Monday, 29 June 2015

Stainless Steel - So, how is it made?

Stainless steel is made in an electric arc furnace where carbon electrodes contact recycled stainless scrap and various alloys of chromium.

A current is passed through the electrode and the temperature increases to a point where the scrap and alloys melt. The molten material from the electric furnace is then transferred into an AOD (Argon Oxygen Decarbonization) vessel, where the carbon levels are reduced and the final alloy additions are made to make the exact chemistry.

Some material receives cold rolling to further reduce the thickness as in sheets or drawn into smaller diameters as in rods and wire.

Most stainless steels receive a final annealing (a heat treatment that softens the structure) and pickling (an acid wash that removes furnace scale from annealing and helps promote the passive surface film that naturally occurs).

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