The alloy known as stainless steel is comprised primarily of iron combined with a minimum of 10.5 percent chromium. Other metals, such as nickel, molybdenum, titanium or copper, are added to the alloy in small amounts to enhance the strength and toughness of it.
The addition of chromium to carbonized steel gives significant corrosion and oxidation resistances to the alloy. This is why it is referred to as "stainless," as it does not rust or break down in the presence of water. The chromium of the alloy creates a thin protective film of chromium oxide on the metal when exposed to air, preventing further oxidation, which could weaken the internal structure of the material. These properties make stainless steel a highly valuable product in wet environments, such as the kitchen.