What is Stainless Steel?
Stainless Steel is a common name for metal alloys that consits of 10.5% or more Chromium (Cr) and more than 50% Iron (Fe). Although it is called "stainless", a better term for it is "highly stain resistant". A somwehat dard metal, it looks bright because it reflects light.
What are the main benefits of stainless steel in kitchen utensils?
* It is one of the most hygienic surfaces for the preparation of foods and very easy to clean, as its unique surface has no pores or cracks to harbor diret, grime or backteria.
* Stainless Steel is very attractive and requires minimal care, since it won't chip or easily rust and it takes little seasong.
* With proper care, stainless steel, and stainless flatware has a useful life expectancy of over 100 years, and it is totally recyclable.
What give stainless steel its properties? Why doesn't flatware rust?
The chromium content in stainless steel alloys is what generally prevents corrosion.
Pure iron, the primary element of stainless steel flatware, is extracted from its natural state as iron orre, it is unstable by itself, and naturally wants to corrode (rust). The chromium helps to procrastinate nature's attempts to combine the pure iron with oxygen and water to form rust.
The chromium works by reacting with oxygen to form a tough, adherent, invisible, passibe layer of chromium oxide film on the steel surface. If damaged mechanically or chemically, this film is self healing as long as it has enough oxygen.
Because oxygen is necessary for the reaction, liquids and other foodstuffs stored for a prolonged time in stainless can prevent oxygen contact and thus promote corrosion, as can prolonged contact with household cleaners such as bleach. This is why one should not wash their stainless flaware with detergent that contains bleach.
Generally, an increase of chromium content improves the corrosion resistance of stainless steels and flatware. The addition of nickel is used to raise the general corrosion resistance require in more aggressive usage or conditions. The presence of molybdenum (Mo) improves the localized corrosion resistance, such as against pitting (scaring).
Other alloying metals are also used to improve the structure and properties of stainless tableware, such as titanium, vanadium and copper. Non metal additions typically include natural elements such as carbon nitrogen as well as silicon.
The higher the carbon content, the less formable and througher the flatware becomes. Its hardness makes is suitable for things such as cutting edges, and other high-wear applications like knives. Carbon thus helpls make the knife edge easier to sharpen, and helps retain a sharp edge longer.