What is stainless steel? | Schlüter-Systems

What is stainless steel?

Stainless steel is a collective term for a group of over 160 so called corrosion-resistant steels with different compositions.

The term refers to the formation of a chromium oxide layer at the surface of the stainless steel in a thickness of a few 1000ths of a millimetre. Although this layer is very thin, it is able to restore itself consistently after mechanical damage, which normally prevents corrosion in this type of steel.

As such this protective layer must never be permanently damaged (e.g. by extraneous rust or certain chemicals such as hydrochloric acid). This kind of damage can occur particularly in areas that are exposed to chemical stresses, such as external areas near the coast or with high levels of industrial air pollution, food industry operations or areas near swimming pools. In those cases, it is recommended to use stainless steel V4A ( material no. 1.4404 = AISI 316L), which has higher corrosion resistance appropriate for such demanding requirements, instead of conventional V2A material (material no. 1.4301 = AISI 304).

Even stainless steel of quality 1.4404 is not resistant to all chemical stresses such as hydrochloric and hydrofluoric acid or certain chloride and brine concentrations. In certain cases, this also applies to seawater pools. Special anticipated stresses should therefore always be verified in advance. The Technical Department and sales service of Schlüter-Systems are able to provide expert support for specifiers and installers if there are uncertainties about the correct material choice.

  • The official abbreviated term for material no. 1.4301 according to DIN EN 10088 is X5CrNi18-10.
  • The official abbreviated term for material no. 1.4404 according to DIN EN 10088 is X2CrNiMo17-12-2.
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