These two popular shiny metal products are often confused. But let me assure you, stainless steel and chrome are NOT the same thing.
A metal that is plated with a fine chromium coating is often referred to as chrome. Chrome can be polished to produce a shiny mirror like finish or brushed to product a matte finish.
Stainless is made from a composition of chrome (Chromium, Cr) and nickel (Ni) that does not have a fine coating or plating. The chrome gives the stainless its luster and durability, while the nickel gives hardness & strength.
As opposed to stainless, chrome and nickel products only have a fine layer of plating which if chipped or scratched, can rust the underlaying metal.
Generally speaking, stainless doesn’t rust. Some people even say it can’t. But like all materials, there are some environments which are just too corrosive and it will be attacked. However choosing the right stainless steel for your application can dramatically reduce the chances of corrosion.
Not all metals are created equality!
There are five major types of stainless:
Austenitic, Ferritic, Martensitic, Precipitation Hardening Grade and Duplex Grade.
One of the more commonly used stainless is Austenitic steel which is non magnetic and high corrosion resistance. The 200 and 300 series of steels in the Austenitic range are used in valves, bolts, bushings, nuts and wires. .
Another stainless steel growing in popularity is the Duplex range which provides higher corrosion resistance and strength than Austenitic steels. Due to its high corrosion resistance, Duplex is commonly used around wet environments like pool fencing or balcony balustrades.