What is Stainless Steel? It is defined a steel alloy containing a variety of elements with different characteristics, but contains a minimum of 10.5% chromium. Because of the variety of elements, there are a great many types of stainless steels available. These types can be classified in one of four groups: austenitic, ferritic, martensitic and duplex.
Because it contains elements like nitrogen, nickel and manganese, austenitic steel has a cubic structure. This makes it easy to weld and form. It is also very tough and durable which makes it by far the most popular type of stainless steel.
Although Ferritic stainless steels are not as tough and durable as austenitic stainless steels, they are generally cheaper, and more resistant to cracking and stress corrosion. This type of steel contains between 10% and 18% chromium and a low carbon content usually less than 0.1%.
This is the first stainless tell that was commercially developed. With a high chromium content and a carbon content of as much as 1%, Martensitic stainless steel can be tempered and hardened just like low-alloy steels and carbon. This is why it is the stainless steel that is most commonly used in medical tool production.
An equal combination between Austenitic and Ferritic steel, Duplex stainless steels have double the strength of Austenitic steel but is also resistant to pitting and cracking through stress corrosion. It is a cost-effective and yet strong, durable and resistant stainless steel.
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