I is for Inox

I confess that initially I was stuck for something to write on a nautical theme that started with ‘I’. ‘Island’ was just too easy and not necessarily nautical, so I settled on Inox. Inox, from the French acier inoxydable, is the term used in Europe for stainless steel. ‘Stainless steel’, by the way, is bit of a misnomer. Steel is purified and heat treated iron with a bit of carbon added to it to harden it. Inox, or stainless, is a true alloy with up to 20% chrome and 37% nickel. Like Bronze is a combination of copper and tin or brass is a combination of copper and zinc, stainless steels are a true amalgam, not simply a treated form of iron. Most Inox alloys are not even magnetic. Inox is of course, widely used in the marine industry because of its resistance to rusting and corrosion. But this is not a perfect world, and neither is Inox. Pardon my delving into engineering here, but Inox, paradoxically, depends upon oxygen to maintain its stainless quality. It’s the chromium that does it, because when the chromium in Inox is exposed to oxygen it forms an inert layer of oxidation that protects the underlying metal. So on deck or underwater where there is a good supply of oxygen, there is no problem. However, if it’s a propeller shaft enclosed in a stern tube, a keel bolt surrounded by wood or other part simply covered with marine growth, thus deprived of oxygen and in sea water, the oxidized layer of chromium breaks down, leaving it to rust and corrode like ordinary steel. That’s one reason your propeller shaft gland (on inboard engines) should drip a bit, to feed oxygen to the propeller shaft.

swiss army knife first knife_2020046a Swiss Army Knife lo

One little tidbit that’s’ not really really nautical, but the name Victorinox, the company that makes Swiss Army Knives, comes from the two words Victoria and Inox shoved together. The founder of the company Karl Elsener was supported greatly by his mother Victoria in his business endeavours, so when she passed away he named the company after her and the name of the material he used for his famous knives. This was in 1891 that he first started supplying knives to the Swiss army, that’s the one on the left above. Thanks, Mom.

All right, enough engineering. Tomorrow will be simpler, I swear.

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6 thoughts on “I is for Inox

  1. You are on my list to check if you are being part of the A to Z Challenge.

    THANK YOU for being up to the letter “I”…
    Jeremy [Retro]
    AtoZ Challenge Co-Host [2015]

    There’s no earthly way of knowing.
    Which direction we are going!

    HOLLYWOOD NUTS!
    Come Visit: You know you want to know if me or Hollywood… is Nuts?

    • Thank you kindly, and thanks for organizing this and keeping up with us. It’s a challenge and a helluva lot of fun! Having trouble coming up with an ‘x’ though …..

  2. I have wondered whether the challenge would have been less challenging if I’d chosen a theme and explored that in depth. I ended up loosely writing about my favourite things and that has I guess become my theme but it’s seen me dive deep in all sorts of directions, which has been fabulous in terms of knowledge expansion but my brain is feeling like it’s about to burst and I am currently on holidays and don’t want to spend the whole time at the laptop. Some of my posts are quite lengthy too but are long stories, which really couldn’t be cut short. So well done on finding your I.
    Tomorrow, I’ll actually be having a nautical theme myself as I write about Kayaking with the Dogs.

    • You’re doing great. I’ve enjoyed your posts, though I’ve not commented as much as I should have. I’m always concerned that if I just wing off a comment without really considering what I’m saying I’ll say something I shouldn’t and hurt someone’s feelings when that was not my intent. You have a great voice, so keep it up. Thanks!

      • Thanks so much, Bob. While it’s good to be prudent with the comments, people also want to hear your opinion and I love being involved in various discussions. I’m quite the extrovert but have learned over the years to think more before I blurt things out.
        Thanks for the positive feedback. Much appreciated. Blogging regularly has really helped me find and identify my voice and it was actually quite different to what I’d expected. Quite often, there’s a fair bit of humour whereas I’m quite a sensitive person but I think I’ve toughened up through my challenges. I also find the humour helps me deal with those challenges better too. Poke my tongue out at adversity and keep smiling!

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