In the manufacturing world, there is a lot that goes into successful production of different metals and metal alloys. It takes time and precision to know just the right material to use for various industrial purposes. Stainless steel is one of the metals that are widely used for industrial operations due to its versatility. Stainless steel is widely used in industrial operations because of its resistance to corrosion. However, the metal has other great attributes such as strength, excellent formability and low-maintenance requirements. Not many metals have such attributes put together. So why is stainless steel versatile as a metal? The recent years have seen the development of a number of stainless steel grades and alloys. The different grades of steel give manufacturers alternatives in production depending on the individual qualities of the steel. For example, you could be looking for a steel grade with minimum yield strength. This attribute is not standard in different steel grades. This means that by experimenting with various alloying agents, researchers continue to accentuate the positive qualities of stainless steel to create different grades that are suitable for specific industrial functions. Ordinarily, stainless steel machinability is what makes the metal a good choice for engineers and manufacturers.
Categories of Stainless Steel
Before choosing among the different stainless steel grades, it is important that you know the specific grade you are looking for. Each grade is known for its specific qualities in various industrial processes. The most widely used stainless steel metal is known as austenitic. The primary alloying agents in austenitic steel is chromium and nickel. It is important to note that steel made from non-magnetic alloys are the best in terms of corrosion resistance which is why nickel alloys are popular. The other stainless steel family is the ferritic stainless steels that have relatively less chromium and nickel levels. However, these metals also have titanium, aluminum and molybdenum added to them. Ferritic steels are known to have amazing ductility and resistance to corrosion and stress. Ferritic steels are used to make stainless steel products such as vehicles and kitchenware. Martensitic steel is the other category of stainless steel. This group is different from ferritic steels in that martensitic steels have higher carbon levels. Different categories have subgroups such as a286 stainless steel, 304 cond b, 660 stainless steel and b8 stainless steel. All these metals have unique features that make them the best in terms of functionality depending on their family. For example, a286 stainless steel is structurally strong and resistant to corrosion. In manufacturing, this means that knowing what family the a286 stainless steel belongs to should guide the decision on its use.
Factors to Consider When Selecting a Grade
Once you establish the specific grade of your stainless steel, there is a number of factors that you need to consider in terms of usage. Some engineers and manufacturers don’t know what is condition a stainless steel or what is condition b stainless steel. Choosing a stainless steel grade will require you to first consider the type of environment the metal will be exposed to. For example, if you intend to have a a286 stainless steel structure in a marine environment, resistance to corrosion is the key factor to consider. Whereas most stainless steel metals have anti-corrosion properties, the level varies depending on the metal which means that not all of them are effective in sea water. You also need to consider whether the metal will be welded. It is more difficult to weld a286 stainless steel than the traditional carbon steel. Formability is also a key consideration when choosing a stainless steel grade. Apart from welding, there are other processes that affect the structural function of metal. Stainless grades such as a286 stainless steel are not too brittle and respond well to manipulation such as bending.