Stainless Steel Fabrication: Crucial Considerations for Material Grade Selection

There are numerous grades of stainless steel in the manufacturing sector. Therefore, the process of selecting the right materials for your fabrication project can be challenging. If you choose the wrong metal grade, you will either not get good performance or spend more money than necessary. If you are uncertain about the best stainless steel for your work, you should evaluate the below-outlined factors before making your purchase.

Corrosion Resistance

When choosing your stainless steel grade, you should think about the corrosive nature of the environment in which the final product will be used. In general, this type of metal is resistant to rusting because of the chromium content. However, the level of resistance is not the same for all the grades. If the fabricated product is intended for a general purpose application in a low corrosion environment, standard stainless steel can be used. However, if the surroundings will accelerate corrosion due to issues such as high salinity, you will need alternatives like marine-grade stainless steel.

Extreme Temperatures

Stainless steel materials can be used in a wide range of temperatures. Therefore, high- and low-temperature applications do not often require special considerations. However, if you are planning on manufacturing an item for extreme temperature applications, particularly in industrial plants, you should evaluate your options. For example, the high temperature in industrial furnace environments can accelerate the degradation of stainless steel parts, tools and equipment. 

The heat increases the corrosion rate, and extra pressure is exerted on the products. So, for this type of application, you should choose stainless steel grades with alloyants such as titanium. The element will increase the material's ability to withstand the high temperatures and extreme pressure without fast deterioration. If you need to fabricate for low-temperature usage, you should choose austenitic stainless because it retains the tensile strength and resists brittleness, unlike alternatives.

Magnetic Response

Magnetism in stainless steel can be a problem in some environments and applications. Therefore, if you are planning on fabricating a custom product or part for use in sensitive surroundings, you should think about choosing a metal grade which will not elicit a magnetic response. Austenitic steel has a low magnetic reaction or permeability; this is suitable for relatively sensitive applications. If complete non-magnetism is required, you should choose grades with high nickel content like marine-grade steel. On the other hand, if you need materials with a high magnetic response, choose ferritic and martensitic grades.

If you have other special requirements, consult your experienced fabricator for professional guidance.