10 THINGS TO CONSIDER WHILE CHOOSING A STAINLESS STEEL GRADE
How to choose Stainless Steel Grades
Stainless steel is widely used in several different industries and is popularly known for its strength and resistance to corrosion. These factors make the best stainless steel grade if matched properly according to your usage, environment and work requirements. If you are new to purchasing the stainless steel grades, then you need to know that there are numerous variations in stainless steel grades and there is no actual answer to what is the best stainless steel. The best stainless steel quality depends on its matching with your working environment. But there are some certain things that you need to consider before getting the stainless steel grade to ensure you get the best grade of stainless steel which are given below:
#1 What is the Best Stainless Steel in Terms of Resistance?
Well, there is no definite answer to this question. It depends from environment to environment. If you want the most corrosion resistant stainless steel, then you should go for the duplex or austenitic alloys like the grades 304, 316, 2205, 304L, 316L, and 904L. These are some stainless steel corrosion resistance alloys that are perfect for the corrosion resistance of stainless steel grades. Now if we talk about the high-temperature environments, then you should get the austenitic grades. Some common grades that you should go with include 310, 446 and S30815. And for the low-temperature environments, you can go with the 304, 310, 316, 304LN and 904L.
#2 Look for Formidability:
The best grade stainless steel should have good formidability. This is because the stainless steel with low formidability will offer lower performance and might not hold its shape if overworked. So the best grade of stainless steel that you should get in terms of good formidability includes austenitic, martensitic and duplex.
#3 Is Machining Required?
Machining is not much of a problem, but work hardening can produce some unintended results. With the addition of sulfur, you can improve the machinability if required later but that will reduce the formability, corrosion resistance and weldability. So make sure to get a perfect balance between machinability, formidability, weldability and corrosion resistance. Some grades that offer a good balance include 303, 416, 430 and the 3CR12.
#4 Is Welding Required?
Welding the stainless steel can be problematic due to the stress corrosion cracking, hot cracking and intergranular corrosion. So if you plan to weld your steel, then you should go for the austenitic alloys. Some popular stainless steel grades for welding include 316, 347, 430, 439, 304L, and 3CR12.
#5 Does the Steel Require Heat Treatment?
If the application of the stainless steel requires heat treatment, then you should know that different steel grades respond differently to heat treatment. So if you think heat treatment is necessary, you may consider precipitation and martensitic steel like 440C or the 17-4 PH.
#6 What Type of Strength Your Steel Should Have?
Stainless steel quality depends on various factors and one of the most important factors to consider when getting the stainless steel is the strength of that steel. The strength varies from steel to steel, and with it, the weight and the cost also varies. But to avoid overcompensating, you should only get the steel that is required for your line of work. For instance;
Precipitation and martensitic grades offer great hardening and strength, and their common grades include 15-5 PH, 17-4 PH and 440C.
If you want moderate strength, then the Austenitic grades are best, and one of the most popular grades among them is the 316.
#7 Magnetic Response:
Depending on the type of magnetic response you are looking for, there are two types of stainless steel grades when it comes to magnetic response. If you want a low magnetic response, you can go for Austenitic grades. But if you are looking for fully non-magnetic grades, you should go for the ones with higher nickel grades such as the 316 or 310.
#8 Impact Resistance:
If you are looking for the stainless steel material for transportation, marine and military, you need to prioritize impact resistance if you are searching for the best stainless steel grade. Also, make sure to cross check the impact resistance and the temperature because the impact resistance of the stainless steel varies with the temperature.
This is also one of the most important things to consider when getting stainless steel. If you need the stainless steel for producing things like wires where stretching of the steel is required, you should consider the steel grade with high ductility like the austenitic stainless steel which can be formed using the severe processes like deep drawing.
All of the considerations that are given above will not matter if the cost of the material is not under your budget. You need to look for the long-term cost of the steel so it can yield a profit when the money invested on it is returned. The best thing to do to make sure that the steel performs impeccably is that you need to match it with your intended environment, working requirements and the usage. If you find a steel that matches all of these factors, then that steel has a higher chance of performing for a very long term which will eventually be a bang for your buck. Besides the initial cost, there may be some maintenance costs that you should take into account before purchasing the steel so you can get the estimate of how much a particular steel material will cost you for your intended period of time.
There are numerous grades of stainless steel to choose from, and all of them have different properties. You are ultimately the person who needs to decide which type of stainless steel you need depending on its application. However, if you understand all of the aforementioned factors and take them into account when you are purchasing the stainless steel grade, you will be able to make a better and informed decision that will not only be helpful in getting you the best stainless steel grade but also save you money. Steel Sales Company is the right place to where we provide stainless steel considering all the above factors and also customizations our customers want.
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