What are the Different Types and Properties of Stainless Steel Alloys
One of the major reasons why stainless steel is known as a miracle metal is its versatility. Stainless steel is a metal with a composition that can be altered to fabricate another type of metal to suit the requirements of a particular application or industrial task. This means that the basic properties of stainless steel, including strength, flexibility, malleability and resistance to corrosion, staining and extreme temperatures, can be utilized to the fullest in a wider range of situations.
Different stainless steel alloys are fabricated by creating a composition of different metals like chromium, nickel and zinc etc. during the manufacturing process. This leads to accentuation of different desirable properties in the manufactured alloy that are used for specific working environments.
What are the Basic Types of Stainless Steel and What are Their Properties?
There are basically 5 different types of stainless steel that are used for varied industrial purposes and applications, depending upon their composition and specific properties. Each of them is backed by a certain level of benefits that render them their natural usability, uniqueness and advantages over their counterparts.
- Austenitic: This steel is the most common in use and is popularly known as the 300 series. Made of 18% chromium and 8% nickel, this stainless steel also carries elements like nitrogen and manganese. This versatile type accounts for more than 70% of total steel production. It is highly resistant to corrosion. Being flexible, this type is used for drawing wires and fabricating thin sheets.
- Martensitic: This is the most commercially utilized steel that is most commonly used for making cutleries. Majorly made of high percentage of carbon and 18% chromium, this particular type also contains traces of molybdenum and nickel. This variety is less durable but can be used in high temperature; thanks to its hardness. Besides, it can also resist corrosion caused by environmental factors.
- Ferritic: Popularly known as 400 series, this type contains 10.5% of carbon along with 27% chromium. Ferritic steel is mainly known for its magnetic properties, and is not as ductile as other varieties like martensitic and austenitic. It doesn’t get hardened when treated with extreme heat and is highly resistant to corrosion; this makes it of great use in sea water. This type is ideally used for making of boilers, washing machines, exhaust systems and car trims.
- Duplex: When the basic components of austenitic and Ferritic steel are mixed it leads to the composition of duplex steel, which is known for its high content of chromium and low content of nickel. Being the concoction of two different variety of steel, this type portrays the best of both. Duplex is hence known for certain desirable properties such as resistance to corrosion, magnetism, ability to withstand stress and flexibility. These specific qualities of duplex steel make it a favorable metal for usage in marine conditions.
- Precipitation Hardening: This type of stainless steel is basically austenitic in nature and comes with the addition of other elements as well. On alteration, this metal gains toughness, hardness and durability. On heating to a sufficiently high temperature, this steel type can be shaped into any favorable form. This type is usually required for the manufacturing of aircraft parts and creation of shafts and pumps.