Chromium: The Hero behind Stainless Steel

What creates the “stainless” component when forming stainless steel? The answer is simple: chromium. This hard metal is what gives stainless steel its most desirable properties, including its lustrous shine and ability to withstand high temperatures. Its anti-corrosive properties have made this steel indispensable in many industries, including the medical, automotive, and kitchen appliance industry.

The Science behind Stainless Steel

When chromium hits the air, it works together with the oxygen to create a layer of oxide on the exterior of the steel. This layer is invisible, yet it is very effective. The size of the atoms containing chromium and oxide are of similar size, which allows them to sit close together on the surface of the steel, keeping it from corroding. If any damage occurs to the atoms, such as a scratch or cut, the oxidation process occurs again rather quickly, forming yet another invisible layer, keeping your steel “stainless” and intact.

The Many Uses

Because of its desirable properties, stainless steel can be found in many places, many of which you might not ever expect:

  • Handrails
  • Countertops
  • Exterior of buildings (siding)
  • Medical and dental instruments
  • Operating tables
  • Offshore oil rigs
  • Kitchenware
  • Tanks to store chemicals
  • Artificial hips
  • Automotive exhaust systems
  • Automotive catalytic converters

Stainless steel is very versatile, flexible, and able to withstand rigorous use, which is what makes it popular in a wide variety of industries, whether commercial or residential. Every day, new uses are found for this important metal, allowing it to be used more than ever before.


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