There are 5 primary elements in Stainless Steel. Chromium, Nickle, Molybdenum, Carbon and Iron. The purpose of this article is to explain the purpose of each element and what they contribute to the Stainless Steel.
Stainless Steel Elements
nChromium combines with Oxygen to generate a protective Oxide Layer. Chromium is one of four elements that consistently align in a regular pattern when subjected to oxygen. Lack of oxygen, such as prolonged submersion will act to break down the uniform Oxide Layer and allow corrosives to enter attach the iron and carbon underneath.
nNickel has an exceptionally low rate of oxidation and like Chromium is one of 4 elements that consistently align in regular pattern. Nickel is less susceptible to acids and highly corrosive compounds then Chromium and it has a cathode property that neutralizes the protective layer of Stainless Steel.
Molybdenum makes the steel more resistant to pitting and crevice corrosion in chloride-contaminated media and sea water. Moly is a very tough element and has the 6th highest melting point of any element. Moly acts by creating a tight weave or lattice with the Chromium which creates a tighter seal against elements penetrating the Oxide layer and prevents iron atoms from raising to the metals surface under heat.