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topic 5692

Stainless Steel Contamination Cause?


What causes light blue contamination/oxidation on stainless steel?

Ian Davies
- Stoke, UK


The blue color that you see is a thin film of oxides. The film color will vary with its thickness until the thickness is sufficient to reflects it true color. (I think that this will be a thickness exceeding the wavelength of visible light.)

The most common cause of a thin oxide film on stainless steel is probably elevated temperature exposure. In air, a light straw color will appear at about 800F. The light blue color will probably occur at a temperature of about 1000F. The oxide film thickness and color will vary with the alloy and the time at temperature.

larry hanke
Larry Hanke
materials testing laboratory
Minneapolis, Minnesota

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