Project Introduction

I. Introduction (submission 1, draft due 2/5)

Name of Material Product

Provide a concise introduction. What are some common applications of this material product? Where does it appear in the built environment? How long has it been in use? Has it remained consistent throughout time, or has it changed throughout its evolution? (minimum: 50 words)

Common Perceptions

How is this product commonly perceived? What is your original conception of this product before diving into your investigation? Do you believe others view this product in the same way that you do, and why or why not? (minimum: 100 words)

Burning Questions

What questions do you have about this product at the beginning of this investigation? What do you hope to find out about this material product? What do you think others would like to know? (minimum: 3 questions)

II. Origins (submission 2, draft due 2/26)

Material Ingredients

What are the key material ingredients in this product? Which materials are most representative, either by quantity or exposure? Which materials are fundamental to this product, and which are replaceable? You might consider a list format for this section (see below). Or, you may prefer to stick with exposition. The choice is up to you. (minimum: 3 ingredients)

The key ingredients in stainless steel are iron, carbon, and chromium — elements that are essential to creating stainless steel. Steel is an alloy of iron and carbon, while stainless steel gets its corrosion-resistant properties from chromium. Iron is the dominant material in stainless steel, and though carbon is necessary, it must be included in small quantities (anywhere from 0.03% to greater than 1%). At least 11% of the chemical makeup of stainless steel consists of chromium. Most types of stainless steel contain some mix of these three elements, however, nickel, manganese, nitrogen, molybdenum, and other elements can be added in addition to chromium. In fact, different proportions of these additional elements can create different types of stainless steel that vary in their crystalline structure.


Earliest Known Production of Steel (1800 B.C.): Pieces of ironware dating back to 1800 BC are found in modern-day Turkey, and steel weapons from around the same time are found on the Iberian Peninsula. Steel production was absolutely necessary for paving the way for stainless steel production.

Discovery of Chromium (1797): The element chromium — an indispensable ingredient in stainless steel — was discovered by French scientist Louis Vauquelin, who showed his findings to the French Academy the following year in 1798.

Chromium Properties are Observed (Early 1800s): Scientists James Stoddart, Michael Faraday, and Robert Mallet discover that chromium contains oxidizing-resistant properties. Chromium-containing alloys would not corrode in the presence of oxygen. These discoveries led to the production of chromium steels.

Production of Chromium Steel (1840s): Chromium steels are produced by steelmakers in Sheffield, England and the Krupp Company for human use (e.g., cannons). These events lead to chromium steel used in construction.

Chromium Steel used in Construction (1869): J. Baur begins producing steel that contains chromium for constructing bridges in Brooklyn and a U.S. patent is issued.

Scientific Experimentation with Chromium Steel (Early 1900s): Researchers, including Leon Guillet of France, experiment with alloys and create was is today known as stainless steel.

Patent for Austenitic Stainless Steel (1912): Two engineers from Krupp patented austenitic stainless steel in Germany, and many similar attempts to patent different types of stainless steel soon followed.

More Types of Stainless Steel Produced (1912–1919): Ferritic and martensitic stainless steel are patented and industrialized

American Stainless Steel Corporation is Formed (1912–1919): Harry Brearley and Elwood Haynes of England and the U.S., respectively, come together and pool their funds to create the American Stainless Steel Corporation, a business that licensed out steelmaking to many stainless steel manufacturers across the country.

Innovation in Stainless Steel (1950s, 1960s): Scientific advancements allowed for stainless steel to be produced in greater quantities and more affordably. These include the argon oxygen decarburization to remove carbon and sulfur, continuous casting and hot strip rolling, and Sendzimir cold rolling mill. These advancements created the stainless steel we know today.



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