How to Determine What Stainless Steel to be Used?

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Some individuals suppose that “stainless steel doesn’t rust.” This understanding isn’t correct. The “stainless” of stainless steel isn’t wholly unrustable. It’s comparatively unrusted underneath bound conditions. If the user misuses it or is used in an associated atmosphere or situation that exceeds its corrosion resistance, it’ll rust.

It is acknowledged that 304 stainless steel products are harmless and have zero hazards. 304 stainless steel kitchen utensils and drinkware are the first options during consumption. However, how does someone ensure that the stainless steel you bought is formed of 304 stainless steel?

There are many such cases of manufacturing and selling lower stainless steel products in the market. But, how can we quickly recognize these deceptive behaviors while buying stainless steel products? Is there a simple way?

Physical identification means that in the case of an unknown steel grade (steel type), according to the commodity’s inherent physical and chemical properties, simple appliances are used to determine whether it is stainless steel or a specific type of stainless steel.

It should be noted that physical identification isn’t easily distinguishable from the specific steel grade. For example, it is possible only to distinguish three significant categories of stainless steel, nickel, and manganese nitrogen stainless steel. Nevertheless, here are a few identifying methods:

Color Identification

The surface of the stainless steel is white and bright after pickling. Chrome-nickel stainless steel is silver-white and jade-colored. It is slightly grayish and glossy. It has a somewhat lighter color than the chrome-nickel stainless steel for chrome-manganese-nitrogen stainless steel.

Without pickling, the surface color of chrome-nickel stainless steel is brownish white, chrome-manganese-nitrogen stainless steel is black, and chrome stainless steel is brownish black. 

Identifying With a Magnet

A magnet can distinguish between two types of stainless steel. This is because chrome stainless steel attracts magnets under any condition. When it comes to nickel stainless steel, it usually is non-magnetic in the annealed state, and some might become magnetic after cold working. However, even though the magnet can distinguish between chromium stainless steel and chrome-nickel stainless steel, it will not be able to correctly determine some special-purpose steel grades such as SS 410 and SS316. Therefore, it is close to impossible o distinguish the specific steel grades.

Identification with Copper Sulfate

Once you omit the oxide layer on the steel, put a drop of water and rub it with copper sulfate. It is primarily stainless steel if the steel doesn’t change color after rubbing. For example, if it becomes purple, it is non-magnetic steel, and therefore, it is high manganese steel. This also means that the magnetic steel is mostly ordinary or low alloy steel.


What does grinding mean? We are grinding the stainless steel on the grinder and observing the spark. The steel has denser knots if it’s a streamlined spark; it’s high manganese or manganese nitrogen steel with higher manganese content. If there is no knot, it is chrome steel or chrome-nickel stainless steel.

There are many more methods of finding out how to identify the right kind of stainless steel for your use. However, from SS 410 to SS316, they all have different usage. 

For example, Shalco Industries, also known as Shah Hastimal Laxmichand & Co., is a 22 years old brand in India famous for being the most reputed stainless steel supplier in India. Our core strength lies in carbon steel, alloy steel, duplex steel, etc. Shalco is globally known for its stainless steel products and various stainless steel grades such as stainless steel 304, SS 410, SS 316, and stainless steel 310.

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