Stainless steels are iron-based alloys that are designed to resist corrosion and staining. They typically contain at least 12% chromium, which creates an invisible and adherent oxide film that protects against rust and other forms of corrosion. Some stainless steels also contain nickel, manganese, molybdenum, copper, titanium, silicon, niobium, aluminium, sulfur, and selenium to improve specific properties.
Stainless steels can be shaped and fabricated using conventional methods and are available in a variety of forms, including plate, sheet, strip, foil, bar, wire, and pipe and tubing. Cold-rolled flat products account for more than 60% of stainless steel product forms. Production of stainless steels typically involves melting scrap and ferroalloys in an electric-arc furnace, followed by refining by argon oxygen decarburization to adjust the carbon content and once primary mill forms have been produced, they are subjected to hot reduction, cold rolling operations, annealing, and cleaning to achieve specific sizes and tolerances. Further steps are required to produce other mill forms, such as wire and tube. In the United States, approximately 90% of all stainless steel is produced using the EAF melting followed by the AOD refining process.
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