Stainless steel has a wide range of applications, and for each application, there is a particular kind of stainless steel. Grade 304 stainless steel, grade 316 stainless steel, grade 430 stainless steel, and the list is endless. Amidst the wide selection of stainless steel possessing different qualities, selecting the right type to meet the specific needs can get overwhelming.
If you are in the middle of the process and don’t know how to select the right type of stainless steel for your specific application, these tips might help you.
Here is how to select between a range of stainless steel grades for your custom application.
Select the Steel Based on the Operation Environment
Most types of stainless steel possess a high melting point. Furthermore, some varieties resist oxidation and scaling better than their counterparts at high temperatures. Hence, your selecting process should filter the options based on the maximum temperature they can withstand during the manufacturing process and their performance at that temperature.
Check the melting point of all the options and rule out the ones that can’t stand the test of temperature.
Consider Corrosion Resistance of Each Grade
Stainless steel is resistant to oxidation and corrosion. These properties make it a favorable material for several applications. Moreover, corrosion and oxidation resistance properties make it easier to keep it sterile and clean than plain steel.
However, every grade is resistant to only specific kinds of corrosives. For instance, some varieties stand acidic compounds better than others, while some are resistant to pitting from salt.
Hence, before selecting a grade, consider their corrosion resistance. In general, austenitic stainless steel shows better overall resistance to corrosion than other grades.
Check Their Alloy Content
Stainless steel containing nickel (austenitic grade) scores high in terms of toughness and ductility Grades with nickel, chromium, and molybdenum show better resistance to corrosion.
Steels that have chromium as their alloying material are also resistant to corrosion.
Consider the Weight of the Final Product
What will be the weight of the final product? Will it contain large, heavy-duty components or small and lightweight parts?
These are some important questions to reflect on before selecting a grade of steel. Strength, toughness, and ductility are the most crucial mechanical qualities of stainless steel that determine the amount of stress the steel can withstand during and after the manufacturing process.
Some stainless steel grades have high tensile strength as compared to their counterparts. These variants are better suited for heavy-duty applications involving heavy loads.
Consider the Form and Process
Stainless steel products need additional machining or forming to prepare them for their application. For instance, stainless steel tubing requires coiling or bending, re-drawing, welding, end forming, or machining before it can be used. Some grades require stainless steel forging to enhance their strength and durability.
Hence, before selecting a stainless steel grade, consider the form and process it may have to undergo before its final application. For instance, if your stainless steel will have to undergo CNC machining, reaming, drilling, knurling, chamfering, or threading, select a machining rate stainless steel grade.
Check Their Cost and Availability
The cost and availability of stainless steel is another essential factor to consider.
Austenitic stainless steel is the most expensive steel, but owing to its properties, it is worth investing in it. Furthermore, selecting high-quality stainless steel reduces downtime, maintenance, and replacement costs. So, it’s a win-win situation for all.
The Bottom Line
Due to its characteristics, stainless steel is the raw material of choice for several industries. Furthermore, with the availability of several varieties, the manufacturers get exactly what they are looking for.
Keep these tips in mind while selecting stainless steel to select the right grade for your application.