Selecting the Right Grade of Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is among the best corrosion resistance material out there. But that is not merely it; stainless steel has a lot of benefits including excellent formability, high strength-to-weight ratio, low maintenance, ability to recycle, etc. Owing to its versatility, stainless steel has a wide range of application. Stainless steel comes in a lot of different grades, and we will help you pick out the best for the job.

  1. Formability

If the application needs stainless steel with good formability, try not to use the martensitic category of stainless steel. Instead, you should opt for the austenitic grade (304 or ferritic grade (430) of stainless steel. Moreover, Martensitic stainless steel can get brittle and lacks adequate formability.

  1. For Welding

Welding stainless steel is completely different from welding carbon steel as there are high chances of hot stress corrosion cracking, intergranular corrosion, etc. Austenitic group of stainless steel are among the most welded stainless steel. If you are welding, then it is recommended that you use 304L or 347 grade of austenitic stainless steel. While the grade 304L features lower carbon, 347 comes with niobium stabilizers, assisting in the protection of intergranular corrosion. You can also use ferritic stainless steel grade, including 439 or 439.

  1. For Machinery

If your process requires stainless steel to be a machine, you have to be more specific about the grade of stainless steel you choose. While a majority of stainless steel can be machined, some are more complex than the others. You need to optimize the machining process to boost the efficiency of your work, along with using the right tool. Sulfur can be added to improve the machinability, which you can find in grade 303 stainless steel. Additionally grade 416 stainless steel tube is another good example of it.

  1. The level of Corrosion Resistance

Stainless steel is known for its corrosion resistance properties. However, different grade of stainless steel offers a distinctive level of corrosion resistance. If you need maximum corrosion resistance, then you should opt for austenitic stainless steel as they contain the highest amount chromium. So you should opt for 304 grade of stainless steel. Ferritic stainless steel, on the other hand, is a more cost-efficient option than austenitic stainless steel as they have less concentration of nickel and chromium.

  1. Heat Treatment

If the stainless steel is going through any heat treatment, you should be aware of how different grades might be affected by it. For austenitic and ferritic stainless steel are two non-hardenable grade of stainless steel when exposed to heat. Martensitic or precipitation hardened stainless steel is ideal for heat treatment.

  1. Strength Requirement

Martensitic stainless steel grade such as 440C or precipitation hardened stainless steel grade 15-5 PH 17-4 PH are the best options when it comes to acquiring maximum strength. Considering the high nickel content, austenitic stainless steel also offers high toughness and ductility.

The right grade of stainless steel depends on the purpose you need it for. Above are some of the best choices for the grade based on unique purposes, so next time you will be able to make the right decision.