Stainless steel is a type of steel that, while it isn’t stainless, is much more resistant to fingerprints and rust than normal steel. Not all stainless steel is created equally because while stainless steel is naturally corrosion resistant, the level of resistance is different based on the grade.
The product contains an alloy called chromium, which is what makes the steel so resistant, and the different amounts of chromium in certain grades of stainless steel are what changes the level of resistance in the steel. In order to be classified as stainless steel, the steel must contain at least 10.5% chromium.
The chromium forms a layer around the steel, preventing the oxygen and water mixture that typically causes rust. Instead only the thin layer will oxidize, and it remains durable. Then the layer simply stays there and protects the rest of the steel from the reaction. If for some reason the layer is stripped away, then the chromium will repair itself using oxygen in the air.
The most common form of stainless steel you will see in use is 304-grade stainless steel. It is very resistant, easy to sanitize, and also cheap to use, but only works in certain environments. 316-grade stainless steel is made with an extra metal called molybdenum, which makes the metal extremely resistant to saline and chloride, so it’s ideal for pools and ocean environments that need stainless steel equipment or railing.
316-grade stainless steel is also used for medical grade stainless steel products, due to its high resistance and durability. Plus, the steel can easily be cleaned, shaped, and is resistant to most cleaning chemicals and detergents, so they can be kept clean and used to treat patients over and over again. Certainly something that the medical industry does a lot of.