Colour - silvery grey

Specific Gravity -

Invented - 1913

Invented by - Harry Brearly of Sheffield, England

Strength - strong

Corrosion Resistance - resists rusting because of the chromium element

Tensile Strength -

Hardness -

Melting Point -

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is actually an alloy rather than a metallic element of itself. One of the most common alloys is 18/10 stainless steel ( having 18% chromium 10% nickel and 72% iron ). Chromium and nickel give the stainless it's rust resisting properties.


While experimenting with an alloy of steel suitable for gun barrels in 1913, an Englishman, Harry Brearley of Sheffield cast aside an unsuccessful attempt containing 14% chromium. Some months later he noticed that this sample remained bright while most other samples had rusted. From this discovery the stainless steels of today have been developed.


Stainless steel has increased dramatically in it's use since it's invention in 1913 to become part of everyday life.


Stainless steel is commonly used for household cutlery and kitchen sinks. Jaguar and Rolls-Royce use stainless steel for external bright trims. The Sydney Opera House even incorporates some stainless steel.

Working Properties for Craftspeople

Stainless is a fairly hard metal, making working with it slow by comparison to other metals ( such as silver ). With some difficulty stainless may be soldered, however generally mechanical methods are employed ( like rivets ).

Types of stainless steel 

There are three main types of stainless steel - ferritic, martensitic and austenitic. The ferritic steels are magnetic and have a low carbon content and contain chromium as the main element, typically at the 13 % and 17 % levels. The martensitic steels are magnetic containing typically 12% chromium and a moderate carbon content; they are hardenable by quenching and tempering like plain carbon steels and find their main application in cutlery manufacture, aerospace and general engineering. The austenitic steels are non-magnetic and in addition to chromium, typically at the 18 % level, they contain nickel which increases their corrosion resistance. They are the most widely used group of stainless steels. Other grades of stainless steel include precipitation hardening, duplex and highly alloyed grades. 

Melting temperatures of metals 

Metal Melting Point (Deg F) 
mild steel 2730 
wrought iron 2700-2900 
stainless steel 2600 
hard steel 2555 
cast iron 2060-2200 
copper 1985 
red brass 1832 
silver 1763 
yellow brass 1706 
aluminum alloy 865-1240 
magnesium alloy 660-1200 
lead 621 
babbit 480