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Does Stainless Steel Wear Off?

Wondering how long your stainless steel will keep its corrosion resistance? It depends on the type of materials involved and how the object in question was designed. We’ll go over what stainless steel actually is, how it works, and if it wears off over time.

What is stainless steel?

Stainless steel is a type of metal alloy designed to be especially resistant to corrosion, pitting, and stains. There’s a few different types of stainless steel, but they all have at least iron, carbon, and chromium in them. Iron and carbon form steel, and the addition of 10 – 30% chromium to the mix drastically increases the material’s ability to withstand corrosion. Sometimes other elements are added to alter the material properties further, including:

  • Titanium
  • Aluminum
  • Copper
  • Nickel
  • Molybdenum
  • Sulfur
  • Phosphorus

The ratios of each element determine the type of stainless steel, and also properties such as how it deforms under tension, how strong and/or flexible it is, how it responds to heat and what temperatures it can handle without warping or melting, and what specific types of corrosion it can withstand best. These are the most common types of stainless steel:

  • Grade 304 (high tensile strength)
  • Grade 316 (more resistant to marine environments)
  • Grade 430 (good resistance to acid rain)
  • Grade 434 (good resistance to pitting)
  • Grade 420 (used for making blades)

Can stainless steel lose its properties over time?

Stainless steel’s corrosion resistance is determined by the elements making up the material, which do not change over time. This means an object made with only stainless steel won’t lose those properties.

However, sometimes objects advertised as stainless steel are actually another material with a stainless steel coating. In this case, the coating can wear off if it’s scratched deep enough or worn down over time.

Rexarc uses solid stainless steel when manufacturing our pressure vessels so our customers don’t have to worry about the material properties changing with use and time.

Learn more about Rexarc’s  pressure vessels

Rexarc designs and manufactures custom pressure vessels for the aerospace industry and others. Learn more about our history here, the types of vessels we create here, or contact us with any questions you might have!



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