What are the qualities of surgical steel? I observed that when I kept an ice cube on an utensil made of surgical steel, it melted rapidly and the utensil stayed cold for a long while. Also,if that...

What are the qualities of surgical steel? 

I observed that when I kept an ice cube on an utensil made of surgical steel, it melted rapidly and the utensil stayed cold for a long while. Also,if that helps, when it is heated on a gas flame it stays hot for some time.

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pacorz | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

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Stainless steel is steel that contains 10%-26% chromium by weight, which creates its lustrous surface and corrosion resistance. Surgical instruments are generally made of type 316 stainless steel, which has at least 16% chromium plus very small amounts of carbon and nickel.

Surgical steel has to resist staining and pitting; it also has to be scratch-resistant, since even a small scratch on the surface could create a place for bacteria to multiply. Surgical steel must also be able to take and hold a very sharp edge. The intense heat required for sterilization in an autoclave can cause metals to anneal, losing the internal atomic structure that makes them hard. Surgical steel is formulated to resist annealing, so that is will continue to keep its edge after repeated sterilizations.

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