How To Choose The Right Stainless Steel Grade?

Stainless Steel 304 Sheets

What is Stainless Steel?

Possessing qualities such as great corrosion resistance, cleanliness, and strength, stainless steel is a frequently used material in a variety of applications, including medical devices, chemical storage, transportation, and power generation. All stainless steel grades are not created equal, even though there are more than 3,500 different steel grades.

How To Choose The Right Stainless Steel Grade

The Best Metal To Use Will Depend On The Operating Environment

Consider the circumstances that your finished product will encounter to decide which grade of steel will hold up best in a particular setting. The performance of stainless steel is adversely affected by crevice corrosion, extremely low pH, high stresses, and high temperatures. The typical kinds of 316 and 304 alloys, which are steels in the austenitic series, maintain their strength, hardness, and corrosion-resistant qualities over the widest temperature range.

The primary consideration for selecting austenitic Stainless Steel 304 Sheets is corrosion resistance. With the inclusion of molybdenum, Type 316 even resists the chloride ions present in chemical processing and marine applications. High-quality structural design is the best barrier against corrosion with any steel grade.

Considering Top 3 Mechanical Qualities

As an alloying component, chromium makes up 10–30% of stainless steel, which helps the material resist corrosion. The highest toughness and ductility among stainless grades are provided by the nickel addition in austenitic grades. The grades with the highest content of chromium, molybdenum, and nickel are the most corrosion-resistant. 

When selecting a stainless steel grade, alloy composition is not the only factor to take into account. Processing the material also has an impact on how it responds mechanically. Steel’s overall quality can be impacted by the length of time it is maintained at various temperatures during the cooling process as well as the overall speed of cooling.

While austenitic stainless steel can be hardened using cold working techniques like rolling, bending, swaging, or drawing at temperatures below the recrystallization temperature, carbon steel can only be made harder through heat treatment. Be mindful of reducing other qualities like elongation and impact resistance while increasing hardness through cold working operations.

Consider The Form and Process

Austenitic stainless steel is frequently found in the shapes of bars, wire, tubes, pipes, sheets, and plates; however, the majority of these products need to be further formed or machined before they can be utilized for a certain application.

For instance, stainless steel tubing may need to be bent, wound, redrawn, machined, welded, or have the ends formed. Choose a machining rate that reduces the risk of work hardening if your stainless steel will be subjected to machining operations such as CNC machining, drilling, reaming, bevel cutting, chamfering, knurling, or threading. Alternatively, select a sulfur-containing “free-machining” grade.

Embrittlement in the weld region is a major hazard when welding any stainless steel components. To lessen carbide production, choose a lower carbon grade like 304, 304L, or 316L.

Control Material Availability and Cost

Although austenitic stainless steels with high performance are initially the most expensive, they are a wise investment. Reduced maintenance, downtime, and replacement costs can be achieved by selecting a corrosion-resistant material that is appropriate for the application.

How To Choose The Right Stainless Steel Grade?

by SPARSH IMPEX time to read: 2 min