avoiding rust and corrosion. The chromium combines with oxygen to form a thin, neatly packed layer of oxides that recover quickly if cut or scratched. In contrast, regular steel has a very loose layer that stains and flakes easily when the surface is damaged.
The three main types of stainless steel are austenitic, ferritic and martensitic. The austenitic type contains nickel along with chromium and sometimes manganese and nitrogen. Heat treatment does not harden this type of stainless steel, and it remains pliable. As a result, it is the type processed into common household kitchen appliances, such as refrigerators, ranges and dishwashers.Learn more about Chemistry
Stainless steel is available in many different alloys that incorporate several different elements, but the essential components are iron, carbon and chromium. Low-carbon steel with at least 12-percent chromium forms an even layer of protective oxide on its surface and is, therefore, stainless.Full Answer >
Stainless steels are iron alloys that contain 10.5 percent chromium and can be enhanced with other metals, such as copper, titanium, molybdenum and nickel. Stainless steel can also be improved for various applications by adding non-metals to its structure, such as nitrogen and carbon. The chromium-rich oxide layer on the surface of the steel makes for an alloy that is easily repairable.Full Answer >
The difference between chrome and stainless steel is that stainless steel is typically made out of a metal alloy without plating (it does contain either nickel or chromium to make it durable), while chrome is made out of a metal core that is plated with a thin chromium overlay. Chrome and stainless steel are both popular choices in hardware and kitchen appliances.Full Answer >
Stainless steel is composed of iron, carbon and chromium. Modern stainless steel may also contain other elements, such as nickel, niobium, molybdenum and titanium. The elements of nickel, molybdenum, niobium and chromium enhance the corrosion resistance of stainless steel.Full Answer >