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Stainless Steel: Using The Right Grade For The Job

Not all stainless steel is the same. In fact, stainless can be broken down into five different groups categorized by different dominant characteristics. Each group contains several grades crafted differently to better serve certain functions. Please hit on to check more about our services.

Some of the more popular grades include 304, 310, 316 and 410. Each of these grades contains at least 10.5 percent chromium and share the distinction of being superior corrosion resistors. But most of the similarities end there.

304: The most widely used

Grade 304 accounts for 60 percent of all stainless material in the world due to its suitable use in a variety of applications. It is also known as 18/8 steel, as its chemical composition includes 18 percent chromium and 8 percent nickel.

It is also one of several austenitic grades, metals known for their strength, easy workability and weldness. Austenitic stainless steels contain between 17 to 25 percent chromium and 8 to 20 percent nickel, making them highly resistant to oxidation and corrosion.

Grade 304L stainless is a variation of 304 stainless, but is less sensitive to intergranular corrosion following heat treatment or when welded at large thicknesses. Parts produced with 304L are limited for use in temperatures below 795 degrees Fahrenheit.

310: Ideal for high temperature applications

Grade 310 is an austenitic stainless typically used to produce furnace parts, heat treatment equipment and other high temperature applications. The ability to retain structural strength at elevated temperatures makes grade 310 a popular choice to fabricate into complex structures. However, shaping this type of stainless steel can be difficult; requiring deep cutting at slow speeds using a sharp-bladed tool.

Also known for its ductility, 310 sheet materials are commonly used to make tubes for car engines and pressure vessels.

316: The marine alloy

Known for its suitability in marine environments, grade 316 is an austenitic stainless also applicable for use in the chemical, textile and paper industries. Corrosion resistance for 316 stainless can be improved by adding two or three percent molybdenum, 18 percent chromium and 10 percent nickel. Grade 316 is similar in strength to 304, but better performing in deep drawing. Grade 316L is a variant of 316, with traits similar to 304L stainless.

410: Steel used for everyday life

Grade 410 is part of the martensitic family of stainless steels. To achieve optimal functionability for hardness and mechanical strength, martensitic steels are dependent on the application of heat. These types of steel must also be hardened, tempered and polished in order to achieve full corrosive resistance.

Grade 410 is the most widely used and least expensive hardenable stainless. Performing best in low corrosion environments, 410 stainless is often used in applications where high strength, moderate heat and corrosion resistance is desired. Common products using grade 410 include knives, surgical instruments, bolts and mineral processing equipment.

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