Learn about the stories behind 10 extraordinary inventions. In this video, you'll learn about stainless steel.
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Phillip Silverman: What I am going to do now is actually take the metal samples and place them into the flame and see what we get in terms of their chemical reactivity. When we take the regular iron, we take it put that in the flame, you see that this is actually oxidizing fairly well. It's burning. If you take it out of the flame, the oxidation can continue whereas if we take steel, a stainless steel, put this in the flame, it will melt, here it isn't oxidizing, it's not continuing to burn even when we take it out of the flame. There is enough heat to melt it but there is not enough heat to actually cause the burn through, there were oxides in there and actually cause the steel to actually combust.