There’s More Stainless Steel Grades Than Pumpkin Spice Products

There are probably more varying grades of stainless steel than there are types of foods and drinks that feature pumpkin spice. In fact, stainless steel comes with over a 100 different grades, which are then categorized into five major groups: austenitic, ferritic, duplex, martensitic, and precipitation-hardening. Regardless of grade, pipes made of stainless steel can live to a ripe old age of 100 under normal conditions.

If you are looking for high Chromium and Nickel in your stainless steel, look no further than Austenitic stainless steel, the most commonly used stainless steel. Because of its content, Austenitic stainless steel comes with great corrosion resistance. More often than not, 304 grade stainless steel will be made within the Austenitic family of stainless steel of which 304 is number one. You will have an easy time locating sanitary pipe fittings with 304 grade stainless steel. Searching for sanitary pipe fittings and chances are good that 304 will be one of the first results. Not only is 304 stainless steel common in sanitary pipe fittings, you will find it used in food processing equipment like sanitary strainers or even sanitary clamps and sanitary fittings. On the other hand, 316 stainless steel is even more exceptional when it comes to corrosive environments. Oftentimes Stainless Steel 316 is found in laboratory equipment, boat fittings, food processing equipment as well as pharmaceutical, jet engine parts and chemical containers.

Ferritic stainless steel can resist corrosion and oxidation better than martensitic stainless steel, but not as well as austenitic. The exhaust systems in your car, as well as any decorative trim you find in homes or vehicles are usually made with ferritic stainless steel, depending on the grade.

Duplex is a hybrid of ferritic and austenitic, sharing properties closer to austenitic but better than ferritic. Its toughness and corrosion resistance are much better than its parent ferritic, but still aspires to be as good as austenitic. It certainly comes close in the category of corrosive resistance to austenitic grades 304 and 316.

Martensitic is really just a general use stainless steel. If you are looking for hardness, strength and wear resistance, martensitic stainless steel is your guy, or rather, your steel. It does have corrosion resistance. Much of what you will find its use for are fasteners, springs, surgical instruments, even valves and pumps.

Precipitation hardening stainless steel can fall under the category of martensitic or semi-austenitic, depending on the state in which it is in through heating treatments. Is it in the annealed state? Then it falls under the category of semi-austenitic. Is it in the hardened condition? Then it falls under martensitic. Oftentimes you will find PH stainless steel residing in flat rings and even aerospace components, thanks to their high tensile properties and strength-to-weight ratio.

Steel continues to be useful after so long and in so many forms. Look at any building and chances are good that steel what used in some capacity. And that steel was probably recycled as well. The American Iron and Steel Institute states that 88 percent of the entire world’s steel has been recycled at one point. In fact, for every two tons of new steel out of three has originated from old steel.

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