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-   -   is there any way to tell if something is Stainless Steel (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f11/there-any-way-tell-if-something-stainless-steel-86086/)

Grinder12000 10-28-2008 01:48 AM

is there any way to tell if something is Stainless Steel
is there any way to tell of something is Stainless Steel.

Reason I ask is I purchased what I THOUGHT was a set of aluminum pots at ShopKo for $25.

However - it did not have a 5g pot.

So I decided to upgrade and went to a 5 gallon Stainless Steel pot for $40.

However - I look at the pots and the stainless steel looks EXACTLY like the aluminum.

I have SINCE purchased a 4 gallon stainless steel pot which looks WAY more convincing as a Steel.

SO - anyway to tell???

conpewter 10-28-2008 02:10 AM

weight is a good indicator but not conclusive if you don't have all the exact dimensions of the pot. Aluminum will tarnish/oxidize and SS will not, so if you boil water in the pot for a long time and it is still shiny... it is SS, otherwise aluminum

Jared311 10-28-2008 02:12 AM

You could always scratch the bottom side of both. Aluminum should be extremely easy to scratch while stainless steel will be a lot more difficult. Visually though, it sounds like you already know that its not stainless steel.

cellardoor 10-28-2008 02:35 AM

It depends on the grade of stainless steel but some stainless steel is magnetic where aluminum is not. It could be a quick way to tell. If a magnet sticks its defiantly stainless steel, if it doesn't it's either aluminum or stainless steel.

Grinder12000 10-28-2008 03:02 AM

TY - magnet sticks on the pot in question - never thought of that!!

TeleTwanger 10-28-2008 02:02 PM

yeah magnets will tell if a bridge plate is steel, though it could be plated too.

BigKahuna 10-28-2008 02:06 PM


Originally Posted by Grinder12000 (Post 921017)
TY - magnet sticks on the pot in question - never thought of that!!

Magnet will NOT stick to either stainless or Aluminum. NOT a good indicator. If a magnet sticks to it...you got super screwed!

If you have 2 pots, and you seriously can't tell them apart, you have got 2 pots made of the same metal.

Boerderij_Kabouter 10-28-2008 02:07 PM

Scratch test is the easiest way. Take a butter knife and try to scratch both. The aluminum will scratch but SS won't.

CarlLBC 10-28-2008 02:24 PM

will a magnet stick to SS?

Stainless steels are a very broad group of metals. The name was adopted as a generic term for steel alloys with a minimum of 10.5% chromium. The chromium gives the steel its 'stainless' properties - essentially corrosion resistance. On the surface of the metal, a very thin chromium-rich oxide layer is formed which is inert - i.e. it prevents the steel from rusting. The advantage of stainless steels over plated steels is that, if scratched or damaged, the steel will 'self-repair' as a new oxide layer is formed. In plated steels, scratches in the plate will often lead to corrosion of the steel underneath.

In general, the higher the proportion of chromium, the stronger the corrosion resistance of the steel. In addition to chromium, other metals are added to give the steel particular properties such as strength and malleability. Specifically nickel is used to strengthen the oxide layer.

As for whether they are magnetic, the answer is that it depends. There are several families of stainless steels with different physical properties. A basic stainless steel has a 'ferritic' structure and is magnetic. These are formed from the addition of chromium and can be hardened through the addition of carbon (making them 'martensitic') and are often used in cutlery. However, the most common stainless steels are 'austenitic' - these have a higher chromium content and nickel is also added. It is the nickel which modifies the physical structure of the steel and makes it non-magnetic.

So the answer is yes, the magnetic properties of stainless steel are very dependent on the elements added into the alloy, and specifically the addition of nickel can change the structure from magnetic to non-magnetic.

This was found on www.physlink.com

Grinder12000 10-28-2008 03:14 PM


If you have 2 pots, and you seriously can't tell them apart, you have got 2 pots made of the same metal.
I had 4 pots that I BELIEVE were aluminum ($22 for four). and one 5g pot ($45) that if put with the other four is an exact match. However - magnets do not stick to the four but does to the 5g.

Now I have a 4g Stainless Steel pot that LOOKS way way more expensive where the magnet sticks.

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