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Stainless steels derive their name from their corrosion-resisting properties first observed in 1912. Two groups, working independently, concurrently discovered what came to be known as austenitic and ferritic stainless steels. Martensitic and precipitation-hardened stainless steels would be developed later. This chapter discusses each of these four major types of stainless steel and their respective compositions, properties, and uses. It explains how alloying, heat treating, and various hardening processes affect corrosion performance, and includes a detailed discussion on the optimization of martensitic stainless steels for cutlery applications.

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