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Welcome to Diverseys internet training. Before we begin lets review what you will be seeing. Internet
training is almost like watching television, except that you have more control.
On our screen youll see a variety of different buttons (or icons) to push.
On the far left is the menu button. Clicking on this button will open a menu of this training module
into view. When the menu is open, you can use it to jump to any location within the training module.
Second from the right is the glossary button. A click on this button will open a panel containing a list of
definitions for words and terms you will see in this training module. A second click on the button will
close the glossary panel.
In the middle, you will see the audio button, containing a speaker icon and the familiar play, pause,
or stop buttons. You may use these buttons to play, pause, or stop the audio that begins automatically
on each screen.
Youll also see the back and next arrow at the bottom of your screen. Clicking on the arrow pointing
left will return you to the previous screen, while clicking the right arrow will advance you to the next
screen.
Immediately below the main viewing area, youll see a long, horizontal blue line. This line will indicate
the length and progress of the audio for each slide.
That concludes the brief operating instructions for this module. Continue on and enjoy your training
experience!
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Introduction
Stainless steel is used for countless jobs around the world. It is used to build machinery, make
household items like cutlery and add strength to buildings. Wherever it is used it also is expected to be
appealing to the eye. The picture on the cover slide is of the Gateway Arch in St. Louis. It is clad with 304
grade stainless steel
In modern food processing plants almost all food contact metal parts are made from stainless steel. The
reason is because stainless steel has strength, durability, corrosion resistance, chemical resistance,
cleanability and it will not contaminate the food it is in contact with. In this module we will examine this
valuable metal.
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What is Steel?

Pure iron is a soft, white, shiny metal which is very malleable, or moldable. Unfortunately it is very
reactive. It will oxidize or rust in the air. This reaction is accelerated when moisture is present and is
accelerated even more when the moisture contains salts. For this reason pure iron has few issues.
Iron ore, generally iron oxides or iron carbonate, is mined in numerous places around the world. In blast
furnaces carbon is added to the hot ore, first converting it to molten iron metal and then to steel as the
iron incorporates carbon. As it cools the steel is rolled and formed as required.
Steel contains 0.15 to 1.5% carbon. As the carbon content goes up the steel becomes harder, more
difficult to machine, lower-melting, less ductile and more wear resistant. Steel is less reactive than pure
iron and so it has numerous applications. However, it can still rust quickly in a moist environment.
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What is Stainless Steel?
Stainless steel is a corrosion resistant metal. In its simplest form it is iron alloyed with carbon and
chromium. Most stainless steel also contains nickel for greater corrosion resistance.
There are many grades or blends of stainless steel. The differences are due to different amounts of
chromium and nickel and due to the presence of other alloying metals such as molybdenum, titanium,
niobium, manganese and vanadium.
Stainless steel is made in an electric arc furnace which has carbon electrodes. Here the iron and the
necessary other metals plus scrap stainless steel are melted. The molten mixture is transferred to an
argon oxygen decarbonization vessel to reduce the carbon level. Stainless steel contains less carbon
than regular steel.
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Why is it Stainless?
Stainless steel is stainless primarily because of the chromium that is blended with the iron. There has to
be a minimum of 10.5% chromium in the steel for the protection to be reliable. The chromium reacts
with oxygen in the air to produce a chromium oxide layer on the surface of the steel. This layer is
invisible but it shields the bulk of the metal, meaning the iron, from oxygen and moisture so that the
iron present cannot rust. Higher levels of chromium improve the durability of the layer and the addition
of nickel and molybdenum enhance the corrosion protection but they are not a part of the protective
layer.
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Discovery
It is hard to identify one single person as the discoverer of stainless steel. The development of this
material is a process over a long period of time with some identifiable milestones along the way.

In 1821 Pierre Berthier of France noted the resistance of iron-chromium alloys to some acids. He
suggested its use in cutlery. However, at that time they could not produce the right combination of low
carbon and high chromium steel so the metal was too brittle to be practical.
In the 1890s Hans Goldschmidt of Germany developed the thermite process which produced carbonfree chromium allowing for improved production of stainless steels.
In 1911 Philip Monnartz of Germany reported on the relationship of chromium content and corrosion
resistance of various alloys of stainless steel.
Harry Brearley of England is most often credited with being the inventor of stainless steel. In 1913, while
working to improve gun barrels, he discovered and industrialized a nickel-free stainless steel alloy.
At the same time others in Germany and the US were developing improved alloys of stainless steel.
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Types
Stainless steel types are classified by crystalline structure.
Over 70% of stainless steel is austenitic 0.15% carbon, 16-18% chromium and 8-10% nickel. It has a
face centered cubic crystal, meaning each side of the basic cube has an atom at each corner and an
atom in the middle, like the arrangement of 5 on dice.
Ferritic stainless steel is less durable than austenitic. It contains 10.5-27% chromium with little or no
nickel. Most alloys include molybdenum to improve corrosion resistance. It has a body centered cubic
crystal meaning an atom at every corner and one directly in the center of the cube.
Martensitic stainless steel is not as corrosion resistant as the other 2 types but it is extremely strong.
Although somewhat brittle, and very machineable. It contains 12-14% chromium, no nickel, 0.2-1.0%
molybdenum and 0.1-1% carbon. It has an orthorhombic structure meaning its basic crystal looks like a
square box that has collapsed halfway to being flat.
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Alloys
There are over 150 grades of stainless steel commercially available but only a few of the grades account
for most of the sales. The list below gives many of the most common grades of various types and
identifies some of the major application areas.
200 Series austenitic 201, 202, 203, 204, 205

Chromium, nickel, manganese non-magnetic

Washing machine tubs, structural applications

300 Series austenitic 301,302, 303, 304, 305, 308, 309, 310, 316, 317, 321, 330

Chromium, nickel, molybdenum non-magnetic

Food equipment, chemical equipment, architecture

400 Series Ferritic 405, 409, 429, 430, 434, 436, 442, 446

Chromium magnetic

Automotive trim, cooking utensils

400 Series martensitic 403, 410, 414, 416, 420, 422, 431, 440

Chromium magnetic

Fasteners, pump shafts, turbine blades

Often you will see letters following the grade number. The numbers refer to a specific blend or alloy that
will be slightly different than the standard formula for that grade. When you see the letter L, it means
that grade has a maximum carbon content of 0.03% as opposed to up to 0.15%. Very low carbon
stainless steel is used in welding because too much carbon can interfere with the weld.
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Magnetic
Depending on the grade of stainless steel it is either magnetic or not magnetic. Series 300 stainless
contains chromium and nickel and it is not magnetic. Series 400 stainless steel contains chromium but
no nickel and it is magnetic.
In a food plant knowing this can come in handy. Sometimes stainless steel will start to corrode and you
believe it shouldnt because the equipment is made of a good grade of 300 series stainless steel. Take a
magnet and hold it to the metal surface. If you feel an attraction you know that it cannot be 300 series
stainless steel. The equipment was made with inferior grade 400 stainless steel that may not be suitable
for the application.
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Grade 304
The most common grade of stainless steel is 304. it is austenitic and contains 18% chromium and 8%
nickel. It is sometimes called dairy steel by people in the food processing industry because it is the
stainless steel of choice for modern dairy equipment. It is not just used in dairies, though. It is the most
common stainless steel used for equipment manufacture in most industries.
Grade 304 grade surgical steel can contain a slightly higher content of both chromium and nickel.

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Grade 316
Another grade of stainless steel encountered often in food processing is 316. This is a more corrosion
resistant grade than 304. it contains 16-18% chromium, 12-16% nickel and 2% molybdenum greatly
improves resistance to corrosion from chlorides so this grade of stainless steel is often used around salt
water.
Grade 316 stainless steel is used where processing conditions are more aggressive. In a high
temperature, short time pasteurizer (HTST) the plates are likely to be 316 to withstand the long times
the equipment is held at high temperatures.
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Finishes
The finish of a piece of stainless steel is created at the steel mill. There may be some buffing and
polishing where the steel is used but this is to remove the effects of assembling the parts.
In a food plant we are looking for the smoothest surface that is practical. This is because a rough surface
has microscopic irregularities that will allow food soils and microorganisms to attach and hide so they
become harder to remove. A rough surface also has a larger surface area providing more surface for
chemical reactions to take place. Chemical corrosion is the most common reaction we are trying to
avoid.
Recently a finish created by blasting glass beads against a stainless steel surface has become popular.
This is visually pleasing when used in items for the home but it should not be used in a food plant. This is
actually a very rough surface making it hard to clean and more likely to corrode.
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Recycling
Stainless steel is completely recyclable. Used or scrap stainless steel is simply collected and brought to a
processing facility. It is melted and added to freshly manufactured steel to produce the grade required.
Currently all new stainless steel contains 65-80% of recycled material.
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Temperature
Stainless steel retains its properties at temperature extremes. Depending on the specific alloy, it can be
used down at the temperature of liquid nitrogen which has a boiling point of -195oC (-319oF) or can be
used at temperatures up to 980oC (1800oF).
Melting points

Grade
304

1400 - 1455oC (2550 - 2650oF)

430

1425 - 1510oC (2600 - 2750oF)

410

1485 - 1535oC (2700 - 2790oF)

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Passivation
Passivation of stainless steel is a topic that can produce a variety of opinions as to its usefulness.
Currently it is generally accepted what passivation is and that it is a beneficial process.
When stainless steel is newly made it is cleaned of oils and greases used in the fabrication process, and
acid, usually nitric, is used to remove free iron from the surface. Slowly and naturally a passive layer
develops on the surface of the steel as the chromium at the surface reacts with oxygen in the air to
produce chromium oxide. The term passive refers to steel now being unreactive.
4Cr + 3O2  2Cr2O3
This layer is invisible and only a few molecules thick but it provides a barrier to prevent oxygen and
moisture from reaching the iron underneath. If oxygen got to the iron, the iron would oxidize, or rust,
producing an unwanted yellow to orange-red color and over the long term weakening the steel.
Chromium oxide is a durable, long lasting, hard material that will not flake off. Iron oxide is soft and will
develop into layers that will flake off always exposing fresh iron allowing the process to continue.
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Surface Damage
After stainless steel equipment has been installed and is in operation the existing passive layer can be
damaged or removed by physical abrasion or chemical reactions. It can also be weakened by chemical
reactions and physical damage due to expansion and contraction caused by heating and cooling. If this
damage happens faster than the passive layer can heal itself naturally, rusting will result.
The natural reaction of oxygen from the air combining with chromium from the steel to produce
chromium oxide may be interfered with by the processing going on or chemicals that are in contact with
the surface. The regeneration of the passive oxide layer can be produced by chemical methods.
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Passivation Nitric Acid
Chemical passivation is a two-step process. The first step is to remove any free iron or iron compound
that is on the surface, otherwise this iron will create a localized site where corrosion can continue. Acid

is used to dissolve away the iron and its compounds. The surface itself is not affected by this process.
The second step is to use an oxidizer to force the conversion of chromium metal on the surface to the
oxide form. This will create the uniform chromium oxide protective layer.
The most commonly used chemical method to passivate a stainless steel surface is to apply nitric acid.
Nitric is a strong mineral acid so it can quickly dissolve all iron compounds and other trace metals that
are on the surface. Nitric acid is also a strong oxidizer so it can generate the chromium oxide layer at the
same time.
Even though nitric acid is a strong chemical, high temperatures and extended times are used to ensure
the reaction is effective and complete. The application condition ranges are:
Time: 20 minutes to 2 hours
Temp: up to 70oC (160oF)
Conc: 20 to 50% by volume nitric acid
Note: This process, because of the hot nitric acid, is aggressive on gaskets.
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Other Methods
Citric acid is also sometimes used for passivating stainless steel. It is an acid that can effectively remove
iron and its compounds from surfaces.
Time: variable
Temp: ambient temp to moderate heating
Conc: 4 to 10% by weight
It is being promoted because it is safer to use than nitric acid, is biodegradable, produces fewer effluent
concerns and is also used as a food ingredient.
Citric acid does an excellent job of removing iron from surfaces which is the first step of traditional
passivation. It is not an oxidizer and so it cannot oxidize chromium which is the second step of classic
passivation. It therefore cannot build up the protective layer so this process depends on natural air
oxidation. Citric acid is mostly used on small parts that will not be used in aggressive chemical or
physical environments.
Dichromate is a very strong oxidizer that is sometimes added to nitric acid solution to improve the
oxidation of chromium. Dichromate is toxic and is not permitted in industrial effluent so food plants
tend to stay away from using it.
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When to Passivate
There is no simple rule that says when a piece of equipment must be passivated. The need will vary
according to how the equipment is being used. Some companies will choose to passivate processing
equipment once per year as a scheduled maintenance procedure. Other companies will do it more
frequently because they are processing foods that are aggressive on the stainless steel. Aggressive foods
are those that contain high chloride levels and are acidic, for example salsa, tomato juice, etc. Plants
that use water that has a naturally high chloride level may have to passivate more frequently since the
chloride will disrupt the protective layer. Pharmaceutical companies that use ultra pure water for
injection are known to passivate 4 times per year because the high purity water itself is hard on the
surface layer.
Many times companies will passivate when they notice iron deposits forming on the stainless steel and
it not coming from the water. There are test kits available from chemical supply firms that will test for
free surface iron. If a high level is found it could be time to passivate.
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Corrosion
Many people are under the impression that stainless steel cannot corrode. This is not the case. It can
corrode, however, corrosion happens more slowly compared to iron or steel and each type of corrosion
requires certain conditions to exist. When there is surface corrosion it is usually due to free iron
contamination at the surface or where the passive film has been broken revealing free iron underneath.
This rust is easily removed with acids.
Pitting
Pitting corrosion happens where very small breaks or imperfections exist in the passive film. Corrosion
starts and continues as a narrow pit. High chloride content, especially in an acid solution, aggravates this
effect.
Welds
Welding will affect stainless steel and if the weld is not properly performed, cleaned and passivated, it
can be the site of corrosion.
Stress Corrosion Cracking
Wherever stainless steel has been severely stressed, e.g. bending, or where there are residual stresses
from fabrication, the site of the stress has an increased likelihood of corroding.
Galvanic
This type of corrosion occurs when stainless steel is in contact with a dissimilar metal. Grade 304 bolts
could corrode if they were holding together grade 316 sheets.

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Care of Stainless Steel
The primary goal in caring for stainless steel is to maintain the protective coating it has. You do not want
to damage it because at the site of the damage a rust stain can develop quickly.
Never use a wire brush on stainless steel. It will break through the protective layer exposing iron that
will then rust. The brush will also leave scratches which can become harborage sites for microorganisms
and soil.
Green pads are still very popular in food processing plants. They are made of plastic but sanitation
employees can damage the stainless steels protective coating with aggressive rubbing.
Avoid using concentrated bleach on the surface. The solution can damage the protective layer. If you do
require an application of a strong bleach solution, use it for as short a time as possible and immediately
rinse with lots of potable water.