Material scientists have created stainless steel, the most versatile alloy which can be seen in its many applications because of its corrosion resistant properties
The introduction of a minimum of 12% chromium into the steel alloy renders it corrosion resistant. This resultant product is called stainless steel plate. There are many grades according to the alloy content and they are named variously as austenitic, martensitic, ferritic, precipitation hardening, super and duplex alloys.
Popular grades of stainless steel
Austenitic grades of alloys which are stainless and non magnetic. These cannot be hardened by heat treatment. Commonly used austenitic alloys are iron-chromium-nickel steels. The common grades are the 300 series which are used for their stainless properties and unusually good mechanical properties. The basic grade of this series is the 304. The L grades of this series are the low carbon grades (as in 304l) which provide extra corrosion resistance after welding. The carbon content is kept at 0.03% or less to avoid carbide precipitation. Higher carbon content is useful when the metal is subjected to very high temperatures and has to retain its strength.
The two other popular grades in this series are 316 and 317
Martensitic Grades of alloys which are corrosion resistant and amenable to hardening by heat treatment. These are chromium steels with no nickel content. They are magnetic. The most common grades in this are the basic 410 and 420, where 420 has increased carbon more than 410 to improve its mechanical properties
Ferritic Grades – Even more corrosive resistant than the martensitic grades, these are highly resistant to cracking due to stress related corrosion. These are also magnetic with only chromium and no nickel. They are considered inferior to austenitic grades, but superior to martensitic grades. 430 is the base grade, which is used commonly.
They come in a variety of forms like coils, sheets, bars and plates
For its easy maintenance and corrosion resistant properties, stainless steel plates find diverse applications in:
1. Modern architecture
2. Food processing industry
3. Industrial uses, such as chemical and fuel tankers, chemical plants and petrochemical plants, pharmaceutical industries (for hygienic environment)
What are stainless steel plates standards
There are many world recognized standards of stainless steel plates which categorize the stainless steel plates into different grades as explained above. These may be voluntary grading agencies, country specific agencies or associations of steel producing companies in a particular country. Sometimes any grade of steel marketed by a company will mention different standards of grading having been applied to it.
How is the demand for stainless steel plated satisfied
There are suppliers world wide who have industry specific grades available for their customers. They have websites and can be contacted easily for further details through a ‘contact us’ webpage. They are also present in social media like Facebook and Twitter. It does not matter if the supplier is from another country in this era of globalization. There is not much difference in the way of doing business.
Future of the stainless steel plate industry
Since stainless steel plate is such a versatile material, there is on going research and more grades are added to the existing ones as they are developed and tested, having unique qualities and different applications