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Different Types of Stainless Steel

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The differences between 304, 316, and 430 stainless steel

Stainless steel is an iron-based alloy that contains a minimum of 10.5 percent chromium among other metals based on the desired properties required.

Stainless steel is most widely known for its corrosion-resistant properties as well as its relatively low cost and useability. These properties make them the ideal material to be used to make a wide range of products such as stainless steel sinks, troughs, benches, bathroom fittings, and even certain building structures.

Stainless steel equipment are staples in the food and medical industries as there is no tolerance for corrosion or metal shavings.

There are many different types of stainless steel and they all have their various uses. This article looks at three commonly used types of stainless steel.

stainless steel benches

304 Stainless Steel

304 is the most commonly used type of stainless steel. It contains between 18 and 20 percent chromium and 8 to 10.5 percent nickel. It is a non-magnetic steel and is widely used due to its malleability. It is therefore more easily pressed and molded into various shapes.

These properties make 304 the ideal metal to make items like sinks, troughs, kitchen and bathroom fittings, among other shaped objects.

316 Stainless Steel

316 stainless steel is similar to 304 stainless steel except that it contains 2 to 3 percent molybdenum. This gives it greater resistance to acids and localized corrosion, as well as pitting. The additional formulation also provides for greater strength and hardness.

These enhanced properties make 316 stainless steel the better choice for medical and pharmaceutical applications, chemical processing plants, and marine environments. It is commonly used to make tanks, heat exchangers, exhaust pipes, among other items. 316 stainless steel is also famous for its use to make surgical implants.

430 Stainless Steel

This grade of stainless steel uses zero percent nickel in its composition. This usually makes it less expensive than its counterparts at the cost of being more susceptible to corrosion. It does have some corrosion resistive properties and is ideal for use in mildly corrosive environments.

This form of stainless steel is also very magnetic. It is not easily pressed or drawn as it is more brittle than the 300 series stainless steel variants. It also cannot be used in cryogenic applications as it will crack.

stainless steel sinks

430 is generally used to make benches, tables, kitchen utensils, and industrial pipes and tubes.

Given the variability of the different properties of stainless steel, it is important that you take everything about your environment into consideration before making the decision as to which grade of stainless steel you need. These include the level of moisture, specific chemical usage, temperature, exposure time, load, and so on. It is best to contact a professional to help you to decide on the best grade of stainless steel for your specific environment.

stainless steel sinks

Britex is one of the world’s most innovative designers and fabricators of stainless steel products. If you are considering stainless steel fixtures, their team should be able to assist you with choosing the right stainless steel grade and product. View their website to find out more, or get in touch with the Britex team directly.

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