Stainless steels (or Inox) are characterised by greater resistance to oxidation and corrosion, especially when exposed to humid air or placed in fresh water, than 'carbon steels' (or common unalloyed steel). This capacity is mainly due to the near-absence of carbon and the presence of chromium, which is able to passivate and thus cover itself with a thin, adherent layer of oxides.
Stainless steel is available annealed, making it even more flexible, in BA, 2B, 2D, 2E finishes.
Stainless steel, like carbon steel, originates from hot rolling and then undergoes subsequent cold rolling to define the required finish.
In the case of the 2B finish, for example, the appearance is bright silvery grey; it is the most common finish for cold-rolled sheets.
After the rolling stage, stainless steel can be requested with certain surface aspects such as:
Brushed stainless steel or scotch brite
Glazed stainless steel: this process creates a very smooth surface which prevents dirt, chemicals and other residues from depositing on the surface of the material, which is why it is preferred for the food/pharmaceutical industry and the nautical sector.