Stainless Steel Plates and Why These are Called "Stainless"

BY Rowena Taylor

Stainless Steel Plates

Stainless steel plates are used for many different applications and by many different industries. As the name implies, this particular metal is “stainless”, which essentially means that it won’t tarnish, won’t corrode, and won’t have its surface marred by any type of “stain”. How does this kind of metal get such qualities, and are they really stainless?

Stainless steel is actually an alloy that is made up of a combination of steel and one or two other metals. The combination is what dictates how “stainless” the resulting metal will be. For instance, steel combined with nickel and chromium creates what is called austenitic stainless steel. This particular variant has around 16% to 18% chromium, and 8% to 10% nickel, plus a spattering of manganese to make it into the stainless steel that it is.

Other types of stainless steel include ferritic, martensitic, and duplex stainless steel. Ferritic stainless steel comes with between 10% and 27% chromium, and almost no nickel. This kind of stainless steel however may have lead, molybdenum, titanium, or aluminum in it. Martensitic variants, on the other hand, have around 4 other substances added in to make it into the tough stainless steel option that it is. It can contain around 12% to 14% chromium, around 1% molybdenum, less than 2% of nickel and some carbon. As for duplex ones, you will find that these are a cross between austenitic and ferritic stainless steel, with shared characteristics from both.

Different kinds of stainless steel plates come with varying levels of corrosion and tarnish resistance. Some variants are more resistant to stains than others, and this is because of their composition. For example, austenitic grades tend to be more “stain” resistant than ferritic variants, and martensitic grades are less resistant to corrosion and tarnish than these other two types. This means that, in order to come up with stainless steel choices that have other features such as additional strength, or are more malleable, the compromise would be less stain resistance.

What stainless steel plate you choose will have an impact on how “stainless” it can be, with some of these variants being more resistant to certain stain-producing elements and situations than others. For instance, a stainless steel type that belongs to the 300 series, and is called the 18/10 variant, is often used for cutlery and cookware for its heat resistance and increased resistance to corrosion. The 316 grade is also a good choice for those who want a choice that is highly resistant to corrosion since it is created to be that way – highly resistant to corrosion.

Less corrosion resistant stainless steel are compromise types, with some being less resistant to stains but more durable, malleable, less expensive, better for welding jobs, and less prone to cracking due to stress. This basically means that when it comes to stainless steel plates, you have to decide on what kind of stainless steel to use, and this is dependent on where the metal is to be utilized.

So, which of these different types of stainless steel should you choose for your nameplate creation needs? More often than not, the type of stainless steel that is used for this particular purpose is austenitic, and this is because these are the ones that have the 200 and 300 series in them. As you can see from our material specifications, our stainless steel is usually the 316 series, although we do use a martensitic ones (430 series) for plates that need to be magnetic.

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