You probably come into contact with stainless steel multiple times a day, every day of your life. It’s everywhere and is an important material in the appliances and equipment that we use daily. But not every type of stainless steel has the same properties or, therefore, the same uses. At Alliant Metals, stainless steel is what we do, and if you read other posts on our blog, you’ll see many examples of stainless steel grades, their compositions, and uses. In this post, we’re going to take a look at 17-4PH stainless steel.
The PH stands for “precipitated hardening,” which means that the steel is exposed to heat for an extended period of time to increase its yield strength. PH stainless steels are also very resistant to corrosion, making them useful in multiple applications and industries. As a martensitic steel, 17-4PH stainless steel is resilient because of both its crystalline structure and its exposure to heat.
Being both hard and corrosion-resistant, 17-4PH stainless steel is ideal for applications across several important industries. Let’s take a look at just a few.
Nuclear power uses uranium—specifically, U-235—as fuel. The process that creates nuclear power results in spent fuel, and that spent fuel has to go somewhere. That somewhere is a safe storage device, or dry cask, that can be easily and securely welded shut. 17-4PH steel is a great material for these casks because of its excellent welding properties.
Being both corrosion-resistant and very strong makes 17-4PH stainless steel the perfect alloy for marine applications. Marine vessels need to withstand a lot of strain as well as be resistant to corrosion by salt water.
Although the energy industry is trying to move towards cleaner, renewable resources, oil is still incredibly important. Rigs extract oil from very low depths, well below sea level. At those depths, pressure is very high. The equipment needs enough strength to withstand the pressure. Also, just like marine vessels, it needs to be resistant to corrosion, both on and offshore.