The beauty and elegance of stainless steel is very well recognised, but it’s versatility is perhaps less well understood. In fact, there are a number of different materials that share the core qualities of stainless steel, but vary slightly in terms of their strength, malleability and corrosion/ staining resistance to staining, allowing specifiers to select the precise material composition to meet their specific needs. These are the five main alternatives:
The ‘300 series’, is the most widely used and is in fact the . We use only 316, marine grade quality steel which is best suited to the applications our products are used in.
Comprising 18% chromium and 8% nickel, Austenitic stainless steel also contains other elements – including manganese and nitrogen which make it highly corrosion-resistant, versatile and long-lasting. It also works well across a very broad temperature range.
This steel is an equal blend of Austenitic and Ferritic steel, to produce a material that is the most resistant steel to corrosion while at the same time able to deal with stress and being very easy to work with. It is often the material of choice for the manufacture of tools and machinery for extreme marine environments.
Ferritic and Martensitic steels make up stainless steel’s 400 series. Featuring 10.5% carbon and up to 27% chromium, this form is magnetic and highly resistant to corrosion – such that it can be used in salt water. It is often found in the automotive industry and in domestic appliances.
Martensitic was the first commercially developed form of stainless steel, used primarily in the cutlery industry. With a relatively high carbon and chromium component, its other key elements are molybdenum and nickel. By applying high temperature to this steel, it is hardened, but is a little less durable than some other variants.
This is basically Austenitic steel, but with the addition of some other elements which make it extremely robust and durable. It shares the same corrosion resistant qualities, and is often used in safety-critical environments such as aeronautical engineering.