There are plenty of metals in the world that we use in our daily lives. Stainless steel is one such versatile metal that is best known for its corrosion resistance and wide range of applications. Yes, you can find this metal in almost anything you see around. It is essential to understand that stainless steel has different grades, making it ideal for various applications across several industries.
When you want to work with different graded steel, it is important to know how to pick them up. For instance, you need to know how to buy a 316 stainless steel tube in order to put it to good use. Here are a few questions that you always need to ask when you are buying graded stainless steel.
#1 Is It Necessary To Have a Good Formability?
Formability is the characteristics of a metal application. For instance, if your application needs to have good formability, it is best to avoid the martensitic stainless steel and go for the austenitic grade, which can provide you with better formability. It is imperative to understand that martensitic steel is often brittle and not effectively formable. Austenitic steel is a preferred choice because they are easily formable and more sturdy than other grade metals. So, if you are looking for good formability, always prefer the austenitic over the martensitic for better results. Always take the formability into consideration when you are selecting the graded steel.
#2 Does The Product Need To Be Welded?
You must understand that welding stainless steel is way too different from welding carbon steel, leading to issues like intergranular corrosion, stress corrosion cracking, and hot cracking. The weldable group is the austenitic ones. It is important to ascertain whether the steel has to be welded or not for your distinctive purposes. You must use grade 304 or 347 to be ideal for the austenitic group as they have a lower carbon, reducing the intergranular corrosion. Ferritic stainless steel is also the weldable group that is readily available in the market. You can also try out the Duplex steel, which is readily weldable. Martensitic steel, on the other hand, is not easily weldable. Hence, it is best not to prefer them and go for the alternatives.
#3 Is it Necessary For Them To Be Machined?
There is some graded stainless steel that needs to be machined. There is nothing adverse in machining the metals before using them. But, it would help if you gave special consideration while working with these metals that are meant to be machined. A majority of the graded products are machined; however, it is highly susceptible to hardening. Hence, it is always important to optimize the machining process and prevent the alleviation of the issues. The tools for the machining process should also be kept in proper condition in order to avoid any uncertain situation. Sulfur can also add to the steel machinability, and grade 303 is the ideal example of this condition. Ferritic steel also adds sulfur in order to coordinate with the machining process.
#4 What is The Ideal Type of Corrosion Resistance Required?
One of the essential aspects that you cannot ignore is the corrosion resistance characteristics of the metal. It would help if you chose graded steel that has higher corrosion resistance compared to the others. Austenitic steelis proven to have maximum corrosion resistance because of the presence of chromium. Grade 304 becomes the ideal choice for better corrosion resistance. You can also consider grade 316, which has similar corrosion properties, but it has a different chemical makeup with the contents of molybdenum that further increases the capability of corrosion resistance on the metal. Ferritic and martensitic are much more affordable than the others due to the presence of less nickel and more chromium. It depends on your preference to choose a particular graded metal.
#5 Is Heat Treatment Necessary?
Heat treatment is also a common aspect of using stainless steel. In case you are going to give the heat treatment, it would be best to ascertain how different grades will take up the treatment. Austenitic and ferritic steel are not susceptible to harden with the heat treatment, so you can prefer them for applications that require the heat treatment. This treatment can often change the chemical composition of the stainless steel, so it is essential to choose rightly. Martensitic is more prone to hardening, so it is better to avoid it in the cases of heat treatment and go for other metals. You would not want your steel to succumb to changes in the chemical composition that can disrupt its potency.
These are some of the vital questions that you need to find answers to because they will make sure you choose the best product.