Stainless Steel Fabrication Basics – Guide to Steels
For over seventy years, Anderson Dahlen has been a leader in custom steel fabrication. One of the most critical aspects of ensuring we live up to the standards expected by our customers is selecting the right materials for the right job. We have an extensive selection of steel types at our disposal when crafting solutions. Our focus is on stainless steel fabrication, but we can also incorporate other types of steel as well, depending on the challenges involved.
Our customers are sometimes interested in the types of steel we have at our disposal. These are some of the different kinds of stainless steel available, and how they can be used.
Types of Stainless Steel Available for Fabrication
Austenitic Stainless Steel
Austenitic steel is the kind most commonly used in commercial applications, notable for their lack of magnetism and extremely high resistance to corrosion. Austenitic steels are generally alloys of iron, chromium, and/or nickel, but may also include small amounts of carbon for strength. Austenitic steel cannot be hardened by heat but can be cold-worked successfully.
Austenitic steel is generally measured based on the amount of carbon included, low (<.03%) or high (.04-.10%). Low-carbon grades are more expensive but even more resistant to corrosion. High-carbon grades are generally used in particularly high-temperature situations where the carbon helps the steel maintain strength.
Martensitic Stainless Steel
Martensitic grades were developed for situations where heat-treating is needed. They can be exceptionally strong and resistant to wear over time. However, they are magnetic and have a lower resistance to corrosion than other steel choices. Martensitic grades are strictly based on chromium alloys, with little or no nickel and with low amounts of carbon.
Martensitic steel is also useful for individual parts which see a lot of wear, such as springs, screws, or blades.
Ferritic Stainless Steel
Ferritic grades of stainless steel are magnetic, chromium-based, and offer better corrosion resistance than martensitic steel – but less than austenitic grades. They are also highly resistant to stress cracking. Ferritic steel is most commonly used for decorative purposes, such as automobile trim, but could also be found in places such as the exhaust pipe, furnaces, and heat exchangers.
There are also what are known as duplex grades of stainless steel, which are blends of austenitic and ferritic steel. These duplex grades can offer considerable strength and resistance to cracking but are expensive.
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