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What is stainless steel?

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Back to overview STAINLESS STEEL Info
What is stainless steel?

Stainless steel, also referred to as SS or inox, is an alloy consisting primarily of iron, chromium, nickel and carbon. Stainless steel must contain a minimum of 11-12% chromium and a maximum of 1.2% carbon. In addition, many types of stainless steel also contain the elements molybdenum, titanium, manganese, nitrogen and silicon.

Stainless steel is divided into sub-families depending on its metallurgic structure.

  • Martensitic types of steel for a higher degree of hardness, e.g. for knives, vanes and axles.
    For ex.: Martensitic steel is steel with an AISI no. of 431 or 440 A, B and C.
  • Ferritic types of steel are suitable for applications in low-corrosion rate environments.
  • Austenitic types of steel are ideal for cold deformation and are highly weldable.
Family C Cr Ni
Martensite < 1,2% 10,5 - 17% < 6,0%
Ferrite < 1,2% 10,5 - 29% < 1,5%
Austenite < 1,2% 16 - 28% 3,5 - 36%
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Stainless steel is available in every imaginable form and finish, including coil, narrow strip, sheet and discs. Tube and bar also feature in the Contisteel range.