Stainless Steel

Stainless Steel –

Stainless Steel is an iron-based alloy that must contain at least 10.5% chromium.  This chromium creates a surface film that resists oxidation.  This surface is considered passive, or corrosion resistant.

Three types of stainless steel:

  • Austenitic – This category includes the 18-8 stainless that is approximately 18% chromium and 8% nickel. 18-8 is the most common stainless used in industrial fasteners.
    • 304 – The most popular stainless for hex head cap screws. It is a low carbon and higher chromium stainless steel with improved corrosion resistance.
    • 304L – Is a lower carbon version of type 304 which is slightly lower in strength but has increased corrosion resistance and welding capacity.
    • 316 – Improved corrosion resistance when exposed to seawater and many types of chemicals. It also has a higher tensile strength at higher temperatures.
  • Martensitic – A class of stainless that contains 12 – 18% chromium. They can be hardened through heat treatment, are considered magnetic and have poor corrosion resistance compared to the 300 series stainless.
    • 410 – A chromium alloy containing no nickel. Commonly used for self-drilling and tapping screws
  • Ferritic – Contains 12 -18% chromium and less than 0.2% carbon. It is magnetic, non-hardenable through heat treatment and has poor weld characteristics.  It should not be used in high corrosion environments.

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