What is Stainless Steel?

You’ve probably seen it in a jewelry store, in some of your tools, and in your wiring—it’s stainless steel, and it’s solidified its place in dozens of industries and around the world. As one of the most trusted stainless steel wire suppliers in OH and beyond, Wickwire Warehouse Inc. knows stainless steel inside and out. But what exactly is this material and how does it differ from standard steel?

Stainless steel is an alloy of iron, which means its mixed with other metals. Pure stainless steel is made with a minimum of 10.5 percent chromium. Chromium is a lustrous, brittle metal that gives stainless steel its signature sheen. Stainless steel also contains varying levels of carbon, silicone, and manganese depending on the manufacturer.

Many business owners are initially surprised to learn that stainless steel doesn’t rust like iron does. This is thanks to the chromium in the surface layer of the mixture. When exposed to oxygen, chromium produces a thin, powdery layer of oxide on the surface of the stainless steel called the “passive layer.” The passive layer prevents further corrosion of the metal by acting as a barrier between the iron in the stainless steel and the oxygen in the air. The higher the percentage of chromium in the stainless steel mixture, the longer it will take the material to eventually begin to break down. This makes stainless steel the perfect material for wiring and manufacturing purposes, as business and warehouse owners don’t have to worry about the material decaying and causing a health and safety hazard to workers.

Wickwire Warehouse Inc. is a stainless steel wire distributor that serves OH, PA, NJ, and many surrounding states. If you’re a business owner looking for a new source for all of your stainless steel wiring, give us a call today and we’ll be glad to walk you through our options!