Stainless Steel, also known as inox steel or inox from French “inoxydable”, is defined as a steel alloy with a minimum of 10.5 or 11% chromium content by mass.
Stainless steel does not corrode, rust or stain with water as ordinary steel does, but despite the name it is not fully stain-proof. It is also called corrosion-resistant steel or CRES when thealloy type and grade are not detailed, particularly in the aviation industry. There are different grades and surface finishes of stainless steel to suit the environment the alloy must endure. Stainless steel is used where both the properties of steel and resistance to corrosion are required.
Stainless steel differs from carbon steel by the amount of chromium present. Unprotected carbon steel rusts readily when exposed to air and moisture. This iron oxide film (the rust) is active and accelerates corrosion by forming more iron oxide. Stainless steels contain sufficient chromium to form a passive film of chromium oxide, which prevents further surface corrosion and blocks corrosion from spreading into the metal’s internal structure.
Stainless steel is 100% recyclable. An average stainless steel object is composed of about 60% recycled material of which approximately 40% originates from end-of-life products and about 60% comes from manufacturing processes. According to the International Resource Panel’s and Metal Stocks In Society report, the per capita stock of stainless steel in use in society is 80–180kg in more developed countries and 15kg in less-developed countries.
North Fulton Metals recycles usable scrap for many stainless steel markets. The product is mostly coil, sheet and blanks. This material is sold to commercial quality stampers and sheet metal houses. The material may have scratches, pits and dents but is made to the current specifications.