Stainless steel

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Ferrite (α-iron, δ-iron)
Austenite (γ-iron)
Pearlite (88% ferrite, 12% cementite)
Martensite
Bainite
Ledeburite (ferrite-cementite eutectic, 4.3% carbon)
Cementite (iron carbide, Fe3C)

Crucible steel
Carbon steel (≤2.1% carbon; low alloy)

Alloy steel (contains non-carbon elements)

Cast iron (>2.1% carbon)

Wrought iron (contains slag)

In metallurgy stainless steel, also known as inox steel or inox from French "inoxydable", is defined as a steel alloy with a minimum of 10.5[1] or 11% chromium content by mass.[2] Stainless steel does not stain, corrode, or rust as easily as ordinary steel, but it is not stain-proof.[3] It is also called corrosion-resistant steel or CRES when the alloy type and grade are not detailed, particularly in the aviation industry. There are different grades and surface finishes of stainless steel to suit the environment the alloy must endure. Stainless steel is used where both the properties of steel and resistance to corrosion are required.

Stainless steel differs from carbon steel by the amount of chromium present. Unprotected carbon steel rusts readily when exposed to air and moisture. This iron oxide film (the rust) is active and accelerates corrosion by forming more iron oxide. Stainless steels contain sufficient chromium to form a passive film of chromium oxide, which prevents further surface corrosion and blocks corrosion from spreading into the metal's internal structure.

Passivation only occurs if the mixture of chromium is high enough, or if the manufacturer performs this last step.[citation needed]

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