What is stainless steel?
Stainless steel is an iron-containing alloy made from basic elements found on earth including iron ore, chromium, silicon, nickel, carbon, nitrogen and manganese. To be classified as stainless steel, the composition of the metal must contain more than 10% chromium. There are over 57 types of stainless steel considered to be standard alloys in the market, with each made of up varying combinations of the basic elements listed above. Stainless steel is commonly used in the automotive, dairy, brewing, food processing and medical equipment industries because it is easy to clean, durable, sanitary and inert.
What are the differences between 18/0, 18/8 and 18/10 stainless steel?
Two of the most common forms of stainless steel used in consumer products are 18/8 and 18/10. When used for food-industry related products, both 18/8 and 18/10 forms of stainless steel are made in a 300 series type 304 (or 304 grade) stainless steel. 18/8 stainless steel contains a minimum of 18% chromium and 8% nickel and 18/10 stainless steel contains a minimum of 18% chromium and 10% nickel. The chromium content for both types has the same minimum percentage. Chromium contributes to the hardness of the stainless steel. Although the difference between nickel content is small, 18/10 stainless steel does have higher nickel content. The higher nickel content adds strength and provides slightly more protection against rust and corrosion than 18/8 stainless steel.
18/0 is another common form of high quality stainless steel comprised of a very low nickel content, resulting in it being more corrosive (likely to rust) than 18/8 and 18/10 stainless steel.
What is nickel?
Nickel is a naturally occurring element found in the Earth’s crust, soil and ocean floor. Because of its general resistance to corrosion, it is often used to make metal alloys like stainless steel. Approximately 10-15% of the population is sensitive to nickel, but health effects rely heavily on the manner and degree of exposure. If someone who is sensitive to nickel comes in direct contact with it, the most common effect is an allergic reaction, which comes in the form of a skin rash at the site of contact. A less common reaction is an asthma attack resulting from inhaling air or dust with nickel content in it.
Why choose stainless steel?
Stainless steel ...
- won’t alter the taste of the food or beverage it is carrying,
- is odorless,
- won’t leach toxins into contents it is holding,
- is recyclable,
- has excellent resistance to staining or rusting,
- is easy to clean,
- maintains its strength at high temperatures,
- is durable, and
- is sanitary.