Stainless steel is not a one-size-fits-all product. It comes in a variety of types, each with its strength, melting point, and rust- and corrosion-resistance properties. Below, learn more about the three main categories of stainless steel and the various kinds of alloy that fall under each.
What Are the Common Types of Stainless Steel Available?
Austenitic steel is the most widely used stainless steel. It contains more chromium than other steels, which makes it highly resistant to corrosion. It is easily welded and formed and is not magnetic. Grade 304 stainless steel is the most popular type of austenitic steel, as it possesses high tensile strength and can withstand temperatures of up to 1,697 degrees Fahrenheit. Grade 316 is another popular austenitic option. While it doesn't have the strength and temperature threshold of grade 304 steel, it has improved resistance to chlorides like salt.
Ferritic steel has a low carbon and nickel content, which makes it one of the most budget-friendly stainless options. It is also magnetic, with corrosion resistance and easy weldability. Grade 430 stainless steel is ferritic and particularly resistant to nitric oxide. Grade 434 steel has higher tensile strength than grade 430 and a higher temperature threshold than grade 316.
Martensitic steel is the least utilized variety of stainless steel. While it has significant strength and resistance to wear, martensitic steel has much lower corrosion resistance. It is also not very weldable, though adding nickel and reducing the carbon content can make the process easier. Grade 420 stainless steel is martensitic, and when hardened, has an extremely high tensile strength. It is also resistant to mild acids and foods, which is why grade 420 is often used to make eating utensils.
To see what kinds of stainless steel are best suited to your needs, contact L. Levine & Co., Inc. Since 1937, they have been serving commercial and residential clients throughout the Greater Cincinnati, OH, area. They are a steel supplier and fabricator with a comprehensive inventory that includes pipes, rebar, floor plates, and beams. Call (513)471-5900 or visit their website to check out their full product list or to request an estimate for a custom project.