Due to its high corrosion resistance, hygiene, and strength, stainless steel is a commonly used material for applications from storage to transportation and power generation of medical devices and chemicals. There are over 3,500 grades of steel, but not all grades have the same functions.
With so many options, how can you be sure that you are choosing the right rating for your specific needs?
- Select the metal suitable for the operating environment
To determine which grade of Stainless Steel 304L Pipe is best tolerated in a particular environment, consider the conditions faced by the final product. Extremely low pH, high stress and high temperatures, and crevice corrosion adversely affect the performance of stainless steel. T3XX austenitic steels, like common 316 and 304 alloy types, retain strength, toughness, and corrosion resistance over the broadest temperature range.
Corrosion resistance is the main reason for choosing austenitic stainless steel grades. Type 316 is molybdenum-added and resistant to chloride ions found in marine and chemical processing applications. For all grades of steel, high-quality structural design is the best protection against corrosion.
- Prioritize strength, ductility, and toughness
Next, we will consider three main mechanical qualities:
Strength: The stress that a metal can withstand before it breaks or deforms.
Ductility: The ability to change the shape of a material, such as being drawn on a wire or thread, without losing strength or breaking.
Hardness: Ability of metal to deform and absorb energy before crushing
stainless steel 316 pipe contains 10-30% chromium as an alloying element, which helps resist corrosion. The addition of nickel to the austenite grade provides the highest toughness and ductility of any stainless steel grade. Grades with high chromium, molly, and nickel content are the most corrosion-resistant.
Alloy content is not the only aspect to consider when choosing a stainless steel 316L pipe grade. The processing of the material also affects its mechanical response. The length of time the steel is held at various temperatures as part of the cooling process, and the overall rate at which it cools can affect the overall quality.
Carbon steel can be hardened by heat treatment. Austenitic stainless steel is hardened by cold working operations such as rolling, bending, stamping, and drawing at temperatures below the recrystallization temperature. Note that increasing hardness with cold working reduces other properties such as elongation and impact resistance.
- Review forms and processes
Austenitic stainless steels are widely available in bars, wires, tubes, pipes, sheets, and plates. Most products require additional moulding or machining before they can be used in a particular application.
- Consider customer preference
Many designers find it because of its aesthetic appearances, such as an electro-polished "bright" gloss finish, a matte "pickles" finish, a matte surface polished to a particular RMS, etc. light-absorbing black oxide coating. Austenitic stainless steels can add general passivation to any of these finishes. Customers may also require certification for specific application specifications.
- Manage material cost and availability
High-performance austenitic stainless steel 316h pipe is the most expensive stainless steel out of the box and ready to use, but it's worth the investment. Choosing the right corrosion-resistant material for your application reduces maintenance, downtime, and replacement costs.