The history of nickel, chrome and the correct treatment... home

The history of stainless steel:

Long before the turn of the century, scientists discovered that by adding nickel and chrome, the corrosion behaviour of steel could be improved, but certain steels enriched with these elements left a lot to be desired.

The decisive breakthrough occured in 1912 in Germany. Through the combination of nickel and chrome combined with an exactly adapted heat treatment, it was possible for the first time to achieve an optimum of corrosion resistance as well as good mechanical characteristics. The then created terms V2A (CrNi-steel) and V4A (CrNiMo-steel) using V for the German word "Versuch" = trial round and A= austenit are still used today as synonyms for stainless steel.

Above all, the metallic shine of it's surface was the reason why the American automobile tycoon Walter Chrysler crowned his in the meantime world famous Chrysler Building in New York, with stainless steel in the late 20's. This was the first use of stainless steel in construction worth mentioning. The artistically-made roof consists of 4500 individual plates. 30 years later when they were cleaned and checked for the first time the magazine Metalfax wrote: „A bit dark, but as good as new.“ Its appearance hasn't changed to this very day.

The two main German producers use different terms for their brands which are Nirosta (Krupp Stahl AG) and Remanit (Thyssen Edelstahlwerke AG). In our industrial sector we neutrally speak of stainless steel or just „stainless“. Frequently used international names are 18/10 or 18/8 indicating the most common alloy-ratios of chrome and nickel used to make stainless steel. Experts distinguish to different types of stainless steel very precisely by using DIN standardised numbers for the raw material.

„Stainless steel“ has been a registered trademark since 1966.



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