Stainless steels are more resistant to rusting and staining than plain carbon or low alloy steels. They provide superior and improved corrosion resistance based on the large content of chromium. Other elements, such as copper, aluminum, silicon, nickel, and molybdenum also increase the overall corrosion resistance in many environments and can be used to enhance oxidation resistance.
The first and most important step toward successful use of a stainless or heat resisting steel is selection of a type that is appropriate for the application. There are a large number of standard types that differ from one another in corrosion resistance, mechanical properties, and cost.
The following checklist has bullet points to be considered when selecting stainless steel.
- Corrosion resistance
- Suitability for intended fabrication techniques
- Stability of properties while in service
- Resistance to abrasion and erosion
- Resistance to galling and seizing
- Surface finish and/or reflectivity
- Magnetic properties
- Thermal conductivity
- Dimensional stability