Stainless steel is such an adaptable material, it can be finished in numerous ways from graining to polishing and even bead blasting. There are many different grades of stainless steel and we work with many of them. From High Temperature varieties for the furnace industry to food grades and also the standard 304.
Stainless steel can be divided into five groups
Austenitic stainless steels are classified in the 200 and 300 series, with 16% to 30% chromium and 2% to 20% nickel for enhanced surface quality, formability, increased corrosion and wear resistance. These steels are the most popular grades of stainless produced due to their excellent formability and corrosion resistance. Depending on the composition, some austenitics do become somewhat magnetic when cold worked. Austenitics are used for automotive trim, cookware, food and beverage equipment, processing equipment, and a variety of industrial applications.
Martensitic stainless steels are characterized by high strength and hardness in the heat treated condition. Martensitic stainless alloys generally contain 11 – 17% chromium with 0.15 – 0.63% carbon. Martensitic grades are magnetic. Applications for the martensitic stainless steels include cutlery, surgical and dental instruments, springs and blades.
Ferritic stainless steels are classified in the 400 series, usually with 10% to 30% chromium content, and are often chosen for their excellent corrosion resistance and elevated temperature oxidation resistance. With greater strength than carbon steels, ferritics provide an advantage in many applications where thinner materials and reduced weight are necessary, such as automotive emission control systems. Typical applications for ferritic stainless steels include petrochemical, exhaust systems and furnaces.
Duplex stainless steels contain a mixture of austenite and ferrite in their structure, and exhibit characteristics of both phases with higher strength and ductility. Nitrogen is added to the second generation duplex alloys and provides strength and improved weldability. Typical applications for duplex alloys are heat exchangers, tubes, pipes, pressure vessels and tanks in the oil and gas and chemical processing industries.
Precipitation Hardening stainless steels are classified as martensitic or semi-austenitic. They develop their high strength and hardness through a variety of heat treatments resulting in a very high strength-to-weight ratio. Precipitation Hardened grades achieve high tensile properties in heat-treated conditions. Applications for these steels include aerospace components, flat springs, and retaining rings.