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Stainless Steel - Stainless Plate Products A Brief Overview...

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Stainless Plate Products 800/523-7532, 610/384-3910 fax, http://www.sppusa.com A Brief Overview of Stainless Steel Stainless steel is primarily when corrosion or oxidation are a problem. The function that they perform cannot be duplicated by other materials for their cost. Over 50 years ago, it was discovered that a minimum of 12% chromium would impart corrosion and oxidation resistance to steel. Hence the definition “Stainless Steels”, are those ferrous alloys that contain a minimum of 12% chromium for corrosion resistance. This development was the start of a family of alloys which has enabled the advancement and growth of chemical processing and power generating systems upon which our technological society is based. Subsequently several important sub-categories of stainless steels have been developed. The sub-categories are austenitic, martensitic, ferritic, duplex, precipitation hardening and super alloys. Austenitic Grades Austenitic grades are those alloys which are commonly in use for stainless applications. The austenitic grades are not magnetic. The most common austenitic alloys are iron- chromium-nickel steels and are widely known as the 300 series. The austenitic stainless steels, because of their high chromium and nickel content, are the most corrosion resistant of the stainless group providing unusually fine mechanical properties. They cannot be hardened by heat treatment, but can be hardened significantly by cold-working. 305 321 303 302 304 301 316 317 347 348 384 308 309 310 314 +C +S -Cr -Ni +Ti +Ni +Ni +Cr +Ni +Mo +Cb, +Ta +Si Austenitic Group Straight Grades The straight grades of austenitic stainless steel contain a maximum of .08% carbon. There is a misconception that straight grades contain a minimum of .03% carbon, but the spec
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Stainless Plate Products 800/523-7532, 610/384-3910 fax, http://www.sppusa.com does not require this. As long as the material meets the physical requirements of straight grade, there is no minimum carbon requirement. “L” Grades The “L” grades are used to provide extra corrosion resistance after welding. The letter “L” after a stainless steel type indicates low carbon (as in 304L). The carbon is kept to .03% or under to avoid carbide precipitation. Carbon in steel when heated to temperatures in what is called the critical range (800 degrees F to 1600 degrees F) precipitates out, combines with the chromium and gathers on the grain boundaries. This deprives the steel of the chromium in solution and promotes corrosion adjacent to the grain boundaries. By controlling the amount of carbon, this is minimized. For weldability, the “L” grades are used. You may ask why all stainless steels are not produced as “L” grades. There are a
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