Metals Industry Logo


About Us


Contact Us

Brief History of Stainless Steel

The discovery of stainless steel occurred in the early Twentieth Century. The first patent was issued in 1919. This formula was used for cutlery and is still used today. In 1913, in England, Harry Brearley managed two research labs; Thomas Firth & Sons, and John Brown & Company. He was searching for an erosion-resistant alloy for gun barrels.

Stainless steel is a corrosion-resistant high temperature steel. This is due to chromium rich oxide film that forms on the surface. Ordinary carbon steel rusts when exposed to moisture. Stainless steel is stain less, but is not stain proof. It is also 100% recyclable.

There are over one hundred fifty grades of stainless steel. Stainless steel can be milled into stainless steel sheets, stainless steel plates, stainless steel bars, stainless steel coil, stainless steel strip, stainless steel wire, and stainless steel tubing.

Stainless steel sheet is universally used for commercial applications, such as:; elevators, petroleum tanks, stampings, and medical instruments.

Stainless steel plate is strong and highly corrosive-resistant. Mainly used for; construction, ocean vessels, natural gas tanks, machine parts, doors, and robotic equipment.

Stainless steel bar is utilized in; screws, nails, bolts, rivets, anchors, computers, automobiles, furniture, appliances, trains, helicopters, planes, ships, and jet skis.

Stainless steel coil is highly corrosive-resistant and is practical for use in; chemical, salt water, and other humid conditions. Many uses consists of; ships, automobiles, aerospace, roofing, mobile homes, elevators, escalators, jewelry, and stamping.

Stainless steel strip is also corrosive-resistant, with many of the same uses as stainless steel coil, with drawing and roll forming applications.

Stainless steel tubing is extremely strong and offers superior corrosive-resistant qualities with a long life. Utilized for many ornamental finishes, primarily, mirror, and satin finishes. The list is endless for its uses; Staircases, handicap supports, ladders, railings, and fuel transport are a few examples.

There are several different types and grades of stainless steel. They are classified by their crystalline structure:

Austenitic stainless steel has a maximum of 15% carbon, a minimum of 16% chromium and sufficient nickel, 6-22, with low carbon. It is strong, easy to form and weld, and non-magnetic. Popular uses for austenitic stainless steel are; kitchen sinks, building facades. Professional food processing equipment, chemical pipes, and cooking utensils. More than 50% of the stainless steel produced is austenitic.

Ferritic stainless steel is the least expensive and has a lower strength. However, it is highly corrosive-resistant. It contains 10.5-27% chromium, small amounts of molybdenum and aluminum or titanium, and very little nickel. A few of the uses are; automobile trim, architectural trim, appliances, and exhaust systems. Martensitic stainless steel is produced by increasing the carbon content of ferritic stainless steel and heating and tempering it. It is strong and hard, but brittle and magnetic. It contains 10-17% chromium. It is used for razor blades, knives, and surgical instruments.

Duplex stainless steel contains 50% ferritic stainless steel and 50% austenitic stainless steel and nitrogen is added. It is resistant to stress corrosion cracking and is mainly used in hot water heaters and chemical tankers.

Precipitation hardening stainless steel has copper added to give it more strength. It is also harden by heat treatment. It is highly prized in the aerospace and defense fields.

Dee Schenck
All Metal Sales Corp.