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Ferritic vs Martensitic Steel – What’s the Difference

Ferritic Vs Martensitic Steel

Steel alloys are essential for various applications, from automotive parts to medical equipment. But with so many different steel alloys available on the market, it can be difficult to understand which alloy is best for your project and why. In this blog post, we’ll explore the differences between ferritic and martensitic steel alloys and how they can be used in different scenarios.

What is Ferritic Steel?

Ferritic steels are stainless steels that contain a minimum of 10% chromium, making them highly resistant to corrosion. This type of steel also has excellent formability and weldability, allowing them to be used in various applications. The low-carbon content of these steels prevents them from becoming too hard or brittle after welding or forming, which makes them an ideal choice for projects requiring high strength and ductility. Furthermore, ferritic stainless steels have good thermal conductivity, making them suitable for heat exchangers and other components exposed to high temperatures.

What is Martensitic Steel?

Martensitic steels are a type of stainless steel alloy that contains more than 11% chromium. They are known for their superior strength and hardness compared to other stainless steel. As such, these alloys are often used in applications requiring high levels of abrasion resistance or wearability—such as industrial machinery components—and components exposed to extreme temperature fluctuations or corrosive environments. Unlike ferritic steels, martensitic alloys are not widely used due to their tendency to become brittle when welded or formed into shapes at room temperature.

Difference Between Ferritic and Martensitic Steel

  • Ferritic steels are magnetic, while martensitic steels are not.
  • Ferritic steels are less hardenable than martensitic steels.
  • Ferritic steels have lower carbon content than martensitic steels.
  • Ferritic steels are less brittle than martensitic steels.
  • Martensitic steels can be heat treated harder and stronger than ferritic steels.


When selecting a steel alloy for your project, it’s important to consider the properties you need while keeping in mind the limitations posed by each material type. In general, ferritic stainless steel is preferred over martensitic steel in formability and weldability due to its higher ductility level. On the other hand, martensitic steel provides superior hardness and abrasion resistance compared to ferritic alloys—but keep in mind that it cannot be shaped without compromising its structural integrity due to its brittleness at room temperature. Ultimately, understanding the characteristics of each type of steel helps you make an informed decision about which material will best suit your needs.

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