Chemistry Science

Difference between Stainless Steel and Sterling Silver




  • Main Difference

    Stainless Steel is an alloy of iron that has more than 10% of chromium within their constituents while other elements get added within. On the other hand, Sterling Silver gets defined as the type of silver that has 92.5% purity and has 7.5% weight of other metals within them.

    Comparison Chart

    Basis of Distinction Stainless Steel Sterling Silver
    Definition An alloy of iron that has more than 10% of chromium within their constituents while other elements get added within. The type of silver that has 92.5% purity and has 7.5% weight of other metals within them.
    Applications Turbine, Engine, bricks for construction, cutting and other purposes. Mainly jewelry, where it gets used for making different ornaments.
    Nature It stays hard for a long time. It becomes hard after adding of other materials.
    Mixing Elements Nickel, molybdenum, titanium, copper, carbon and nitrogen. Mainly copper, as it gives hardness to the mixture when added in fixed amounts.

    Stainless Steel

    Stainless Steel is the most common form of steel that has chromium as the main constituent and exists in the tarnishing to rust condition while resisting it. Initially, this term became famous for the cutlery products that made from the same material, but with time it got many more meanings and applications. These types of steel are an alloy of iron that has more than 10% of chromium within their constituents while other elements get added within to give it distinctive properties such as strength, ductility, toughness, etc. Some of the common elements used for this purpose are nickel, molybdenum, titanium, copper which are other forms of metal, whereas some of the non-metals also get added such as carbon and nitrogen with each having their benefits and disadvantages. The primary requirement for such types is that they should stay resistant to the environment and therefore any steel selected must have cleared the necessary corrosion resistance requirements. At the same time, many other properties based on the mechanical, physical and chemical nature also come into consideration. It got discovered in 1913 during the experiment phase for different weapons. It does have a few types that are known as ferritic, austenitic, martensitic, duplex, and precipitation hardening. The first one based on chromium and small amounts of carbon added which stays less than 10%. Similarly, the next one is the most common and have nickel within them. The third have carbon levels much higher and up to 1%. Duplex is half ferritic and half austenitic and last one has copper and aluminum within them.

    Sterling Silver

    Sterling Silver gets defined as the type of silver that has 92.5% purity and has 7.5% weight of other metals within them. These types are most commonly used for jewelry making and have been the case from the beginning, but now several new applications have come into knowledge. The reason it became popular was that the fine silver, which becomes the purest form of silver was way too soft to make any products, in particular for an industry as it has 99.9% of purity level. The main metal used in sterling silver becomes copper as it gives hardness to the mixture when added in fixed amounts. It also keeps the original shape and texture alive while giving it ductility. Other metals exist that get added instead of copper, but the same level of hardness becomes difficult to achieve. Some of these metals include zinc and platinum. The other factors that have a role to play in the making include the work for labor who should make the item, especially jewelry and give it a distinct look. The silver with the highest level of purity has different stamps on it, with the most common being the fineness and quality mark. The prices of items also fluctuate per the amount of metal and the work done on them. It lasts for a long time, and in extreme cases when proper care was taken, it becomes part of the set for life and therefore separate compartments for such items exist.

    Key Differences

    • Stainless Steel is an alloy of iron that has more than 10% of chromium within their constituents while other elements get added within. On the other hand, Sterling Silver gets defined as the type of silver that has 92.5% purity and has 7.5% weight of other metals within them.
    • The nature of stainless steel is such that it stays hard for a long time and therefore gets used for many industrial applications. On the other hand, the quality of sterling silver is such that it becomes hard after adding of other materials and therefore gets used extensively in industry.
    • The primary uses of stainless steel include turbine, engine, bricks for construction, cutting and other purposes. On the flipside, the main uses of sterling silver come in jewelry where it gets used for making different ornaments.
    • Some of the common elements used for stainless steel purpose are nickel, molybdenum, titanium, copper which are other forms of metal, whereas some of the non-metals also get added such as carbon and nitrogen. Whereas, the primary metal used in sterling silver becomes copper as it gives hardness to the mixture when added in fixed amounts.
    • The main types of stainless steel include ferritic, austenitic, martensitic, duplex, and precipitation hardening. On the other hand, sterling silver itself is a kind of silver.