Understanding stainless steel cookware comes down to the metallurgy. The composition and reactivity of different steels determine how they will cook and last over a lifetime. Let's get down to the nitty-gritty.
Stainless Steel Primer
Multiclad stainless steel cookware is built by combining layers of different metals, generally using aluminum in the interior for even & efficient heating, and stainless steel on the interior and exterior for strength and corrosions resistance.
The combination of these materials creates an ideal form of cookware, combining durability with great cooking performance. Most stainless steel cookware you can buy is 3 to 5 layers of metals, using a 18/10 stainless steel interior and 18/0 stainless steel exterior.
Now that’s a whole bunch of technical jargon. Let's break down what all of those numbers mean and see how we’re improving on what everyone else is doing.
18/10 versus 18/0 steel
Stainless steel is what you get when you combine iron with chromium and carbon. Other metal elements such as nickel can also be added to increase corrosion resistance. 18/10 and 18/0 simply refer to the percentage of the alloy that is made out of chromium and nickel - that is, 18/10 is composed of 18% chromium and 10% nickel.
18/10 (also known as Type 304) is widely used as the interior cooking layer on multiclad stainless steel cookware and is called an austenitic stainless steel. On the other hand, 18/0 (also known as Type 400) is called a ferritic stainless steel. The absence of nickel and higher iron content of 18/0 makes it magnetic, which you need to make the cookware compatible with induction cooktops. This type of steel is used as the exterior layer of most cookware.
General and Pitting Corrosion
Corrosion is the natural process by which metals gradually break down. Stainless steel is designed to be highly resistant to corrosion, but different stainless steel compositions can corrode under certain circumstances.
For instance, as a result of its lower nickel and higher iron contents, 18/0 stainless steel is among the least corrosion-resistant stainless steels, and is susceptible to rust under some conditions. This is known as general corrosion, which will dull your cookware’s exterior over time from its contact with its environment.
18/10 stainless steel is significantly more resistant to general corrosion than 18/0, but is vulnerable to pitting corrosion under certain circumstances. Pitting corrosion takes place directly on the surface of cookware, and can eat through the surface layer of stainless steel, potentially exposing the aluminum metal underneath and leaching metal into your food.
Salt corrosion is especially damaging to 18/10 stainless steel. Cooking conditions are perfect for this type of corrosion: combining water, salt, and high temperature generates high concentrations of chloride ions that wear down the thin surface layer of stainless steel.
316Ti Stainless Steel Interior
316Ti is an austenitic stainless steel composed of 16% chromium and 10% nickel, with added molybdenum and titanium for better corrosion resistance. We chose to use 316Ti for our cooking surface because it is 20 times more resistant to salt corrosion than 18/10 stainless steel, meaning it won’t degrade over its lifetime of use or leach metals into your food.
We didn’t want to sacrifice the long-term beauty and durability of our cookware, so we use a titanium-strengthened 439 stainless steel that is both ferritic and corrosion-resistant.
Start with the Ingredients
Just like any great meal, the quality of cookware comes down to its ingredients. Other ingredients might be cheaper to buy or easier to prepare, but sacrifice the integrity of the end result. We’re dedicated to making great cookware for a lifetime of memorable meals.