Stainless steel combines the strength of steel with exceptional heat and corrosion resistance. Thanks to the stability and high strength of the material, stainless steel parts demonstrate outstanding performance within high-stress and heavy-wear environments. These properties combined give stainless steel nearly unlimited utility for many vital industrial purposes.
Today, five families of stainless steel alloys are typically used. They include austenitic stainless steels, duplex stainless steels, ferritic stainless steels, martensitic stainless steels, and precipitation hardening stainless steels.
Austenitic stainless steels
Named in honor of a British metallurgist named Sir W.C. Roberts-Austen, the 300 series of the alloy – austenitic stainless steel, has become the most common stainless steel alloy on the market today. Its characteristic composition contains significant levels of iron, chromium, and nickel. This non-magnetic, corrosion-resistant, and ductile product demonstrates low temperature and room temperature toughness and can be welded with ease. It is widely used in food processing equipment as its corrosion resistance enables it to successfully withstand repeated cleaning without degrading.
Ferritic stainless steels
These magnetic steels include chromium in their composition, and they display strong resistance to corrosion stress cracking, as well as resistance to oxidation and corrosion in general. They occur frequently in some types of automotive parts, such as exhaust pipes, and often play a significant role in decorative trim.
Martensitic stainless steels
Martensitic stainless steel alloys typically contain no nickel, but they do include high levels of chromium. They generally demonstrate good corrosion resistance and will harden during heat treatments, although some types won’t work well in very polluted settings under highly corrosive conditions. Applications for martensitic stainless steel alloys include surgical equipment, springs, and many types of industrial equipment parts.
Precipitation hardening stainless steels
Precipitation hardening or PH steels are corrosion resistant alloys that accept heat treatments for hardening purposes. Applications for specialized types of these alloys include aerospace industry uses and construction uses.
Duplex stainless steels
One of the newest types of stainless steel alloys on the marketplace, these alloys involve combinations of austenitic and ferritic stainless steels. Duplex stainless steel products offer greater resistance to cracking caused by stress corrosion, and enhanced strength properties. They play a role in applications in many structures that require strong stainless steel to bear weight or withstand heavy motion.
FORGED STAINLESS STEEL
High performance austenitic stainless steels and duplex stainless steels are suitable for the production of forged stainless steel parts used in very unforgiving environments. High performance austenitic stainless steels include high levels of nickel, chromium, molybdenum and nitrogen that contribute to the steel’s high corrosion resistance. On the other hand, duplex grades possess a microstructure that offers high strength and enhanced resistance to stress corrosion cracking, as well as good resistance to localized corrosion.
Forging either of these types of stainless steel augments and amplifies some of their preexisting properties. First, it enhances stainless steel’s corrosion resistance, enabling the metal to endure harsh (and even extreme) environmental conditions. Second, unlike either casting or machining, forging helps produce a continuous, unique grain flow pattern contributing to stainless steel’s strength. Third, forging helps produce a higher strength-to-weight ratio. As a result, at the end of the forging process stainless steel provides a much enhanced overall product displaying greater strength than comparable casting or machined parts.
Due to their physical properties, forged stainless steel parts are often used in power generating plants, oil and gas drilling platforms, marine and general engineering structures, food processing equipment, offshore and land installations, and chemical and petrochemical machinery, equipment, and structures.