stainless steel

Factors Determining Whether Stainless Steel Will Rust

A variety of businesses utilize stainless steel, which is one of the most used metals. It is highly sought after by many producers looking for low-maintenance metal material for their products because of its malleable nature and great corrosion resistance. 

Stainless steel is used in many common household objects as well as in the automotive, food processing and handling, and medical industries.

When it comes to rust, stainless steel is one of the most resilient materials available. However, several factors can influence whether or not your stainless steel will rust. Below are a few things to keep in mind.

What Different Grades of Steel Are There?

Steel varieties can be categorized according to all the different uses that set them apart using steel grading systems.

How quickly steel is cooled during production may affect its molecular strength. A significant factor in the cooling process is also how long steel is kept at critical temperatures. 

Depending on the heat-treatment method used, two steel sheets with the same alloy content may have different classes.

Each metal is given a letter prefix based on its general category in the ASTM Grading System and a sequential number corresponding to that metal’s particular attributes.

For classification, the SAE Grading System employs a four-digit number. The first two figures represent the steel type and the alloying elements’ concentration, while the latter two digits represent the metal’s carbon content.

Scientists, engineers, architects, and government organizations frequently employ steel grading standards to guarantee the consistency and quality of products. 

These standards offer a single vocabulary to express the characteristics of steel with extreme specificity and direct product manufacturers toward appropriate processing and application techniques.

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Does Stainless Steel Rust?

Despite being renowned for its exceptional corrosion resistance, stainless steel can rust under specific conditions. Although metals that have been exposed to water frequently rust, stainless steel can also rust when it is exposed to harsh chemicals, salt, grease, or a lot of heat.

What Qualities Ensure Rust-Resistant Stainless Steel?

An iron-based alloy called stainless steel is created by combining at least two naturally occurring raw components, such as iron ore, chromium, silicon, nickel, carbon, nitrogen, and manganese. 

The addition of elements improves a metal’s ductility, malleability, corrosion resistance, and other qualities.

Chromium is the component that gives stainless steel its ability to resist corrosion and rust, and it typically makes up 12 to 20 percent of the alloy during the melting and casting processes. The steel will be less rust-resistant the less chromium it contains.

What Are Coatings That Resist Rust?

Stainless steel can be coated with a polyurethane top coat, sealer, or epoxy coating to halt additional corrosion. These coatings are a dependable and cost-effective option for preventing rust on objects made of carbon and stainless steel. 

Additionally, corrosion inhibitor sprays can be purchased in the majority of hardware, auto, or department stores. They are excellent for preventative maintenance.

What Causes Stainless Steel to Rust?

An oxidation reaction leads to rust. Rust, or hydrated iron oxide, is the result of the iron-infused stainless steel reacting with oxygen and water. However, the unsightly reddish or brown coating only develops when oxidation occurs on iron or iron alloys.

Damaged chemical exposure, contact with salinity, grease contamination, and extended heat exposure are further causes of stainless steel rusting.

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The presence of elements like oxygen, water, and certain chemicals will determine whether stainless steel will rust. Considering these factors and the above discussion, you can help ensure that your stainless steel will stay rust-free for many years.

If you need a steel distributor in Nashville, Tennessee, KGS Steel Nashville is the company for you. We’re a full-line structural steel and carbon steel service center warehouse that has been servicing the southeastern United States since 1985. Contact us now to place your order.

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Bessemer, AL 35022


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Nashville, TN

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Nashville, TN 37210


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