Common Questions Regarding 420 Stainless Steel

As a leading stainless steel distributor, our team at Alliant Metals has been asked nearly every question under the sun about different stainless steel grades and forms, especially for our 420F and 420 stainless steel. With over 30 years of industry experience, we’ve collected some of our most frequently asked questions from our customers and compiled them in this article.


What is the difference between steel and stainless steel?

One component of ordinary steel that’s inevitable is rust. When exposed to different elements, the surface layer breaks down, leaving customers with an unsightly result. However, stainless steel contains a minimum of 10% chromium. This level of chromium reacts with oxygen creating a secure, protective layer over the steel, helping to resist corrosion.


Is stainless steel magnetic?

To the surprise of many, there are various types of stainless steel. Depending on the mixture of metals in stainless steel, which creates a particular atomic arrangement, some variations are magnetic, and some are not.  400 series such as 420F stainless, 17-4 and 15-5 are some of the magnetic steels, whereas the 300 series such as 303, 304, 316 are non-magnetic.


Can stainless steel be used for extreme temperatures?

Yes, stainless steel performs well in both extreme hot and cold temperatures, including wet environments. For this reason alone, stainless steel is found in many industries that rely on strong metal alloys to hold up against the harshest conditions.


What forms of stainless steel exist?

There are various types of stainless steel, so, likewise, the forms will vary. Alliant Metals can procure round, square, hex, flat, plate, sheet, round tube/pipe, square tube/pipe, rectangular tube/pipe, and angles. Refer to our products page to learn more about which forms work with what types of stainless steel.


Can stainless steel be machined?

Though all forms of stainless steel are durable, it is a complicated metal to machine because of the high alloy content. That said, stainless steel has been created to use in free-machining, such as 420F stainless steel. 420F stainless steel is not only easy to machine but also easy to grind and polish due to the sulfur content.

For machinability ratings, visit our product page for further details.


Which applications are best for 420 stainless steel?

420 stainless steel is used in a variety of applications including, but not exclusive to:

  • Hand tools
  • Dental instruments
  • Surgical equipment
  • Cutlery
  • Pump shafts
  • Valves

With additional questions about our products and services, please contact our team directly at (800) 543-1453.


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