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Will Stainless Steel Melt in Fire?

stainless steel fire rating

Stainless Steel, also known as Inox steel is one of the most versatile metals used in the industry. This Nickel-Chromium alloy is highly appreciated because of the Resistivity they offer against Corrosion. This resistivity is achieved because of the added chromium content in them. Stainless Steel is rolled in various products such as Sheets, Plates, Bars, Wire, Tubing, Flanges, etc. Low maintenance and familiar luster make stainless steel ideal for various applications across numerous industries. They are used for various applications such as manufacturing of surgical instruments, cutlery equipment, cooking ware, electronic appliances; construction of all large and small buildings, etc. When compared to the general plastic polymers, the heat resistance, tolerance in impact of heat and tensile strength of the Steel outstrips that of, Plastic polymers. Plastic polymers don’t show high Heat resistance. Their ability to bear is heat is not at all near to that of Stainless Steel.

Melting Point of Stainless Steel

Stainless Steel is found in countless different formulations. They are primarily divided into 3 categories: Austenitic, Ferritic and Martensitic. Austenitic steels contain grades such as 304 and 316, Ferritic Steels contain grades such as 430 and 434 and Martensitic Steels contain grades such as 410 and 420. All of these grades of Stainless Steel show different temperature tolerances and melting points. Given Below are the different grades with different temperatures where they start to Melt.

1Grade 304. 1400-1450°C (2552-2642°F)
2Grade 316. 1375-1400°C (2507-2552°F)
3Grade 430. 1425-1510°C (2597-2750°F)
4Grade 434. 1426-1510°C (2600-2750°F)
5Grade 420. 1450-1510°C (2642-2750°F)
6Grade 410. 1480-1530°C (2696-2786°F)

As mentioned above, the melting Points of all the grades are expressed in a range of temperatures. This is because there is still the possibility of small variations in the formulation which can affect the melting point, even within a specific alloy of stainless steel. There is a wide array of Stainless steel grades, and they can’t all be discussed here. All the other Grades of the Stainless steel are similar to the above-mentioned Grades.

While the above-mentioned ranges of temperatures are Melting points, the recommended maximum temperature for application of the Stainless steel can be much lower than the above-mentioned temperatures.

Melting point should not be taken as heat resistance of Stainless Steel.

Several materials are known to relegate their strength at Higher temperatures. Stainless Steel is not different. It is more susceptible to bending and loses its rigidity in elevated temperatures. Even before the melting point is reached, the metal starts losing its strength.

The High Chromium helps the Stainless Steel to achieve resistance to scaling at increased temperatures and wet corrosion resistance. It also helps them to achieve high temperature strength. The ability to resist alteration when exposed to long temperatures is known to as the Creep Strength of the Stainless Steel. But the low carbon containing standards of the Stainless steel don’t perform well at high temperatures. Similar to Duplex Stainless steel, the lower carbon containing sheets also have excellent creep resistance but they can’t resist the embrittlement caused when they are performing in temperatures above about 350°C, restricting their application below those temperatures. For example, if the Stainless Steel alloy retains its 100% structural integrity at 850°C, it might lose 50% of its integrity at 1000°C. This loss of stability and strength can result in the bending and breaking of the alloy.

Hence, it is crucial to check whether the alloy performs well in higher environments, other than only checking the melting point of the alloy. High temperatures could still do damage in other ways, even if your performed process didn’t reach the stainless steel’s melting point temperatures. Several factors go into consideration before selecting the right metal for high-temperature applications.

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