Stainless steel is popular in many industries. In Poland alone, the consumption of steel in 2019 amounted to more than 500 thousand tons. All because of its special physical and chemical properties of this material – because this steel is resistant to corrosion, acids and even high temperatures. Stainless steel, however, is not equal to stainless steel. What are the distinguished types of stainless steels? What are their distinguishing features? How is the supply of individual products?
Let us start from the fact that in our market stainless steel is marked according to the five most important standards. The most common is obviously the Polish PN standard. We can also find European EN, American AISI, Russian GOST and German DIN standards.
Types of stainless steels
Stainless steel is a term for a group of quality steels. They are distinguished by resistance to corrosion, which is the gradual destruction of materials due to exposure to acids, atmospheric agents or alkaline solutions. All this is due to the addition of the appropriate amount of chromium, nickel and other additional elements to the steel, which show anti-corrosion properties. In the market we can distinguish four main types of stainless steels, which are divided into specific grades. These types are ferritic steel, martensitic steel, ferritic-austenitic duplex steel and austenitic steel. It is the latter type that accounts for nearly 70% of global stainless steel production. It is mainly produced according to the EN 10088 standard and is used, among others, for the production of cutlery and pots. Austenitic steels are characterized by high corrosion resistance and are not hardened in the production process.
Ferritic, martensitic and austenitic-ferritic steel
Ferritic steel, due to its relatively low chromium content, has limited corrosion resistance, especially if we are talking about weathering corrosion. However, it has a higher resistance to corrosion caused by chlorides. Austenitic-ferritic steel, also referred to as double steel, has been gaining popularity in recent years because it combines the most important advantages of ferritic and austenitic steel. Martensitic steel is hardened during the production process. It is much harder and more wear resistant than other types of steel.
Application of selected steel types
Depending on the purpose for which we want to use stainless steel products, we should reach for different types of this unique material. Martensitic steel is ideal for use in the petroleum and chemical industries, and ferritic steel in the automotive and food industries. When it comes to the most popular type of stainless steel – austenitic steel – it is used in the construction of ships, aircraft, and of course in construction. Roofing, bus stops, elevators, landscaping – austenitic steel is ideal for this purpose. In addition, it is also used in the catering industry. Austenitic-ferritic steel is mostly used in the environmental, chemical and marine industries.
If you have any doubts about which material is best suited for your industry, you can always consult a specialist dealer.