There are many types of stainless steel, each with its own unique properties. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the most common types of stainless steel and their uses. So, what are the different types of stainless steel? Let’s find out!
What is stainless steel?
Stainless steel is an alloy of steel and chromium, with a minimum chromium content of 10.5% by mass. Stainless steel has some important and versatile properties, including its low cost, high strength, resistance to staining, corrosion, and rusting, and flashier luster. Based on their composition, industrial-grade stainless steel varieties are classified as austenitic, martensitic, or ferritic. Austenitic is a chromium-nickel-iron alloy (Cr 16%–26%, Ni 6%–22, and low carbon content), Martensitic is a chromium-iron alloy (Cr 10.5%–17%, with some carbon content), and Ferritic is a chromium-iron alloy (Cr 17%–27%, with a low carbon content). Many kitchen utensils are made of ferritic stainless steel.
Types of Stainless Steel
Stainless steel has been a favorite choice for cookware and other functional items due to its resilience, affordability, and durability. There are many different types of stainless steel available on the market today; each type possessing unique characteristics that make it suitable for specific applications. The most commonly used grades are 304 and 316, both renowned for their flexibly while maintaining good corrosion resistance. Type 410 is a good choice for machining because of its hardenability, while 17-4 PH brings high strength and is often found in applications involving nuclear reactors. No matter what the application, there’s no doubt that one of these stainless steel variants will get the job done right!
Austenitic Stainless Steel
Austenitic stainless steel is the most common type of stainless steel. Compared to other types of stainless steels, austenitic stainless steels are extremely high in nickel content. They will generally have high levels of chromium, nitrogen, and molybdenum.
The most common austenitic steel is grade 304, also known as 18/8, because it contains 18% chromium and 8% nickel. Austenitic steels are widely used in the aerospace and food-processing industries.
Generally, the physical properties of austenitic steel are similar to those of ferritic and martensitic steels. The chemical composition differs.
Ferritic Stainless Steel
Ferritic stainless steels are stainless steels that contain trace amounts of carbon. Carbon contents in ferritic stainless steels typically do not exceed 0.10%. Other minerals (such as molybdenum) can be added to these steels, but chromium is the primary component.
Ferritic stainless steels are magnetic and are widely used because of their resistance to stress corrosion cracking. As a result, they’re frequently used in products that will come into contact with potentially corrosive materials. Automobile components, kitchen cookware, and industrial entities are examples of these products.
Duplex Stainless Steel
Duplex stainless steels are essentially ferritic and austenitic stainless steels combined. They are stronger than ferritic and austenitic stainless steels but contain less nickel than austenitic steels. As a result, they are less expensive than austenitic steels.
The underwater oil industry makes extensive use of duplex stainless steel. This is primarily due to its corrosion resistance, which allows it to withstand the corrosive nature of salt water for extended periods.
Duplex stainless steels are malleable and weldable and can be formed into various components. Two of the more common types of duplex stainless steel include S31803 stainless steel and S32205 stainless steel.
Martensitic Stainless Steel
Martensitic stainless steels are structurally similar to ferritic stainless steels, with the only significant difference being their carbon percentages. While carbon percentages in ferritic stainless steel remain below 0.10%, carbon percentages in martensitic stainless steel hover around 1%.
This difference in carbon percentages is significant because it allows for extensive hardening of martensitic stainless steels. This steel is typically used in situations that require high strength but only average corrosion resistance. It is commonly used in valves and pumps, but it has many other applications as well.
Alloys 431 and 420S45 are two martensitic stainless steel.
As you can see, there are many types of stainless steel to choose from. But with so many options, how do you know which type is best for your next project? We can help. Our team of experts have years of experience working with all types of stainless steel and can help you find the perfect match for your needs. Give us a call today to learn more about our services or visit our website to browse our selection of stainless steel products.
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